Yesterday I planned a trip up Glen Shee today to look at (and for) some standing stones. The idea was to take advantage of the magnificent weather we’ve been having, get up early and spend a whole day cycling in the area. Getting up today, the sun was shining and by the time I left Dundee at 10 it was already warm. I drove over the Sidlaws and down across Strathmore, crossing the River Isla and River Tay on the way to Stanley to call in for lunch at my parents’.
When I left a couple of hours later, it was still sunny and hot, but as I headed north to Blairgowrie and then on towards Glen Shee, the sky was becoming more and more overcast. With perfect timing, as I pulled into the layby at the bottom of the Devil’s Elbow, the heavens opened, and I had to assemble my bike in the rain. Being so high up, the first couple of miles was a great fast descent, but with water collecting on the road I was drenched within seconds!
I stopped just beyond Rhiedorrach, and entered the field, climbed up onto the plateau, and began looking for the Gleann Beag standing stones. I had the grid reference and my map, but this is an area littered with rocks, with very few features to get your bearings from. The first stone I came across was clearly too far south-west, but was interesting nonetheless. Situated next to a stream, it looked as if it had once stood upright, and had what may have been packing stones at one end.
Although it might be considered unusual to have a standing stone so close to water, it did remind me of the stones at Lundin Farm and Crofthead Farm.
Since this stone clearly wasn’t what I’d come looking for, I headed a bit further to the north-east, and came across another stone that looks as if it may also have toppled. Whether or not it had been stood up by man or was just left randomly by a glacier, who knows, but interestingly it appeared to form a perfect line with stones further up the mountainside, but again this may just have been chance.
One thing’s for sure, the views from this stone – even in the wet – are absolutely stunning, looking down Gleann Beag.
By now, after a good hour squelching my way across the boggy terrace, I still hadn’t found the Gleann Beag stones, and with the rain showing no sign of stopping, I headed back down to the road and set off on the climb up to the car, soaked to the skin. I had planned – after finding the Gleann Beag stones – to continue on to Spittal of Glenshee and Diarmid’s Grave, but all I wanted to do now was get home and dry off. The stones could wait ’til next week!