A friend of mine Scotty is moving to New Zealand so wanted to spend today visiting some ancient sites around Perthshire to get his fill before he left. So I met up with him today, and another friend George, just off the A9 near Gleneagles to start off with the standing stones there.
The weather was glorious with bright blue skies and a real warmth to the late spring sun overhead, affording a great view over the Gleneagles B standing stone towards Glen Eagles.
Gleneagles B seems to stand on a line between the glen in front of it and Loaninghead fort behind it. Neither Scotty nor George knew about the fort, so we went up to take a look at it.
Walking up the track to the fort the terracing is clearly visible, but the true scale of the fort isn’t revealed until you get up on to it and see it stretching off into the trees to the north.
We walked the full length of the fort and emerged from the trees onto a tee of the Gleneagles golf course.
After making our way back through the trees we walked back to the cars and headed up past the Gleneagles Hotel to Muthill, then west following the Machany Water to Dalchirla Farm.
There are two ancient sites here within sight of each other – to the east of the farm are a pair of stones known simply as Dalchirla and to the north is a solitary stone known as Dalchirla Farm.
Dalchirla Farm standing stone is a tall, thin, pointed stone, with field clearance piled around its base.
Its near neighbours are slightly more intriguing. There’s some debate as to whether the Dalchirla standing stones are a pair (common in Perthshire) or if the earthfast stone between them makes this a stone row. I personally believe that this is a pair.
We moved on to the next farm along the road, Dunruchan, where there are no fewer than six standing stones dotted across the hillside.
The first stone, “Dunruchan F” is an average-sized stone that stands close to the road and gives little clue as to what megalithic treats can be found across the road and up the hill in front of it.
After pottering about beside the Machany Water looking for (and finding) rock art for a while, we climbed up the hill, picked our way through thick gorse bushes and onto the moor above. This was another site that Scotty hadn’t been to before, and it’s quite an impressive one that should stick in his memory while in New Zealand.
Dunruchan B is the first stone to be reached, and we stopped here to drink in the atmosphere and appreciate the magnificent views all around.
The next stone to be reached is far more impressive. Dunruchan C, a much larger stone which leans at a considerable angle.
Scotty was very impressed with these stones, and the best was still to come. After sitting in the sun for a while again, we continued up to Dunruchan D, a large slab-like stone which is probably to be considered as one half of a pair with it’s more rounded near-neighbour Dunruchan E.
The most impressive of all the stones in this complex though is Dunruchan A, a massive pointed stone rising out of a wide, flat ridge of moorland.
This was to be the last stone of the day, and what a stone to end on!