When the Clachan an Diridh stone circle was built, it would have had magnificent views to the NE across the River Tummel to Ben Vrackie and the Grampians beyond, and to the SW down the River Tay. It was these views that prompted the antiquarian Daniel Wilson to write in the mid-nineteenth century:
Amid this wild Highland landscape the huge standing stones, grey with the moss of ages, produce a grand and imposing effect; and from the idea of lofty height the distant mountains suggest, they convey a stronger impression of gigantic proportions than is produced even by the first sight of the giant monoliths of Salisbury Plain.
Despite continual planting since the 1920s, the site is still magnificent. The stones stand at the centre of a large clearing, and while the views are no longer visible, the thickly-planted pines surrounding the circle, with the sun streaming through their branches, creates a magical atmosphere. The trees also contribute to the silence, even though the circle is only a couple of kilometres from the busy A9.
A four-poster circle, 3 of the stones are probably in their original positions, while the fourth is broken and has obviously been disturbed over the years. When Coles visited in 1908, he described three stones standing, and the fragments of the fourth scattered across the ground. The fourth stone, or a piece of it, has been re-erected at some time, as it now stands in it’s probable original position.
Local tradition has it that the stones were visited on the first day of May, when a procession was made around them in a deiseil (clockwise) direction. And in 1925, John Dixon wrote: “Another theory about the “Clacnah an Diridh” is that the stones marked the scene of some periodical religious meeting or ceremonial of which nothing is now known.”
OS Map for Clachan an Diridh
OS Explorer map 386/OL49
Buy from Ordnance Survey
Alternative names for Clachan an Diridh
Clachan Direach; The Druids' Stones; Fonab Moor
London and New Haven, 1976
London and New Haven, 2000