Pale winter light

Winter light on standing stones

Boxing Day gave fabulous winter light, although I had to wait for a while at Temple Wood for a shower further down the glen to pass over. As the clouds started to move away and the sun to shine weakly through the remaining veil, the south faces of these stones captured the changing light.

Temple Wood

South-west circle at Temple Wood

South-west circle at Temple Wood

This is a general view of the centre of the south-west cairn, which has been reconstructed for public display and would never have had this configuration in use. The central cist is one of three within the boundary of the cairn. There was an additional stone ovoid at one time, which is not visible on the modern surface. The right-most standing stone is the one marked with pecked spirals.

Spiral-marked stone at Temple Wood

Spiral-marked stone at Temple Wood

My previous post on Temple Wood is here, which has a close-up of that stone.

More information on the Temple Wood site can be found at the Canmore website of the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments in Scotland (RCAHMS) here. The Canmore ID for the site is 39504.

Nether Largie Standing Stones

Nether Largie Standing Stones

Nether Largie Standing Stones

This is a view from the west of the main alignment of the standing stones at Nether Largie. The outlier is not visible in this view.

Thought to have been erected about 3,200 years ago, this group of standing stones lies at the southern end of Kilmartin Glen and in sight of several of the burial cairns of the linear cemetery. There are five main stones in a group of twelve stones overall. The stones are arranged in an elongated X-shape 75m long with an outlier about 200 metres to the north-west. The main axis is at 23 degrees east of true north. Three of the stones have incised decorations such as cup-and-ring marks, and one hypothesis is that they were sections of earth-fast decorated slabs prised out and re-used as standing stones.
There are some people who hold the view that this alignment of stones was erected to mark key points in the lunar cycle.
Detailed information is available on the RCAHMS website at LinkExternal link. The Canmore ID is 39471.

The larger stones, using the references on the Canmore website are, from left to right, L, K, F, A and B. Detailed photographs of these main stones, and the outlier, are below the fold. Continue reading

Temple Wood stone circles


Temple Wood North stone circle

A good day for a walk in Kilmartin Glen and few folk around, so a chance to go and photograph the stone circles at Temple Wood. The two stone circles have a complicated history over several thousand years, but the North circle is thought to be the first on the site.


Temple Wood South stone circle

The South circle has been variously a stone circle, a cist burial site and a cairn. The modern site has been reconstructed to show all three phases.

Spiral carving on standing stone at Temple Wood

Spiral carving on standing stone at Temple Wood

One of the stones in the South circle has a faint spiral carving on it – the low angle of the winter sun made it just about visible in relief.

For more information on Kilmartin Glen, the website of the Kilmartin Museum is the place to go – or it will be once the website is rebuilt. In the meantime, there’s always Wikipedia.