Exploring Kilmartin's prehistoric sites
The holiday cottage for the middle part of my Highland and Island Romahome adventure is three miles from the village of Kilmartin, which is at the heart of some of Scotland's finest prehistoric sites, and after visiting the excellent museum and even more excellent cafe in Kilmartin we decided to spend a day exploring some of the standing stones, burial cairns and cup and ring carved rocks in the surrounding area. So, on a beautifully sunny day and armed with a picnic, three adults, three children, a whippet and a poodle set off in the big VW van.
First stop Temple Wood and Nether Largie for a series of huge standing stones with sheep grazing around them, and a beautiful bluebell wood containing two large burial cairns, going back around 5,000 years. With opportunities to get into burial chambers, climb trees and generally run free, everyone was happy.
Back in the van for a short drive to Dunnadd fort, a high point jutting up out of totally flat Kilmartin Glen, with a steep rocky walk up to the top for our picnic. A flat stone at the top of the hill has a carving of a footprint (size 6) which is believed to have been used in king making ceremonies. With children prone to teetering on the edge we made our way down again and set off for another foray, this time to Achnabreck to see what's said to be the finest set of ancient rock carvings in Scotland.
This was a lovely walk through woodland and up to a panoramic view of Lochgilphead, but we were a bit disappointed, having come prepared with paper and wax crayons for making rubbings, to find that the rocks were behind railings, to be seen but definitely not rubbed. After much speculation about what the carvings are all about we set off back to the cottage where it was warm enough to eat outside in the garden and to stay out there well into the evening watching the birds and the changing light and occasionally wafting midges.