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Machrie Moor stone circles

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 24 May 2011

Tuesday 24 May, Machrie Moor stone circles

It is cold when we get up and when we look outside we see a dark sky but it does not rain (yet). Today we will try again to go to the Machrie Moor stone circle.
Buddhist retreat on ArranExcept for the String there is another road that crosses the island, The Ross. This is a narrow road that takes us past a Buddhist center. We have seen several such centers in this country, Scotland is apparently very inspiring spiritually. The farm has been a gift from a grateful owner who was cared for by Buddhist monks, probably those who were already on Holy Isle.
The road slowly winds its way to the coast and returns to the ring road between Lagg and Sliddery.
Moss farm road cairn, Torbeg Coast at TorbegSlightly north of Torbeg is a large area with prehistoric remains. First we see the Moss Farm stone circle. Here too, many stones have been removed and although the site has not been studied extensively, it is thought that there is also a burial mound from the Bronze Age with possibly a burial coffin. The burial mound would then have been built in a later period within the stone circle.
Machrie Moor stone circles Machrie Moor stone circlesMachrie Moor is one kilometer away and is an area with several stone circles, tombs and remains of former habitation in the late Stone Age and early Bronze Age (between 3,500 and 1,5000 BC). This was probably the most fertile area in Arran at that time and most people lived here. In the late Bronze Age, Machrie Moor turned into a peat swamp due to weather changes and soil depletion due to incorrect farming methods.
There are still 6 stone circles clearly recognizable that have been given the numbers 11, and 1 through 5.
Machrie Moor stone circles Machrie Moor stone circlesNumber 3 consists of a large standing stone with a few small stones around it. Here in the 19th century stone tools and the remains of a human being were found.
Furthermore, only circles 1 and 11 were archaeologically further investigated in 1985 and 1986. There are probably so many sites in Scotland that Historic Scotland, who take care of this place, has no money to investigate everything. And maintenance of castles is of course also expensive. A rather extensive investigation at Machrie Moors was carried out in 1861.
Machrie Moor stone circles Machrie Moor stone circlesStone circle 2 is most striking in the landscape: 3 large pillars of red sandstone, almost 5 meters high, but probably there were once 7 or 8 large stones. People have tried to make a millstone from a fallen stone, but it has been left in place.
In the middle of this circle a fine food pot has been found. Remains of funerals or cremations have also been found in almost all circles.
Machrie Moor stone circles Machrie Moor stone circlesIn the area, the remains of two older wooden stone circles were discovered, above which stone circles were built later, such as circle 1, which consists of granite and sandstone stones that were placed alternately. Inside were an urn with the remnants of a young man, together with a stone knife. There are indications that some circles had an astronomical function, probably to determine the best times for sowing and harvesting on the basis of the position of the sun and moon. The stone on the right belongs to the largely disappeared circle 8.
Machrie Moor stone circles Machrie Moor stone circlesCircle 5 is a double circle of granite stones, 8 inside and 15 outside. This circle is also called Fingal's Cauldron seat. The hero and giant Fingal would have used the stone in the outermost ring with a hole in it to fasten his dog while he himself sat down in the inner ring to eat.
It is an impressive place and will undoubtedly have been even more impressive for the residents at the time when all the sacred stones were still there.
Curlew Ferry at BrodickWe have taken a long walk and stayed dry. It is very cold and stormy and after 2 hours we are back at the car. We first go to Brodick to look for a restaurant to eat and drink something hot. Then we take a walk through the town. The ferry from Ardrossan just arrived and there are a lot of cars coming from it.
The bank of Scotland, Brodick The coast at BrodickBrodick is an old Norwegian name for wide bay. Only slightly more than 600 people live there, but still it looks much bigger. There are many tourists in summertime and there are plenty of hotels, restaurants and shops. We also have to visit Brodick Castle, but when the air is getting black and rainshowers are approaching, we decide to do that on another day and go back to our house first.
At our lodge View from our gardenAnd then, around 5 o'clock, the sun comes out again and there is no wind at all anymore. Teije even sits outside to study the map and to catch some sunrays. But with a thick coat because we still both have a cold thanks to the weather.
The chickens are already inside but suddenly Teije sees a movement and a hell of a noise comes out of the henhouse. Then he sees an otter coming out with the cock in his mouth running into the bushes, towards the river beyond. If we call the owner to tell it, he doesn't seem to be surprised at all.
Fortunately, we have electricity and it is nice and warm inside. Today we have seen less than we had planned, but I think we had a nice long walk on the Machrie Moor.


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