To the geologist, stones are fascinating and in Highland Strathearn, there is no shortage of them! It has been said that in the Ice Age the ice was about 10000 feet thick and as it receded it left the present shape of Strathearn. At ground level after the melt the scene must have been one of absolute chaos. Huge stones and boulders were left in different locations throughout the area. The huge stone at Glen Tarken, which is the size of a house sits poised to slip down the slope into Loch Earn, is a good example of an immense random boulder. In Comrie, the much smaller Samson’s stone in the Balloch, or the one adjacent to the Cowden farm, are of no less interest. The one at the Cowden is also cup-marked.
Throughout the area many of these stones lie naturally in upright positions and, in the view of this author, were misclassified as standing stones. A standing stone suggests they had been placed there by ancient peoples. However, more likely they are eccentric stones, and do not denote anything other than that they are there at some point having been carried there in the great melt. The stones at Lawers and Auchingarrich are examples of possible detritus. Others have had smaller stones gathered around them and it is possible that they may have heralded a meeting point which may have had some significance for our early ancestors. The lesser stones often arrayed around a large stone may also have been removed by ancient farmers from their fields in order for them to sow grain or run the plough. The grouping of stones at the Dalginross cemetery, or Craigneich may be examples.
Stone Circle (Dunmoid) at Dalginross Cemetery
In a long out-of-print Guide to Comrie published by Miss G. Boyd she describes them as follows:
Remains of Cists in a ruined Cairn at Kindrochet.
Circular earthen enclosure at Drumnakill (Drum na Cille).
This site was badly damaged about forty years ago by the landowner who had no idea what he was trying to dig up with his tractor!
Boulder with thirteen remarkably fine cup-marks at Drumnakill.
Two Stones of a Circle once composed of four, at Tullybannocher.
Standing Stones at Tullybannocher
On a Sunday afternoon walk here when I was a child with my father we came across about fourteen or fifteen rabbits all running round in a circle in front of these stones. They were having a real good time. That was before myxomatosis! There is talk that a world class golf course will be built on this site.
Remains of a small Stone Circle high up on the moorland to the north-east of Balmuick.
Stone Circle at Balmuick (Below)
Stone Circle at Lawers (Below)
Stone Circle in Dalginross (Below)
Stone Circle at Cowden (Below)
Standing Stone at Auchingarrich (Below)
Standing Stone at Craigneich (Below)
Various Standing Stones on Dunruchan Moor (below)
Standing Stones at Dalchirla (Below)
At Craggish the site of perhaps two Stone Circles (both destroyed circa 1891); and nearly opposite, but on the right bank of the Ruchill.
Three apparently undisturbed cairns.
There is also a stone located at Concraig on the Muthill to Crieff Road:
And a Stone Circle at Dargill...
Another can be found at Duchlage in Crieff:
In addition there is a Stone Circle at Ferntower in Crieff:
Modern day theorists studying geological features in Strathearn suggest that there are many ley lines criss-crossing the landscape and that they are part of a grand design and significant. Magnetic forces are attributed to them and there has been much debate and pencil sketches done. It is a lottery of lining up the dots and coming to some conclusion or other. It is this writer’s opinion that it certainly passes the time, no doubt, in interesting places, but does not add greatly to our knowledge base. It is like proving the Loch Ness monster exists. I am assured by people living close by that it does, but I feel that the more Scotch that is consumed, the better the chances of a sighting of this fabulous creature!
NOTE: All of the drawings in this segment were sourced from a paper entitled: Report of Stone Circles in Perthshire, Principally Strathearn; with measured plans and drawings (obtained under the Gunning Fellowship). By Fred. R. Coles, Assistant Keeper of the Museum. It was presented to the Society of Antiquaries on December 12, 1910.