Situated next to a main road in deepest Scotland, and more curiously in someones garden – this is the unusual triple-ringed stone circle of Croft Moraig. I have wanted to visit this place for ages, and recently I had the opportunity. I wasn’t disappointed – in fact I was overwhelmed.
Croft Moraig was excavated in 1889, and was used for religious purposes. It was constructed sometime before 3000BC, and was used continuously for over 1000 years! It was altered a number of occasions with the changing needs of the people who used it. That great man Aubrey Burl even suggested that it may have been “the dwelling-place of a priest, a witch-doctor, a shaman.” It is also thought to have mythic associations with the sun and moon.
The first structure on the site may have been a ring of upright wooden posts set in a wide shallow ditch, possibly containing screens to hide the interior. Later on the posts were replaced by stones and eventually more were added until there were 3 rings of stones. Very unusual indeed.
We arrived at the site in late afternoon, after driving through the gorgeous mountains of the Scottish highlands. We passed lots of standing stones along the road, and other prehistoric circles – one field contained 3 lots (more later) and eventually we arrived at an isolated house at the side of the road. Parking our cars we walked up the drive to the house and turned right through a gate – the householders were outside and gave a friendly wave – and we walked into the circle complex.
It is difficult to show in photographs just how big the place is. Many of the stones had fallen over, but there were still a lot standing and many were at least 6 ft. high.
We walked around the complex, touching the stones and feeling the grain. On the far side was a couple of fallen stones which contained some ‘cup and ring’ markings – common carvings made by picking out small, deep indentations in the rock. No one has any idea what they mean – but they are found in prehistoric sites all around the world.
This is a place of reverence – and we felt as though we had to lower our voices in respect – in fact many times we were talking to one another and realised that we were whispering. This is a sacred place, a holy place – and you can feel it. You can feel it in the stones, in the land. Whoever built this place, and whatever Gods they worshipped, they have left their mark in this place. For thousands, and thousands and thousands of years.
My guide this day was that ‘Guerrilla Archaeologst’ Paul Bennett, and you can read his site profile for Croft Moraig here. I urge you to read it 🙂