We had been exploring in the Scottish highlands at the beginning of the year, and after walking miles and seeing some of the larger, more well know sights Paul our guide suggested we make a short detour to see an obscure stone circle he thought we would like.
Paul said it would be about a ten mile drive, along windy mountain roads…should take us about 20 minutes, which was OK as it was starting to get dark and he wanted us to see it in good light.
We had just set off when a school bus pulled out in front of us without looking and then periodically stopped every couple of minutes to let school kids off. No way of overtaking so we just sat there, fuming….a 20 minute drive took nearly twice that long and we could see the light dimming visibly out the window.
Dunmoid is a small Neolithic circle, and it’s name means ‘hill of judgement’. Much damaged now as there is only one standing stone where originally there were four. There are also now 3 horizontal slabs where there were thought to be more. But it is a superb place, backed onto some woods and with the beautiful Scottish mountains as a backdrop.
I had soon lost my annoyance at the inconsiderate bus driver, as this place had a very calming effect on all of us. Some places do this…if you have ever had the good fortune to explore some of the prehistoric sites you can often feel the calmness. Not all have this effect, and I have visited lots, but some do and this one certainly did.
Dunmoid is not well known, an internet search will bring back very little, but what little there is written about in old books and does tell a brief story.
Excavated by an amateur John MacPherson in 1896, he discovered a stone cist and a thigh bone buried in front of one of the stone slabs. It was also discovered that an urn with ashes was dug up many years previosuly. Nothing is known of the whereabouts of either. So it looks like that this was a private burial, maybe for a local Shaman or a Hero…or just someones loved one which has survived the test of time.
This little circle, is to me anyway, just as important as the larger, more famous places. This burial was very important to someone and has stood in this place for maybe 50 centuries, but whose name is long forgotten.
If you would like to read more about this little circle, or get directions please visit this link.