Standing Stone: OS Grid Reference – NN 519 380
Go halfway down Glen Lochay to Dalgirdy house by the cattle-grid, then go up the burn by its side and follow the directions to reach the small standing stone above the shielings of Allt Ghoaordaidh. From here, head east, keeping to roughly the same contour line as you walk along. About half-a-mile on, keep your eyes peeled. If you’re into ambling off-track up mountains, you’ll find it. If you’re not into such things, you could be in trouble!
Archaeology & History
There are no previous literary references to this standing stone, leaning at an angle, halfway up the southern slope of Mheall Ghaordie. Between 3-4 feet tall, the monolith appears to have had packing stones around it, although when I stumbled across it in a lengthy amble a few weeks ago, the daytime temperature was above 100° F and I’d been out all day with no food, so my investigative faculties weren’t at their best! The stone may have been part of some ancient walling along the edge of the mountain, but if so, it wasn’t obvious. A few yards higher up the slope, a very large overgrown heap of rocks seemed evident – but again, I wasn’t sure whether this was artificial or geological. All along this mountain and up the curve of Allt Ghoaordaidh to the west are such immense clusters of ancient rocks and boulders, that the mound behind here just seemed to merge into the background of all the rest.
The ruined Iron Age enclosure of Tullich is less than half-a-mile south of here, and the possible prehistoric standing stones of Tirai another half-mile to the east. Prehistoric rock art scatters the glen east of here and masses of ancient walled structures run up and down hidden ridges and slopes. There is in fact scattered an excess of archaeological remains all along the edges of this long valley, indicating considerable human population in bygone centuries (before the Clearances came) reaching way back into prehistoric times. The old people of Glen Lochay would have been able to furnish us with a mass of important historical tales and myth about so many now-forgotten places, before the carnage of the agriculturalists and capitalists destroyed their way of life. This standing stone, no doubt, would have had tales said of it. Today, only the spirits of the glen are able to whisper such insights…
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian