Fingal’s Stone, Killin, Perthshire

Standing Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 5712 3301

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 24192

Getting Here

Fingal’s Stone, Killin

Less than 100 yards up the road from the Co-op in Killin, take the footpath on the same side of the road into the park at the back of the buildings. Keep following the footpath round the back of the buildings and you’ll see the stone in front of you soon enough.

Archaeology & History

Another curious site in this quite beautiful mountainous arena.  Thought to have originally stood by the rounded fairy knoll a bit further up the hill, no one knows for sure when the stone was moved to its present position—but locals will tell you how the curious knob-end atop of the stone was also a later addition to the fallen original, when it was resurrected in the latter half of the 19th century.  C.G. Cash (1912) also found the fairy mound and its companions on the slope above to be of interesting, wondering, as I have, that “they might have been burial mounds.” The local historian William Gillies (1938) said of the stone:

“Both the Old and New Statistical Accounts of the parish of Killin make reference to a site near the village that had been pointed out from time immemorial as the burial place of Fingal, the hero of Celtic folk stories. At this point, which is in the middle of a field immediately behind the schoolhouse, there is a standing stone 2 feet 8 inches high and 5 feet in girth.  The stone had fallen, but in 1889 it was re-erected by Mr Malcolm Fergusson, a patriotic native of Breadalbane.  Without any reference to the original arrangement, a smaller stone was fixed on the top, and others were placed near it. The lands in the vicinity of Fingal’s Stone used to be called Stix.  The name suggests that here, as at Stix between Kenmore and Aberfeldy, there were a number of standing stones, of which this one alone remains.”

And it certainly smells that way… Yet no further monoliths have been found hereby or on the slopes above.

Folklore

Reputed to be a stone that marks the grave of the hero-figure, Fionn.  Local historian  Duncan Fraser (1973) told that:

“Killin is steeped in history and one of its memorials of the past is a standing stone in a field behind the school, that is said to mark the spot where the mighty Fionn lies buried.  He is believed to have died about the end of the Iron Age, in 283 AD.”

Looking north, to the Cailleach

William Gillies (1938) also reported how tradition said that an early church and graveyard was once to be found at the original site of Fingal’s Stone. Legends of Finn, his magick and his encounters with faerie and men are found all over this landscape.

References:

  1. Cash, C.G., “Archaeological Gleanings from Killin,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, volume 46, 1911-12.
  2. Fraser, Duncan, Highland Perthshire, Standard Press: Montrose 1973.
  3. Gillies, William A., In Famed Breadalbane, Munro Press: Perth 1938.
  4. Wheater, Hilary, Killin to Glencoe, Appin Publications: Aberfeldy 1982.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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About megalithix

Occultist, prehistorian and independent archaeological researcher, specializing in prehistoric rock art, Neolithic, Bronze Age & Iron Age sites, and the animistic cosmologies of pre-Christian & traditional cultures.
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