Gleneagles ‘B’, Blackford, Perthshire

Standing Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 92431 09804

Also Known as:

  1. Blackford
  2. Canmore ID 25924
  3. Loaninghead
  4. Peterhead Farm

Getting Here

19th century drawing of the old stone

Along the A9 dual carriageway between Blackford and Auchterarder, take the A823 road south, up Glen Eagles towards Pool of Muckhart and Dunfermline.  Less than 100 yards up the road, turn immediately right and park-up. On the overgrown grassy land on the right-hand side of the road, you’ll see this solid monolith calling for your attention.  You can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

Looking south, to the fairy-haunted Ben Shee

Looking south, to the fairy-haunted Ben Shee

Described by archaeologists as a Class 1 Pictish Symbol Stone (and shown on OS maps as such), this is a fine solid standing stone more than 5 feet tall, with a lovely view up Gleneagles to the fairy mountain of Ben Shee beckoning in the distance.  Immediately north on the other side of the dual carriageway, the tree-lined mound 100 yards away is an ancient fort (which we’ll deal with in another entry); and of course we have the nearby companion of the Gleneagles A standing stone a coupla hundred yards west.  Whether or not this stone and its western companion ever had anything to do with the lost stone circle of Gleneagles, we might never know.

Close-up of the carved designs

Close-up of the carved designs

Charles Calders drawing of the carvings

Charles Calders drawing of the carvings

Although it seems consensus opinion that the standing stone here is prehistoric, the monolith was of some venerable importance to the Pictish people of the Ochils, who, according to the Royal Commission lads (1999) carved on this stone “the faint symbols of a goose and rectangle.”  The rectangle, however, is in fact a parallelogram—as the images here clearly show.  Archaeologist Richard Feachem (1977) thought the design was in fact “a double-sided comb.”  I have my doubts (a much smaller and probably more recent parallelogram design was recently identified on the upright face of the large Dunruchan D standing stone, about 10 miles WNW of here).  The ‘goose’ is carved above this geometric form and is much fainter, which may imply it was carved much earlier.  In Elizabeth Sutherland’s (1997) survey, she suggests the bird may be an eagle.

The earliest detaied account of this stone and its companion is in Mr Hutchison’s (1893) fine essay, where he wrote:

“On the south side of the road from Blackford to Auchterarder, about 150 yards west from Loaninghead where the line of the road is crossed by that from Gleneagles to Crieff, stands a fine stone of Highland grit.  It measures 4ft. 10in. in height above ground, 10ft. in girth at the base, and 6ft. 9in. in circumference at top.  It shows four sides of nearly equal measurement:— that facing north being 2ft 4in., south 2ft. 8in., west 2ft 5in., and east 3ft.  On the north is an incised figure in the form of an parallelogram, 10in. broad by 9in. high, divided into three equal portions by two horizontal lines.”

References:

  1. Calder, Charles S.T., “Notice of Two Standing Stones (one with Pictish Symbols) on the Lands of Peterhead Farm, near Gleneagles, Perthshire,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 81, 1947.
  2. Feachem, Richard, Guide to Prehistoric Scotland, Batsford 1977.
  3. Finlayson, Andrew, The Stones of Strathearn, One Tree Island: Comrie 2010.
  4. Hutchison, A.F., “The Standing Stones of Stirling District,” in The Stirling Antiquary, volume 1, 1893.
  5. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Pictish Symbol Stones: A Gazetteer, Edinburgh 1999.
  6. Sutherland, Elizabeth, A Guide to Pictish Stones, Birlinn: Edinburgh 1997.

© 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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One Response to Gleneagles ‘B’, Blackford, Perthshire

  1. Jon Morris says:

    I wouldn’t say that the diagram clearly shows that it’s a parallelogram at all. All corners apart from the top right appear to be more or less right angles to me! Interesting history though!

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