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Tip o the Week #108 - Kilmartin 

 Dear [firstname]

What are your five favorite sacred sites in the British Isles?  For me, Avebury would be number one followed closely by Glastonbury, but of the remaining three, Kilmartin, just south of Oban on the west coast of Scotland would surely be included in my list of five.  I’ve just had the pleasure of spending the past weekend up there, this time with my Geomancy Group, walking the landscape and being involved in some powerful ceremonies.  (Aside: Much of the past winter, Scotland has been having lots of rain, snow and gale force winds, while we down south have had a quite dry time of it.  As a result, much of England is having a drought significant enough to have a hose pipe ban; however, for the past week here in Glastonbury, we have been having torrential rains.  Unfortunately, because the ground is so dry, the rain couldn’t sink in, so we have had massive flooding!  So sadly, the hose-pipe ban is still in place.  Meanwhile, while the rain and flooding continued in England, up in Kilmartin we were blessed by a weekend of almost totally blue skies and fantastic stars at night.)

People have been in Kilmartin for at least ten thousand years - the most impressive times were from at least three thousand BCE to the middle of this past millennium.  The main attraction are a row of at least five chambered cairns that march down the Kilmartin valley.  All are externally covered with large well-rounded stones from the size of a croquet ball to the size of soccer/footballs.  Several of these cairns had tombs large enough to get into.  For me, Nether Largie North was the most impressive.  You drop into the chamber from the modern roof, which slides open to allow entry down some steep stairs into a rectangular room with a rather large cist in the centre.  (A cist - pronounced “kist” - is a small stone-built coffin-like box usually used to hold cremated bodies.) 

Nether Largie North   Nether Largie North interior
Nether Largie North   Nether Largie Chamber

A bit further down the line, the Nether Largie South Cairn is also a jewel.  While it is externally a round cairn and has a chamber entered from the North.  The chamber makes it feel like a long barrow.  There is also a lovely small cist on the back of the same mound.

 Nether Largie South

Nether Largie South
looking South - into the mouth of the chamber.


At the same point in the valley is Temple Wood, a lovely stone ring, whose floor is covered with the same kind of stones that cover the cairns.  

 Temple Wood

Temple Wood
The Three Circuit Labyrinth

It was at this stone ring that at dusk on Saturday our group held a magical ceremony on a small three circuit labyrinth made of string.  Several new members of the group were blindfolded and one-at-a-time they were brought to the goal of the labyrinth.  The object was for them to find their way out.  The rest of us stood on the string/walls and holding hands, created a human wall for the blindfolded initiate.  As s/he passed by individuals on the wall, they quickly ran around and extended the wall further.  Although we had only nine people acting as walls, we never ran out of human walls!  (I find this is much harder to verbalize than to actually do, but I trust you get the idea.)

Kilmartin has its share of quite large standing stones arranged in a way that makes it difficult to determine how they might have been used some are covered with cup and ring marks.  

Standing Stones at Nether Largie.
 Note the cup marks.

Kilmartin has the largest number of cup and ring marks that I have ever seen.   Achnabreck is a collection of cup and ring marks to the south of the features I have been talking about so far.  It is located at a spot with a beautiful view of the sea.

Achnabreck   view from Achnabreck
Achnabreck   View to the sea

I am thankful that our Geo Group took so many opportunities to tune in to the Spiritual during the weekend, after all, that is the reason why these special sites were constructed in the first place.  This will be a Beltane to remember!


 sig's sig

Sig Lonegren
MAG Webmaster
SunnyBank, 9 Bove Town
Glastonbury, Somerset
England BA6 8JE
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