Kilmartin Glen to the Orkney Islands: Feel the Vibrations of Ancient Energy
When I went to Scotland in January of 2017, Hugh Allison of Inverness Tours recommended that I stop by Kilmartin Glen and see Dunadd Fort and explore the sites of Ancient Scotland. Many people have heard of Tara, the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. Well Dunadd Fort, in the Kilmartin Glen in Argyll Scotland, is the Ancient Seat of the Early Scottish Kings!! And just like Tara, when you climb to the top of Dunadd, you can feel the vibrations of ancient energy! (Header Image of Standing Stones of Stenness courtesy of Hugh Allison.)
But let me start at the beginning. First, I had to stop at a little pub on the way there. My husband asked me, “How do you find out about these places?” Well, I read – a lot – about Scotland and Ireland, then when I run across someplace interesting, I look them up and save them on google maps. Then next time I’m in the neighborhood, I can stop by. Tigh An Truish Inn was on the way to Kilmartin – kind of. So, I drove down the “single track” road and across the bridge to the pub. Visit these Ancient Sites on a small group tour (7 people max).
Note: This is what a single track road looks like. The bump to the left may be a passing place, but generally they are wider than that. The idea is that if the passing place is on your side of the road – which it is on my side in this case since I was driving on the left – and a car is coming toward you, then you are supposed to pull over in the passing place and let the other car pass. It’s much more civilized than Ireland where you just close your eyes and say a prayer.
Tigh An Truish on Seil Island
The Isle of Seil is linked to the Scottish mainland by an ancient stone humpbacked bridge, Clachan Bridge completed in 1793, which crosses the Clachan Sound, a narrow strip of tidal flowing into the Atlantic. Not surprisingly the bridge is more romantically known as ‘the bridge over the Atlantic’.
The Gaelic name Tigh An Truish translates into English as “The House of the Trousers.”
The story is that after the Jacobite Risings when kilts were banned, the islanders were reputed to change out of their kilts and into trews (or trousers) here, before going over to the mainland.
Arrgg – Monday – not open till 5pm. 🙁
On to Kilmartin Glen …
Scotland has some stunning scenery – even in January. But the roads are still not very wide, even if they aren’t single track roads!
Kilmartin Glen: Home of over 300 Ancient Monuments
First thing I did when I arrived at Kilmartin was to go to the Kilmartin House Museum. I figured if I wanted to learn all there was about Kilmartin that the museum was the place to start.
Unfortunately because it was January, the interior was closed, but there were plenty of outside signs for me to learn about the area.
I wandered around taking pictures. There was a reconstructed beehive hut (which I found interesting because I had seen real ones on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland and you could walk into the Gallarus Oratory – here are my photos from Slea Head Ireland). But this is the description and behive hut at Kilmartin museum:
Here is a map of the sites of Ancient Scotland in Kilmartin Glen that was on a sign outside of the museum. On the map here, the museum is to the left of the compass.
Note: To see more information about the Ancient Scotland Tours, you can go to my 2023 tour page: https://www.celtictime.com/destinations/Scotland/2023/outlander-tours-scotland-2023.php
This image shows rock art and says: The important rock art site at Ormaig contains seven decorated panels, displaying a variety of different motifs. Mid Argyll is an exceptional area in Britain for these prehistoric carvings, with over 200 known sites.
This image says: The circle at Templewood was first built of wood, which was subsequently replaced by stone. Later still, a cist burial was built in the center and stones piled up to create a cairn. An additional earlier circle can also be seen at the site. Templewood is a good example of the complex history of reworking undergone. They demonstrate a long history of use, perhaps spanning a thousand years.
So leaving the museum and turning right to go south, I headed to the next site of standing stones. Note: when your driving on the left, a right turn is like a left turn in the USA because you have to cross traffic – uh no traffic here. 🙂
Nether Largie Standing Stones
This gorgeous site is the Nether Largie Standing Stones. Look at those stones just standing out in the middle of that field. Nether Largie encompasses 3 different sites of Ancient Scotland: 1) the Standing Stones, 2) Stone Circles and 3) Burial Cairns.
At all of these locations are sign boards telling you what you’re looking at.
Here is a video of the Nether Largie Standing Stone area:
One of the most evocative sites of Ancient Scotland: Dunadd Fortress
This sign is on the way up to the top of the hill and it says: Above you looms a fortress that was the heart of the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata more than 1,300 years ago. It is one of the most important and evocative early medieval sites in Scotland.
You can see the sign in the image below.
Here is an photo of a sign board at the site depicting what it might have looked like when people were living there:
And here is my video from the top:
Remember, it was January and cold and windy. So I didn’t spend as much time there as I would have liked. I can’t wait to go back!!!
Hugh Allison’s Photos of the Orkney Islands
These are the other places you’ll see on the Ancient Scotland Tour. More information is on my website with the 2023 Tours.
Standing Stones of Stenness is a stone henge which is older than Stonehenge by hundreds of years.
On the southern shore of the Bay o’ Skaill, in the West Mainland parish of Sandwick, is the Neolithic village of Skara Brae which was inhabited for around 600 years, between 3200BC and 2200BC.
St Magnus Cathedral, known as the ‘Light in the North’ which was founded in 1137 in honour St Magnus who was martyred in Orkney
Earl’s Palace in Kirkwall is probably the finest Renaissance building in the north of Scotland and home to “the Wicked Earls of Orkney!”
The Italian Chapel is a beautiful Roman Catholic chapel in Lamb Holm which was constructed by Italian POWs during the Second World War.
The scenic cliffs of Yesnaby with its famous sea stack called the Yesnaby Castle.
It’s not too early to start counting down to your next trip. That is a link to my blog about what you can start working on beginning a year ahead of time.