Thursday, March 12, 2015

On Roads to the Isles - 1

Over the years I've followed several roads to the isles. For me, they all start start at Glasgow Airport, and end at Kennacraig, Oban, Crinan, Mallaig, or Uig (Skye). There are many sights to see along these roads to the isles, and I make it a point to spend a few days traveling them before setting off for the islands. (Another reason I do this is that it allows my baggage to catch up to me if the airline manages to lose it.) Over the next few posts I will describe some of the sights I've seen on these roads to the isles.

The first such sight I'd like to describe is one of the best groupings of ancient rock-art in the UK. I visited it on the way from Glasgow to Oban by making a detour through Kilmartin Glen. From Kilmartin Village I drove a mile and a half north to Carnasserie Castle. 

Carnasserie Castle
I left the car there and followed a path to the west of the castle into a forestry plantation. It was a six-mile round trip walk from the car park, and I've highlighted the route I took to Ormaig in this GoogleEarth image.

Walking route to the Ormaig Stones 
As it turned out, I was fortunate I arrived there on a weekend, as I had to walk though several stretches of forest that were being logged. If I'd tried to pass through on a weekday I'd of been turned away. Half the walk was along wooded trails, the other half on dusty forestry roads marked with keep-out signs warning of heavy logging traffic. But as it was a Sunday, and the forest was quiet, I carried on past the signs. If not for my old Pathfinder Map of the area (Pathfinder, 365 Scarba), I would not have been able to find the stones, as a number of forest tracks made navigation a challenge. But that excellent map, along with my GPS, led me west to Loch Craignish, and on a recently logged hillside I found the Ormaig Stones (NM 822027).

The site consists of a couple hundred carvings spread out over several slabs. The most interesting are rosette carvings often referred to as 'telephone dials', as they resemble the dials of old rotary phones. Below are a few photos of the Ormaig stones I took in 2011. See this Megalithic Portal page, and this RCAHMS page for more photos of these amazing works of art.

After that exhilarating hike I drove up to Oban and checked into the Kimberley Hotel (which is now called Greystones). I'd been awake for 25 hours; 25 hours in which I'd crossed 4000 miles of ocean, driven 120 miles, and then hiked six miles. Before hitting the sack I walked down to Oban Fish & Chips, where I got an excellent piece of fish, which I enjoyed, along with a can of Export, at the Light-Beacon Park near the Oban War memorial. Then I returned to the Kimberly where I slept for 14 hours. It had been a fantastic day.

Ormaig Rock-Art - Loch Cragnish in the distance

The phone-dials

1 comment:

  1. David & Margaret GartsideMarch 13, 2015 at 1:38 AM

    Thanks Marc. We always enjoy your information,

    David & Margaret Gartside