Isle of Albion
Unusual arrangement of stones with striking cup and ring markings.
Photographed: Saturday 27th September 2014
Other Names: The Great X of Kilmartin
Site rating:  

The Nether Largie Stones is a collection of five standing stones arranged in an "x" formation. All of the stones rise to about three metres in height. The central stone is engraved with prominent cup and ring markings. These are also present on most of the satellite stones, but less apparent.

The stones are thought to date to about 1,200BC, but intriguingly, the cup and ring markings date back a further 1,500 years, which would mean that they were engraved substantially prior to the stones being erected.

Various theories exist regarding the placement of the stones and the engravings, with the most popular being that they form solar and lunar alignments marking important points of the year. It must also be considered that the stones we see today may be survivors of a larger monument.

Kilmartin Glen is not the most accessible of locations. Glasgow is over two hours away, and even Oban is about an hour away by car. Surprisingly then, it still manages to attract a fairly large number of tourists. It isn't swamped like similar sites in England, but I found a steady stream of people coming and going in September.

Kilmartin Glen might be somewhat distant from the nearest large town, but the Nether Largie Stones are very accessible, being situated right next to the main road with a convenient carpark adjacent to the field. This means that they don't benefit from the atmosphere surrounding more remote prehistoric monuments, but there's still something very magical about the area that seeps into the bones. The stones themselves can't fail to impress, towering to a good height and full of character. Plus there's the added benefit of multiple sites to explore within walking distance. Overall, I'd rate this as possibly the finest prehistoric site on the Scottish mainland.