Arran adventures: the standing stones of Machrie

Arran adventures: the standing stones of Machrie

So you’ve come to Scotland, got the ferry over to the Isle of Arran and the weather is being – well, Scottish… It’s raining and blowing an absolute gale. So, what do you do on this tiny little island where all activities are outdoors? Well here’s an option – it’s still outside but is a low level and gentle walk.

Having travelled up from Yorkshire for a good weekend of walking we were hit by a foul forecast – the kind that cancels all the ferries to the island kind of weather. Accepting that we were not going to get into the mountains we set about finding something that we could do in this weather.

 As Saturday rolled round the weather was brisk but the dog really needed a good walk so we drove down to Machrie to visit the standing stone circles. The moody skies and brisk breeze made for exciting conditions for a lowland walk so we pulled up in the carpark (marked as P on the map below), pulled on our waterproofs and set out.

Screen Shot from Ordnance Survey of Machrie Moor

The standing stones as seen on Ordnance Survey

 

Starting out by walking through fields, the dog was on a close lead as we were passing through sheep grazing but as we came to the taller circles of stone and away from the livestock and as it wasn’t nesting season she got to have a good romp around. The walk is only a couple of miles in total but a worthwhile trip to make if you’ve only a couple of hours spare. 

While many of the circles are low standing stones there are a few that tower high above you. They look even more impressive against a backdrop of Ard Bheinn, Torr nam Freumh and An Tunna. Broiling grey skies with flashes of sun peaking through in the valley made for a really inspiring sight. How these stones got here and what they were used for is a complete mystery. Nobody knows but there’s evidence that there used to be a settlement in the area, farming the rich peat soils but they’re long gone.

The stone circles are great to visit on a moodier day when getting into the hills isn’t an option. Farm tracks make for easy walking and the view whatever the weather is pretty impressive.

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