Carnasserie Castle: signs

Carnasserie Castle © David Gill

Canrasserie Castle lies to the north of Kilmartin village. In February 1559 the castle was awarded to John Carswell (c. 1522–1572) [ODNB], the minister of Kilmartin. (Note the alternative spelling on the site sign.) In 1567 he was presented as bishop of the Isles. One of his main contributions was his translation of the Book of Common Order (1564) into Gaelic, Foirm na n-urrnuidheadh (1567).

The present castle was constructed between 1565 and 1572, replacing an earlier building. The castle was destroyed in 1685 during the rebellion of the 9th Earl of Argyll.

Carnasserie Castle © David Gill

Nether Largie South Cairn

Nether Largie South Cairn © David Gill

Nether Largie South Cairn is part of the prehistoric landscape at Kilmartin. It was excavated by Canon Greenwell in 1864. Its first phase appears to belong to the early Neolithic. Two cists were cut into the outer part of the cairn, probably ion the Early Bronze Age.

Nether Largie Cairns, Kimartin © David Gill


The Way to Dunadd Fort

Dunadd © David Gill

The fort at Dunadd on the edge of Kilmartin is well worth the climb. The route up is well sign-posted with official Ministry ‘arrows’ that eventually take you through the main entrance.

The fort is in the guardianship of Historic Scotland.

The path to Dunadd © David Gill

The path to Dunadd © David Gill

Dunadd © David Gill

Entering Dunadd © David Gill

Among the visible remains are some of the internal structures. This formed part of a major regional centre c. AD 600.

Dunadd © David Gill

The view from the top is more than rewarding looking out over Moine Mhôr towards the Crinan canal.

Moine Mhôr from Dunadd © David Gill


Ri Cruin Cairn

Ri Cruin Cairn, Kilmartin © David Gill

Ri Cruin Cairn is one of the Early Bronze Age burials in Kilmartin Glen. Although damaged by the construction of a lime kiln, it was the subject of a series of excavations, including one by V. Gordon Childe in 1936. The site is in state guardianship and now is in the care of Historic Scotland.

The photograph, dated to July 1985, shows the Ministry sign located on the edge of the cairn. (This is a scan of the print.) The sign has since been removed.


Crinan Canal

The lighthouse at Crinan © David Gill

The 9 mile long Crinan Canal skirts the edge of the Kilmartin prehistoric landscape. It was constructed to avoid the long sea route round the Mull of Kintyre. The canal runs from Ardrishaig on Loch Gilp to Crinan and the Sound of Jura. The canal was started in 1794, and opened in 1809, with further modifications by Thomas Telford.

The route of the canal is described in Sharon Webb’s In the Footsteps of Kings.

Celebrations at Kilmartin

Nether Largie Cairns, Kimartin © David Gill

Dr Sharon Webb, Director and Curator of the Kilmartin Museum, has been honoured in the New Year’s Honours List 2016 for services to heritage and archaeology in Scotland. The museum sites in the heart of an archaeologically rich landscape with numerous prehistoric monuments (e.g. Dunchraigaig Cairn; Kilmichael Glassary Rock Art; Temple Wood) as well as medieval (e.g. Keills Chapel; Sculptured Stones) and industrial (e.g. Crinan Canal) features. Webb has written an instructive guide to the area, In the Footsteps of Kings.

Heritage Futures would like to congratulate Sharon and the team at Kilmartin for this well-deserved award.

Dunchraigaig Cairn

Dunchraigaig Cairn
Dunchraigaig Cairn © David Gill

Dunchraigaig Cairn lies within the prehistoric landscape of Kilmartin. It is situated on what appears to be a raised beach overlooking the main part of the glen. It contained at least three burial locations.

The cairn is now under the guardianship of Historic Scotland.

Dunchraigaig Car Park © David Gill

Sign at Kilmichael Glassary

Kilmichael Glassary © David Gill
Kilmichael Glassary © David Gill

I have already commented on the changing name of the ‘inscribed rocks’ at Kilmichael Glassary. But here is a better image of the original sign.

Kilmartin: From Inscribed Rocks to Rock Art

Kilmichael Glassary © David Gill
Kilmichael Glassary © David Gill

Kilmartin must be one of the most interesting prehistoric landscapes in the UK. There are several locations where inscribed rocks can be observed. Notice that the original Ministry of Works sign directs visitors to ‘Kilmichael Glassary Inscribed Rocks’. The Scotland guide described it as ‘Kilmichael Glassary’ with the description, ‘Cup-and-ring scribings of Bronze Age date on natural rock outcrop’. The official site name for Historic Scotland is ‘Kilmichael Glassary Rock Art’.

Kilmichael Glassary © David Gill
Kilmichael Glassary © David Gill

The Kilmartin Guide describes the rock art in more detail.

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