Fortingall Stone Circles

A set of three stone circles near the famous church yard at Fortingall at the head of Glen Lyon.

In a field just to the East of the picturesque village of Fortingall, on the banks of the River Lyon, stand three groups of standing stones. Closest to the road are a group of four stones (NE) and a group of three stones (SW), while further into the field, closer to the river, is another group of three (S). All are water-worn, smooth, rounded boulders. 

In 1970, the two settings closest to the road (NE & SW) were excavated by archaeologists from Leicester University including Aubrey Burl. It was found that both had been four-poster variants, each comprising of four large stones at the corners of a rectangle, with four smaller stones mid-way between the larger ones. In both cases, the missing five stones had been pushed over and buried deeply in prepared pits at some point in the nineteenth century. The date is known as one of the stones was found to have a Victorian beer bottle under it. 

Excavation showed that the SW circle originally had a floor of tiny pebbles within it, and stones of quartz were found by the SSW stone. To the SW of the circle part of an Iron Age jet ring was found. At the centre of the NE circle, a burnt patch containing pieces of charcoal and cremated bone was found. 

The S setting wasn't subjected to a full excavation in 1970, but an exploratory excavation at the time revealed a stone hole 4.6m to the NW of the W stone, suggesting a circle of 14.6m in diameter. The three remaining stones stand in an almost straight line aligned SE-NW, but taking into account the stone hole, it would appear that this is the remains of an Aberdeenshire-style recumbent stone circle rather than a stone row or four-poster variant like it's neighbours. 

Travel Directions to Fortingall Stone Circles

Head N from Perth on the A9 (sign-posted Inverness). After approximately 30.0km, there is a turn-off to the right (a major junction) onto the A827 for Aberfeldy. Take this turn-off, which curves round and crosses over the A9 to the W. Drive through Logierait, and after about 4.5km turn right at the junction (sign-posted Aberfeldy). This road takes you right to Aberfeldy. Carry on straight into Aberfeldy until you reach a cross-roads with a set of traffic lights. 

Turn right here, onto the B846, which you follow for about 8.0km, until you see the turn-off to the left for Fortingall. The circles are approximately 3.5km along this road, in a field to your left, sheltered by trees, but clearly visible from the road. Keep an eye out for Balnacraig farm on your right - the circles are on your left just after here, in the field with the "No Dogs" sign on the gate. There are sometimes cattle in the field, and the eastern circle is sometimes split from it's two neighbours by a low electric fence. Only enter the field if it's empty. It's safe enough to park on the verge of this quiet road.

2511 Print Monday, 01 February 2016