Yesterday I decided to visit Glen Lyon with the hope of seeing a few of the many standing stones which are scattered around the area. Glen Lyon (Gleann Lìomhann in gaelic) is a bit of a hidden gem. Off the main tourist track, it is not a busy spot for visitors and remains largely unspoiled. It is a very narrow glen and stretches approximately 25 miles from start to finish. It begins in the east near the village of Fortingall and runs to Loch Lyon in the west.
The glen is steeped in history and has been the residence of many Scottish families, including MacGregors, Menzies, Stewarts, Macnaughtans, MacGibbons and the Campbells. It was once a busy agricultural location, and housed a population of around 4000 in the 19th century. Today, the population is fairly sparse, but driving through the glen you will see some beautiful old stone houses and cottages, and also many tasteful and enviable conversions.
I was interested in located a couple of stones in particular; St. Adomnán’s Cross and The Praying Hands of Mary. Born in Co Donegal, Adomnán became the ninth abbot of Iona after St Columba in 679 AD. He was an important religious figure in Ireland and Scotland and he and preached in the area of Glenlyon. He died in 704 AD.
I found some directions on the internet, although they weren’t really very accurate. Eventually I found the stone on top of an embankment on the left hand side of the road just before Camusvrachan farmstead. I had to park in a passing place, which wasn’t ideal, so I made sure I didn’t stay there too long.
You can enter the field by this gate, but no dogs allowed!
St. Adomnán’s Cross
Above : Facing West Below: The rear view of the stone
Above: The rough markings of a cross
Having taken a few photos, I wanted to find the Praying Hands of Mary next. Anyone reading this blog could be mistaken in thinking that I am a religious person, but my reasons for seeking out Praying Hands of Mary was because of its alleged connections to a local network of ley lines.
To access the’ Praying hands’ you must exit the road through Glen Lyon at RoRo, where you drive down a small track until you come to a bridge. Unfortunately you are not permitted to cross the bridge by car, as the estate owners don’t like visitors, so I left the car at the bridge and embarked on a walk towards the stones.
At the sign you need to turn right towards Balmenoch, and walk for about a mile until you reach two semi detached cottages, then follow a track up a hill opposite them. The track isn’t very easy to follow in places, but what I did notice was the sparkle of rocks containing Iron Pyrites which glistened all the way up to the stones, which made it seem even more magical!
Finally I reached the stones which stood majestically atop the hill. They really are an awesome sight at about 12ft tall!
There is an interesting article about ley lines written by David Cowan which explains how they work. I find it fascinating that there are many mysterious megalithic sites around me, and am keen to have a go at dowsing some of them. I enjoyed my trip to Glen Lyon, but next time I will set off earlier in the morning in order to visit the House of the Cailleach, which is at the far end of the glen, and quite a considerable walk on foot.