During our stop in Edinburgh we have 1) pestered the SCRAN people asking for a borrowed connection to the Net; 2) discovered the library of RCHAMS, that is a goldmine of books about prehistoric monuments (we photocopied some of them: unfortunately we can't afford all the books we would need); 3) visited three Waterstone's bookshops to find the books we needed (and could afford); 4) discovered a very comfortable, unexpensive and friendly B&B (we warmly recommend it: Millfield Guest House, £16 per person); 5) visited two megalithic sites just in town: Cayistane standing stone and Huly Hill barrow and standing stones.
Then we went to Cairnpapple Hill, a few miles east of Edinburgh. It is one of the most important prehistoric sites on Scotland's mainland. It is composed by an older henge, a round cairn with a main and a collateral grave and some later burial pits. You can enter the cairn by going down a ladder, and even if the inside is heavily restored, the two graves are still impressive. In addition to its archaeological interest, Cairnpapple is a beautiful site, with outstanding views all around (in a clear day, from here you may see Arthur's Seat, the lion-shaped hill of Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth and lots of other Scottish landmarks). A little thing more about this site in care of Historic Scotland: the custodian there, Mr Harry, is a very nice and friendly person who knows a lot of things about this place and takes care of it with love. Cairnpapple is definitely worth the £1 entrance fee (open from April to September from 9.30 to 18.30 and on Sunday from 14.00 to 18.30: last visits at 18.00).
Continuing our tour, we left Lothian, crossed the Forth, visited the Tuilyies standing stone on our way and stopped at Leven. Next morning we visited the Lundin Links, three amazing, modern art-shaped standing stones lying in the greens of a golf club (by the way, how many golf courses in Scotland! They are everywhere!). Then, on our way to Perthshire and Kinross, we went to Balfarg henge (in the middle of the village), Balbirnie stone circle (quite disappointing because it has been removed from its original position and it is now surrounded again by brand new houses) and the two Orwell stones (for incidental occurence they stand in a field in front of Orwell farm, from which we heard some noisy pigs. Orwell (George)-Animal Farm-pigs: doesn't this remind you anything?).
In the afternoon we walked to Fowlis Wester stone setting (a splendid site in the moor) and then we tried to find Monzie stone circle. In our megalithic 'bible' (A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany) by Aubrey Burl, this little stone circle appears to be very nice and easy to find. In our opinion this assertion is absolutely optimistic, so after having searched for over an hour this stone circle without success, we went in a lane leading to Monzie Castle with the intention to ask for information to the butler or a custodian (the castle is open to the public in June). An elegant man in bow tie gave us some invaluable info and in an open field of the castle's park, virtually invisible from the road, we found the stone circle with a prostrate slab covered by many cup and ring marks. The man in bow tie followed us in the deep and wet grass and there we discovered that he was the lord (earl, marquis, duke... Who knows?) of Monzie Castle. And he told us that some eight years ago a man called him early in the morning asking permission to photograph Monzie stone circle and told him he had already recorded 630 Scottish stone monuments. Guess who was that man? Mr Burl, we suppose...
That night we stopped in Aberfeldy. The next sites in our list were the unusual and interesting Croft Moraig circle, the three small Fortingall circles and the Lundin Farm four poster, beautifully situated under an oak. Our last megalithic stop were the standing stones of Clachan an Diridh, a fair walk for Mr Burl, a long and demanding hike for us, who lost our way (we walked uphill 4.2 km instead of 2.2 arrrghhh!!). Anyway, we eventually found the site, the sun came out from the clouds for a few seconds, we took our photos, ate an apple and were happy.
All right, it is time to go to bed now. We hope to succeed in sending this new page of our diary: we are now in a small B&B in Blairgowrie and we don't know if the landlady will allow us to connect the computer to her telephone for a local call to our British provider. We'll try to be polite and persuasive. Keep your fingers crossed for us! Bye bye.
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