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Jumy 13th 1998

Eyre Dear friends, tonight we are writing our diary after a nine kilometers walk in a pouring rain. We are pretty exausted, so please accept a different version of our travel diary, shorter than usual.

Skye - In Skye we visited some standing stones (Eyre and Borve) and had a quick look at Carn Liath cairn. Of course rain came down in bucketfuls! When we came on holiday on this beautiful island eight years ago, we had to take a ferry that was said to be the most expensive in Europe. Now they have built a short bridge, so we happily passed it... before discovering that it is the most expensive bridge in Europe (£ 5.60 for a car and up to £ 40 for a coach: this is a daylight robbery!).

Dervaig Mull - Before taking another ferry to Mull, we drove around Ardnamurchan peninsula, a very nice and quiet place, and went to Camus Nan Geall, a peaceful little bay with the remains of a chambered cairn and a standing stone which has been carved with crosses in early Christian times. And a village, deserted when during the last century new land owners came and cast out the Highlanders who lived there to make room to sheep. This sort of 'ethnic cleaning up', called 'Clearances', caused a massive emigration of Scots to America and Canada. Do you know that in the same period wearing tartan and playing bagpipes was strictly forbidden? Arrived on Mull, we only had the time to walk to the three groups of impressive aligned standing stones at Dervaig and to the beautiful Lochbuie stone circle before sailing again towards mainland.

Ballymeanoch Argyll - The round cairn at Achnacree and the small stone circle and standing stone at Strontoiller have been our last two stops before reaching the Kilmartin valley, truly a megalithic heaven. Here, beside a wonderful natural landscape (we even saw a beautiful, great golden eagle hunting) in a few square kilometers there are splendid settings of standing stones (Ballymeanoch and Nether Largie are the main ones, but there are also a lot of nice single standing stones, as the one at Torbhlaran or at Kintraw), a splendid stone circle (Temple Wood) and lots of cairns (Dunchraigaig and the four aligned ones of Glebe, Nether Largie North, Mid and South).

Ormaig But the prehistoric sites that make unique this area are the rock carvings. In the Kilmartin Valley there are many flat rocks literally covered by cup and ring and spiral markings. We visited several of them: Achnabreck, Cairnbaan, Kilmichael Glassary, Baluachraig and Ballygowan. And Ormaig, that we have reached today after a very long and very wet walk. These carvings are beautiful, complex and misterious: what have they been made for? What did they mean for prehistoric people? Archaelogists can only guess about them: some theories say they were a kind of geographical maps, others astronomical maps, others simple decorations. Who knows... Our personal theory is that they could be a kind of family tree: the central cup being the first man of the family group and the rings around it his sons and nephews. Anyway, mistery is perhaps the best part of archaeology, and these sites are so beautiful and interesting.

We are now resting in Dunchraigaig guest house. It is a wonderful place, Ballymeanoch standing stones and Dunchraigaig cairn are within a 2 minutes walk, our room is very comfortable and Mrs Elizabeth is a great cook and a skillfull wine expert. Tonight we had our best meal so far and a good bottle of red wine to warm up our bodies drenched with rain. Thanks a million! Scottish hospitality is one of the better bits of our journey!


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