Cairn Holy in Galloway

Sunday 19th September promised glorious sunshine in Galloway a golden opportunity not to be missed for a road trip that turned on Newton Stewart. En route, short of Creetown, my wife and I called in at the two Neolithic chambered cairns called Cairn Holy I and II. The setting is gorgeous, but more impressive are the details of the six thousand year old monuments. The stone’s are not haphazard they are meticulously and purposefully positioned to cast shadows in a very precise way when lit by the sun at the key solstices and the dawn’s and setting sun’s rays play into the inner tomb and on the faces of the stones. Tomorrow Tuesday 21st is Equinox midway between mid-summer and mid-winter, this is perhaps the most significant moment of all. Find one cup & ring mark on the monument, in an area simply brimming with Neolithic monuments all connecting the sea, the land and the heavens. The eastern facade of standing stones, akin West Kennet Long Barrow, aligned to the far headland of the Antrim coast when viewed from the north and one prostrate stone pinpoints where the sun’s shadow moves at the mid-solstice moment (this coming Tuesday at noon). The place has so special. We met two joyous and colourful Zimbabwean ladies and an American guy whose addiction to the setting and the place is infectious. He told us that a farmer ploughing the nearby fields was constantly picking up fractured funeral remains in caskets suggesting the area was littered with burials and a considerable Neolithic community was nucleated in this vicinity.

These ladies had been to the site with their children some years ago and were renewing their happy memories again today.
The shadows are all important, connecting the observer to the immediate, landscape and stellar setting.
Rock art limited to this one cur & ring feature.
Yours truly standing beside the drystane wall bounding the Cairn Holy monument… what stories these fractured stones could tell.

Published by markrichardswalking

An outdoor writer since my early twenties, with a passion for walking and linescape art, which quickly coalesed into the creation of practical guides exploring the remarkable landscapes and heritage of Britain.

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