Greetings to you this beautiful day. Today I would like to take you guys into the beautiful Scottish Highlands to Croft Moraig Stone Circle. Our destination is located about four miles southwest of Aberfeldy, right off of A827. It occupies a portion of a farmer’s field, so you may want to grab your wellies just in case it’s muddy. Ready? Great, then let’s be off!
Don’t fret that the site sits on private property. Scotland’s laws allow individuals “freedom to roam.” Just be respectful and be sure to close the farmer’s gate.
Most people probably think of Stonehenge when they think of a stone circle. It is one of Britain’s most iconic sites – and of course, the location of one of the Griswold Family’s hilarious misadventures.
If you are a fan of the “Outlander” series, then you might imagine Craigh na Dun, the fictional standing stones that transported Claire from the Scottish Highlands in 1946 to the year 1743…and ultimately led her to the man who would become the great love of her life.
Oh Jamie, you beautiful, beautiful man…
Oops, sorry, lost myself there for a second.
While Croft Moraig Stone Circle isn’t quite as impressive as Stonehenge or as captivating as the fictional Craigh na Dun, but it is still pretty amazing. Especially when you take the time to consider the mysterious purposes for which this circular rock structure was built.
Alternately spelled ‘Croftmoraig,’ this recumbent, horseshoe-shaped stone circle dates from the Neolithic through the Bronze Ages. Shards of Neolithic pottery were discovered on the site and dated to around 3,000 B.C. Guys, that’s a few thousand years ago! I can hardly comprehend it. Croft Moraig is one of several ancient sites in the Tay River Valley. Historians point to this as an indication of how important the area was as a home and transport route for ancient peoples.
“They [recumbent stone circles] get their name because one large stone in the circle is laid on its side, or is ‘recumbent’. We think ancient peoples might have used these circles to record the seasons or the passage of the sun and moon. They may have hosted funerary pyres or ceremonial bonfires. Whatever their purpose, they have fascinated people for generations.” –Forestry Commission Scotland
Croft Moraig was excavated in 1965 by Stuart Piggott and Derek Simpson. It is a complex double-stone circle, and it was determined that it had been built in three separate phases of construction. A thousand years or more may have separated each stage of its development.
Archaeologists and historians may never truly understand the purposes for which stone circles were constructed, but some probable theories include:
*a place for worship and/or sacrifice
*burial grounds (human bone has been found at Stonehenge, for example)
*a place for healing
*a cosmic observatory of sorts – stones aligned to astronomical events
Or, as Mr. C suggested, maybe the ancient peoples just needed a place to sit around the campfire while they ate their hotdogs and s’mores! Silly Mr. C.
Whatever the reasons, stone circles are mysterious, fascinating, and definitely stir the imagination. I hope you enjoyed our little adventure.
Thanks so much for coming along with me today. I’ll see you next time when I attempt to make Scotch eggs! Yikes! Have a great rest of the week, friends.
*Photo of rain boots courtesy of Pexels
18 thoughts on “Croft Moraig Stone Circle-A Prehistoric Mystery”
A great site.Thanks for the extra information. I like to think these places have a mystical feel about them.
Me too, Darlene. I don’t know if they really do or if that’s something we like to imagine, but either way they are really special places to visit.
Fascinating! And you write compellingly about them.
I’ve visited several stone circles from Stonehenge to Callinish on Lewis. Awe doesn’t begin to describe the experience.
But alas, no Jaimie.
Thanks, Cristine. I would very much like to see Callanish. A trip to the Outer Hebrides is high on my list for a future adventure. What did you think of Stonehenge? I’ve heard it has become such a tourist trap that it somewhat detracts from the specialness of it.
The Outer Hebrides are other-worldly! Harris is like a lunar landscape. It was blowing a gale when we were there in September of 1997. But it’s so worth it. I have no idea why Harris and Lewis are two “islands” when they’re the same land mass absolutely undivided.
I’ve been to Stonehenge three times. First in the ’70s when access wasn’t at all restricted; next in the ’80s when there was a perimeter set up; most recently in October ’09. All awesome! In ’09 there was a tastefully done new visitor center. An audio tour was available and very good. We spent as much time as we wanted at the site. I heard a rumor from some American tourists on Mull this year that they had heard time spent at Stonehenge was restricted. I have no idea if that’s true. Best check that out. And if it is, check to see if that’s during the height of tourist season only. Stonehenge is truly amazing!
Thank for your clarification on Stonehenge. Would love to get there one day as well. We will be staying near Inverness this Spring but you definitely have my interest peaked for a stay on Harris/Lewis. That would be quite an adventure. Maybe that will be our trip after Inverness!
Another post of yours that I love <3
You are sweet to say that. Thank you! 🙂
I’ve read the entire Outlander series and loved it. What red-blooded woman wouldn’t fall for the inimitable Jamie? 😉
I am a big Outlander fan so it was lovely to learn more about “the stones” in this post. Thank you.
They are certainly fascinating. Do you have any favorite stone circles that you have seen in Ireland?
As a great Scotland lover that was so interesting for me to read. And the pics are beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
Reni, thank you! 🙂
Yes. There is a lovely circle near Raphoe but there are also remains of a circle on a hilltop in our village. 🌼
How neat. You are fortunate to live in such a place.
Loved your adventure! Stone circles are fascinating! I’m an Outlander fan, too!
Thank you! I can’t wait to watch season 4. 🙂