'Lower Fernoch'


#34 'Lower Fernoch'      Thom - , Ruggles - , NR721 852

( 'Cup Marked Stone' )

The 'Cup marked stone' is a large boulder about 2.0m x1.7m x1.0m lying in gently sloping open moor-land. It is shaped rather like a very blunt spear head. Its upper surface had many cupmarks: about 40 obvious ones and perhaps 20 others. It was first visited in May 2007 on a dull day when other work could not be done.  Because of the flat light the photographs taken then did not show the cup marks well, and so in May 2009 a second visit was made in good evening light.

The stone appears to be indicated by the Upper Fernoch stone, but why?

A possible explanation was found. A second view from a different angle seemed to show:-

  • A rocky plinth (the surrounding area has very few stones)
  • The stone has a nearly flat base
  • the stone was propped up on the edge of the 'plinth'

Inference:- It was a fallen standing stone.

Where the circles are there is room for a hand.

(Note   As discussed under #19 Carnasserie, there are some stones that fall in such a way that it would be hard to be reasonably confident where the stone would have stood without a proper excavation. But in some cases it is clear where the stone would have stood and what its orientation would have been.  In these cases I have taken the liberty of "reconstructing" the site. )

If the inference is correct then  an alignment with a foresight is to be expected.  In nearly all directions, the horizon is nearby and/or featureless. Only to the SSW is there a distant horizon which is potentially suitable for a foresight.  Considering how the stone now lies it is reasonable to presume that it once indicated this direction.  Therefore an alignment for the southern Major Standstill was considered likely..  (This is similar but opposite to Barnashaig.)


Initial observations gave:-

The only region where there could be a foresight is shown.  It was visited and found to have the following features:-


And from about 200m:-


Three markers of known height were placed.  Two in the trees and the third on the rock outcrop.


Thoedolite measurements of these markers from the backsight enabled the ground profile to be found with sufficient accuracy.  The reconstuction and superimposed lunar path gave:-

It is concluded that the 'cup marked stone' is very probably a fallen standing stone. The name 'Lower Fernoch' is proposed.

It is noted that the alignments found at the two sites, Barnashaig and 'Lower Fernoch' complement each other; Barnashaig being for  +ε + ι + s + Δ  and  'Lower Fernoch' for          -(ε + ι - s - Δ).   i.e. for opposite Δ.  Thus they form a pair.