THE CREAR WEDDING MAP COMES TO LIFE!

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4TH BEST PLACE TO VISIT IN THE WORLD!

It’s official: Kilmartin Glen is the 4th best place to visit in the world! 

The The New York Times - Travel titled the glen as “a misty Scottish Stonehenge” in their annual 52 Places to Go travel list.

Kilmartin Glen is located between Oban and Lochgilphead, surrounding the village of Kilmartin, close by to your journey to Crear!

The site holds many pre-historic gems, such as the 4,000 to 5,000-year-old animal carvings that were discovered there recently. 

The deer carvings are the first find of this kind in the UK and they are the earliest known animal carvings in Scotland! 

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SCOTLAND'S ANCIENT PREHISTORIC LANDSCAPE

A rich prehistoric landscape survives in Kilmartin Glen, providing a tantalising insight into its prehistoric population. The surviving rock art along the glen is remarkable for the number of elaborately carved outcrops, the style of and extent of the carvings, and their close association with other prehistoric monuments.  No other place in Scotland has such a concentration of prehistoric carved stone surfaces, and Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments.

The area spans 5,000 years with a multitude of cairns, standing stones, carved rock, stone circles, forts and castles. Kilmartin Glen is considered to have one of the most important concentrations of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland.

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There are more than 350 ancient monuments within a six mile radius of the village, with 150 of them being prehistoric. Monuments include standing stones, a henge monument, numerous cists, and a ‘linear cemetery’ comprising five burial cairns. Several of these, as well as many natural rocks, are decorated with cup and ring marks.

The remains of the fortress of the Scots at Dunadd, a royal centre of Dal Riata, are located to the south of the glen, on the edge of the Moine Mhòr or Great Moss.

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TEMPLE WOOD STONE CIRCLE

Temple Wood Stone Circle’s use began some time before 3000 BC and continued into the Bronze Age, ending about 1000 BC. In that time it was used as a place for ritual ceremonies and funerary activity.

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Today its most immediately visible feature is 13 standing stones. One is marked with a spiral, a motif closely paralleled in Irish passage-grave art.

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THE KING OF SCOTS

Home of kings! The mound was used as a fort more than 2,000 years ago. The site is internationally renowned as a royal power centre of the Gaelic kings of Dál Riata, from about AD 500 to AD 800.

Dunadd is one of the few places referenced in early histories. It’s first mentioned in AD 683, by which point it was already a major power centre – potentially already the chief stronghold of Dál Riata. It may also be the spot where St Columba reportedly met a merchant from Gaul in the late 500s.

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It’s easy to see why Dunadd was desirable as the site for a power centre and fortification. Standing within a natural boggy basin, it sits atop a series of natural terraces. The fort was designed to make good use of the natural defences. 
The climb to the summit indicates the importance of the site and its owner, the king. As you climb the hill you pass through a narrow natural passage, and through a series of terraces, each with the remains of once-formidable stone walls. The enclosure at the summit is surrounded by the strongest defences and is probably where the king would have ruled from.

On a terrace immediately below the citadel are some remarkable carvings in the rock. There you can see:

  • a basin cut into the rock
  • an image of a boar
  • an inscription in the ogham alphabet
  • an inscription in the ogham alphabet
  • two human footprints
  • The carved footprints are the most extraordinary of all. They may have been used during inauguration ceremonies for new kings, symbolising the new ruler’s dominion over the land. Similar footprints can be found outside Clickimin Broch.

    A rich archaeological site

    Artefacts found here during excavations in the 1980s confirmed Dunadd’s royal status and revealed its international importance.

    Finds included:

  • an impressive range of high-status weapons and metalwork
  • a large and diverse range of pottery, demonstrating the far-reaching connections of those who lived at Dunadd
  • An outstanding range of high-status activities took place here, including metalworking and fine craft activities, and trade across continental Europe – the source of some of the artefacts found. Indeed, Dunadd yielded the largest and most diverse range of pottery of any site in north-west Europe.

    It was also a major production centre, and had one of the most significant metalworking workshops in Europe. Only one other site has produced nearly as many moulds – the royal site at Lagore, Ireland. The quality of its finished products – including Hunterston-type brooches – is unsurpassed.

     

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CARNASSERIE CASTLE 

Carnasserie Castle is a roofless ruin today, but it was once a fashionable residence incorporating many of the latest Renaissance influences. It was the home of the first Protestant Bishop of the Isles, Master John Carswell, and its design is befitting of a man of his stature.

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Take in the view from the top at one of Argyll’s finest Renaissance residences and pack a picnic to enjoy from the parapets! 

There’s a magnificent view down to Kilmartin Glen, which is home to a range of marked rocks, cairns and standing stones, some of which are visible from the tower.

Carnassarie Castle ramparts have to be one of the most amazing picnic spots in the world!
Stop off on your way from Crear if you're heading north and enjoy a sandwich with views down over Kilmartin Glen.
For those who don't have a head for heights or young children, the grassy surrounds is a wonderful alternative.