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ornament, It is panelled, simply, by the roll bead that runs round all the angles of the stone. The incised carving on the upper or face portion of the slab, unfortunately, is much injured, but what remains suggests either the shaft of a cross or a sword and scabbard. Some inglorious vandal has chiselled clean away about a foot of the upper portion of the design, and on the flat surface thus secured has incised some base initials, thus intensifying one of the most interesting problems connected with the churchyard memorials of the district.
STONE-CIRCLES AT GRENISH, AVIEMORE, AND DELFOUR,
STRATHSPEY. BY C. G. CASH, F.R.S.G.S.
In his Vacation Notes in Cromar and Strathspey, 1875, Sir Arthur Mitchell gives a brief account of the Grenish stone-circle. In 1877 Mr Angus Grant, then schoolmaster in Glen Urquhart, but previously resident at Aviemore, read a paper to the Inverness Scientific Society and Field Club, in which he gave an account of several stonecircles, including those at Grenish and Aviemore. James Robertson, in the account of his tour, No. 858 in Sir Arthur Mitchell's List, reports a circle near Aviemore, apparently the Grenish one, as having in 1771 something like a cromlech in the middle; there is now no such structure there. In vol. vii, of the Proceedings of this Society, Mr John Stuart reports at the Aviemore circle a flat stone with three cup-marks; this stone seems to have disappeared. Of the Delfour stone-circle a brief account is given in the 1845 New Statistical Account ; a considerable change seems to have been made in its appearance since that time.
I here record observations made by my wife and me during the spring and summer holidays of 1905, when we spent several days at these circles.
The Grenish Si e-Circle.—This circle stands about 24 miles E.N.E. of Aviemore Station, and about 350 yards east of the nearest point of
the main road, on the south side of the little Lochan nan Carraigean,
The stone-circle (fig. 1) consisted at one time of three concentric circles ;
The outer circle consisted originally of either eleven or twelve megaliths; of these but two remain, and they are prostrate. The southwesterly one (B) is just over 9 feet long, and has a trapezoidal section with a major diameter of over 3 feet. The more westerly one (C) is 7 feet long, and in section is an oblique parallelogram with a major diameter of 3 feet 7 inches. These have fallen, the first one outwards, and the second one inwards. Sites may be seen for four more (D, E, F, G), slight depressions in the ground, with small loose stones lying near, which I regard as packing to fix and steady the megaliths. Nearly due east of the common centre there is no sign of the former presence of a megalith (H), and the current account is that no stone stood there.
The sites of four megaliths on the northern side cannot be determined because of the growth of long heather, and to the north of east a site is doubtful (J). It seems that nine or ten of the megaliths have been
removed, some of them to be used in the foundations of the threshing mill at Aviemore House. In connection with the removal of another of these stones a curious story is told. It was taken to be used as the lintel of the doorway of a hyre. When the byre was finished,
difficulty was found in getting the cattle to enter or stay in it; they seemed overcome with fear. The farmer sent for one of the “ men Duthil, and asked his advice. After religious “exercises” the “ informed the farmer that the cause of the terror of the cattle was the presence of this stone as the lintel. The stone was removed and an ordinary stone substituted, and thenceforward the cattle occupied the byre in peace!
The second circle consisted of about seventy stones, of which sixty-six are visible in their places, one (K) has slightly fallen from its place, and a few are hidden in the growth of turf. There are three well-marked gaps in the circle : one on each side of the south stone, and one a little to the east. The tallest and most regularly shaped stone of this circle (L) is the fifth one to the west of the south stone. This is a slab of greyish granite, 3 feet 5 inches high, 4 feet 1 inch wide, 1 foot thick, and
very regular in shape. No other stone of its circle quite equals it in appearance, but the stone next west from it is not much inferior. In general, the stones diminish in size and shapeliness each way from these two. The decrease is not regular, but is clearly intentional.
The third or innermost circle is much less obviously complete; this is partly due to the overflow of the piling of loose stones. It probably consisted of nearly forty stones, of which twenty-two remain visible in place, and one (M) has been displaced inwards. Here again the tallest and shapeliest stone (N) is in the same common radius with the tallest stone (L) of the second circle, and with the megalith (B) which is said to have been the biggest of the megaliths. Stone (N) is about 2 feet broad, and 10 inches thick. Its height is about 3 feet 6 inches, but probably not more than 3 feet of its inner face was originally exposed.
The stone packing in the ring between the second and third circles consists of loose stones of varied size. The largest I could see weigh about a hundredweight, the least are less than one's fist. In some places they have been howked out; hundreds of them have fallen or been pitched into the inner circular space, and some have tumbled out
through the gaps in the second circle. There is, of course, no actual evidence that this packing is part of the original structure.
Of the cromlech reported by James Robertson there is no remnant.
The authorities of the Seafield estate seem to have no official knowledge of the circle, and there is no provision in the rules of the estate for its protection.
The Aviemore Stone-Circle. - The Aviemore stone-circle stands about half a mile north of Aviemore railway station, not more than 60 yards from the high-road, and just behind the United Free Church. As in the case of the Grenish circle, the site is not possessed of any notable features. As far as I know, there are no cairns in the neighbourhood of the circle.
The circle (fig. 2) is in some respects less complete than that at Grenish. Like that one it consisted originally of three concentric circles; the outer one, of detached megaliths, had a diameter of about 75 feet; the second, of closely set stones, a diameter of about 42 feet; and the inner, as to which the evidence is imperfect, a diameter of about 26 feet.
The outer circle probably consisted of twelve stones, for in this case there was and still is a megalith (A) in the eastward place. The south stone (B) stands 4 feet 10 inches high, and has a shape roughly suggestive of a cloaked human figure. The rest of the south-west quadrant has no stone, nor any evidence of the former presence of one. The northwest quadrant has no megalith now standing in its proper place; but there are some large boulder-stones lying against the outside of the second circle, and it is easy to suppose that three of these (C, D, E) may be the somewhat shapeless megaliths rolled inwards. The farm-steading was at one time close to the west side of the circle, and such displacement may well have taken place. There are also some other largish blocks of stone similarly placed (F, G), which probably did not belong to the circle; their fresher surfaces suggest that they were placed here when turned up by the plough, as have been also many smaller pebbles. In the north-east qnadrant there are ee stones that may have been megaliths (H, J, K), and three others that are probably