Monday, 22 March 2010

A Step Back in Time

A Buzzard mewed, as the mist swirled and shrouded the hilltop, in a way befitting the mystery and intrigue of a place that once held far greater importance than it does today. A short walk from the pot-holed Salen to Tobermory highway had brought us to one of the most important prehistoric sites on the Isle of Mull, where a large number of Bronze Age sites can be explored in a small area.

Only one stone remains erect today, where once would have stood two sets of three impressive Standing Stones. It is interesting to note that the recumbent rocks may have been an act of early Christian vandalism, in an effort to hide the pagan stones. These stones would have been an important focus for the community of early Muileachs that once lived here. We speculated as to what their significance may have been in earlier times, during religious festivals or as primitive calendars.

The views along the Sound of Mull were commanding, where to the East, the characteristic outline of Ben Talaidh, Mull’s third highest summit, dominates the skyline on a clear day (but, not today)!

The wild, evocative music of a cock Mistle Thrush entered in to defiant battle with the elements as we made our way across the fields to an impressive kerb cairn, one of several early burial sites found in the area. When the rain relented, Skylarks, returning to their breeding grounds, were quick to seize the opportunity to mesmerise us with their towering song flights of pure, liquid sunshine. Hail to thee, Blithe Spirit!

We wandered towards the coast to the dilapidated stone walls of one of only two brochs that are known on the Isle of Mull. Iron Age duns and forts are common features on the island, but brochs were structures rarely built as far south as Mull. Little remains of what must have been an impressive building and we are left to wonder of a time that we can only ever return to in our imagination.

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