Sunday, August 23, 2015

Looking for Brodie Castle, but finding Rodney's Stone and Cava Cairn Instead

Rodney's Stone
Off on a beautiful Sunday morning driving to see Brodie Castle.  The traffic backed up as we came into Nairn.  After creeping forward for 20 minutes, we turned off the road and let the GPS recompute.  Really didn't help, as she kept trying to send us back to Nairn. Thank goodness I always have a map in the car!

Cross carved on the back.
After driving on one lane roads through the back of beyond, we finally made it back to the highway and found the castle, only to be told they were having a special event (which we were interested in) and we would have to pay extra to go.  We declined the offer, deciding instead to come back on an uneventful day. But, while exiting backwards out of the castle, we found Rodney's Stone!  Made it worth the fuss.
I really love these things!
Rodney's Stone was found nearby the castle.  It is a class II stone, containing both Pictish and Christian symbols.  What makes it unique are the inscriptions on both of the sides and on the cross face.  It is in the Ogham alphabet and is the longest of all Pictish inscriptions.  What they can make out of it is the Pictish name EDDARRNON, a Pictish saint.

What to do next?  We didn't want to try going through Nairn again, so off across the country we went, ending back at Cullenden, where the visitors center has wonderful bathrooms.  Upon leaving, we followed the signs to Cava Cairns.  Sounded interesting and it was!

Looking into the entry into the largest of the cairns.  It would have been covered and only received light into the depths on the solstice. 

The large curb stones on the bottom support everything else.

A completely enclosed cairn; no entryway, but on the outside there were trails of rock sticking out like spokes on a wheel.

Standing stones surrounded each cairn.

The enclosed cairn with the spokes of stones coming out.
Not being able to visit Brodie Castle was a positive; we would never have found Cava Cairn.  Sometimes the very ancient turns out to be better than merely old.  Besides, we can go to Brodie later, perhaps on our way back to Aberdeen.
This rock split after being stood up.  It has been this way for many years, as the insides are weather worn.

About a quarter of a mile away, is the remains of an ancient Christian chapel built near another ring of stones.  We could make out the corner stones on the chapel, with a lot of rubble in the middle.  One large stone still remained of the circle.  We took a different one lane road back to the main highway.  It wandered through farms and fields, up a ridge and back down over a bridge till we came on our road.  We love traveling this way!
Bridge in the distance: looks like the on in the Harry Potter movies, doesn't it?

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