Ancient Stones
A Guide to Standing Stones & Stone Circles in the South of Scotland.


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Stone Hunting Hints & Tips

Calculate and enter the GPS co-ordinates of the site or sites you are planning to visit before you leave the house. Itís much easier at home than in the middle of some wild weather or when under attack by sheep!

Not all ancient stones are marked on modern maps. Keep your eyes peeled for other stones and trust your instincts to whether they are lost ancient stones or simply just plain old boulders.

Take your time when you find ancient stones, recorded or not. Have a good look around the area and see if there are associated features that might give some hint to the meaning behind the stone.

While modern Ordnance Survey maps are generally quite accurate this is not always the case and errors do occur. So, donít rely blindly on the site being where the map states it to be.

Just because a map shows the location of an ancient stone does not mean it still exists at the same location or indeed actually exists at all. However, donít give up immediately; it might not be far away, so keep on looking.

When you visit an ancient stone have a good look around the stone or stones for signs of ritual activity. Items such as coins, candle wax, offerings, chalk marks and so on might indicate the site is still in use.

Some stones are well off the beaten track so make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you will be returning, just in case you are abducted by aliens or the little people, or perhaps simply get lost.

Some essential items of for stone hunting - mobile phone to call for assistance, map & compass to find your way, camera to record unusual signs, supplies to keep you going and a mind set open to all possibilities.

If you find a reference to an ancient stone but cannot find it on the ground and it appears to have been removed, it may have been dumped nearby. It might be worth checking likely locations such as field boundaries, old dumps, patches of woodland, etc.

If you meet someone during the travels, particularly landowners, it can often be worth stopping for a chat. They can sometimes have local knowledge that might be useful in your quest.

Place names can often suggest that an ancient stone may be found at that location. For example, Kings Chair, Brotherstone and Grey Mare are all typical examples where stones have been found. But donít bet on it!

When stone hunting, donít give up too soon. It is often the case that the stone in question is only a few metres away, perhaps hidden behind a bush, buried under a fallen tree or not quite as large as you expected.

When hunting for ancient stones, never rely on memory alone for details of a stones location. Always take your map, use it frequently and make use of any other information you have available.

When navigating, it is generally safe to trust your map, compass or GPS, they are rarely wrong. Errors are usually down to the user, not the equipment. If things seem wrong, double check your figures, bearings and other settings.

039 Five Stones, Hownam.

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