Achnabreck Rock Art, Argyll

Kilmartin Glen, with it’s dense concentration of burial cairns, standing stones and stone circles is one of the richest prehistoric landscapes in Scotland.
It also has the largest concentration of late Neolithic and Bronze Age rock carvings in Scotland and the most impressive of these are the ones at Achnabreck.

They are situated in forestry, on a hillside between Kilmartin Glen and Lochgilphead and a forest road brings you out at a parking and picnic area from where you take the signposted path up the hill to the rock carvings. All of the ancient monuments in Kilmartin Glen have excellent interpretation and access and there’s an information board  at the parking area as well as interpretation panels beside the carvings.

The rock art is on two areas of smooth sloping rock which are quite near to each other. Both rock faces are literally covered in cup and ring motifs, spirals and grooves and are remarkable not only for being one of the biggest concentrations of rock art in Britain but also for the number of rings around the cups (up to 9) and for having one of the largest cup-and-ring marks ever recorded, at nearly a metre wide.

Sunshine after a shower showed up the carvings well

There’s a great diversity of motifs, from individual cup marks to cups with concentric rings and spirals. Most of these have grooves, or ducts, running from the centre in a downhill direction. An interesting feature here is that  many of the cup and ring motifs are linked together by grooves.

The rock panels are both on south facing slopes and there’s a good view down to the sea at Lochgilphead.

Looking south to Lochgilphead with the sun shining on the Crinan Canal

The only other place in Scotland where I’ve seen such a profusion of rock art in one place is at the Ballochmyle rock carvings in Ayrshire.

This visit was in January and unfortunately we missed out on visiting Kilmartin Museum and cafe which were closed during January and February.
The previous day we had followed the path from the museum which takes you along the valley, past all the cairns, stone circles and standing stones. It was an overcast winter’s day with some heavy showers which we narrowly missed. The light was too poor for taking photos but there’s so much to see in Kilmartin Glen that I’ll have to do another post in the future. For now, these are some of the photos I took that day.