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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - April/May 2003
Adventures with Dick and Chris Lucas

I usually write about weapons for "The Family Tree" but those who know me also know I have written several articles about the adventures Chris and I have in our travels so I thought I would do one for this fine publication and start with Kilmartin Glen.

We are both over 60 and like to tell about what we are able to do as senior citizens with our seniorís citizen aches and pains. First we usually travel in the winter, it is less expensive and the places we go are not crowded and we rent a car so we can travel the single track roads where the big tour buses cannot go and our pictures are of the scenery, not pictures of a bunch of other people taking pictures. We can also stop when we want to and stay as long as want to.

Kilmartin Glen is a few miles south of Oban and is the heart of Dalriada, where the Scots first landed and started a kingdom. The area is best known for its pre-history sites with the earliest known site dated about 5,000 BC and the place to start a visit is the small village of Kilmartin and the museum next door to the Kilmartin Church. In a 6-mile radius from the church there are over 350 known sites, which you can visit. Chris and I only spent 1 day in the glen but a week would have been better.

The church still holds service about once a month by a roving minister but it is always open and contains one of the largest collections of early Christian grave slabs and crosses as well as grave coverings from the days of the Vikings and Templars.

About Ĺ mile south of the village is a car park where you can take a 1-mile walk and see as well as go into a large unusual standing stone site. Next are two stone circles in Temple woods, which are either burial sites or ceremonial sites. This puts you on the old road which was probably used 5,000 years ago as it passes by 5 large cairns which were probably used as burial sites, two of which you can enter. Anytime I am walking very far a do use a cane and by being careful I was able to climb on and into these cairns.

It was on this old road we met the sweet 80 plus lady that walks about 1 mile from her home to the village to get her Sunday paper. Visiting with Scots like her is an added bonus to any of our trips.

We completed our circuit back to the car passing a couple of more sites. If we had followed the old road further we would have passed several more cairns, standing stones and Carnasseme Castle but my knee said it wanted to rest.

We drove a short distance further south to Dunadd which is believed to be the fortress site of Picts and a later Iron Age fort. It was here that legend says the first kings of Scotland were crowned using the Stone of Destiny. On top are the carving of the footprint, the Pictish boar and a large bowl believed to have been part of the crowning ceremonies. The fort is a pile of rocks left by a glacier in the middle of a marsh where you can see for miles in all directions from the top. By using my cane and taking is easy I had no problem reaching the top. The sun was shining and Chris and I were the only ones there and what a magnificent uncluttered view.

Next we wanted to see some cup and ring carvings and the biggest and best were at a place called Achnabreck a few miles further south. A short distance up a gravel road is a small car park, which buses canít traverse (about 6 cars size). From the car park there is a paved pathway which is about 500 meters up hill to the cup and ring site. It is steep at times but again by not getting in a hurry I had no problem getting to the site. The three rocks at the site are covered with hundreds of the cup and circles carvings. What are the cup and circle carving? No one knows. We met at least 6 people out for exercise with their dogs and/or children. One of the walkers suggested we go on past the carvings to the top of the hill and what we found was a bonus for the day. There was a park bench where the view held us for a log time. Mountains on the right across the glen had the clouds working their way down the valleys and corries. To the left of the mountains was a sea loch with a small village at the base of the loch and to the left of the village was more mountains. Highlighting all of this was the sun occasionally peeking through the clouds as it settled down behind the mountains.

Chris and both agree that this was one of the best days of our many trips to Scotland and the isles but the day was not over as we had another adventure trying to find Scotlandís oldest castle but that is another story.

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