MHG3413 - Balblair Stone with cupmarks - Moniack Castle


Balblair pictish stone with cupmarks at Moniack Castle.

Type and Period (2)

  • INSCRIBED STONE (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)
  • CUP MARKED STONE (Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC? to 551 BC?)

Protected Status

Full Description

NH54SE 9 5518 4357.

In the rockery at Moniack Castle is a stone, about 4 1/2 ft. in height, bearing the outlined figure of a man with a stick or other instrument in his hand, and fourteen cup-marks, one of which has been mistaken for the eye of the figure. The stone stands at the end of the rockery farthest from the entrance gate. 'This stone was brought from a spot where it stood for a time, close to the old parish school of Kilmorack, near Kilmorack Free Church. It was however, removed to this place between fifty and sixty years ago, from a spot 100 yard further west, when the ground was then reclaimed. There is nothing known of the stone, traditional or otherwise, beyond this (These sitings place the original location in the vicinity of Balblair. (NH 50 45))
W Jolly 1882.

This stone, at NH 55184357, is basically as described by Jolly, it is 1.3 metres high, 0.8 metres wide and 0.3 metres thick. Apart from the figure of a man, only three cup marks are now visible.
Surveyed at 1/2500.
Visited by OS (R D) 21 December 1964

Class I symbol stone.
A Mack, 1997

Scheduled as 'Balbalir Stone, symbol stone, Moniak [Moniack] Castle Wineries... an earthfast, upright carved stone bearing abstract and figurative carving which is prehistoric and early medieval in date'.
The stone is 1.3m high, 0.8m wide and 0.3m thick, and displays the Pictish carving of a man apparently walking from left to right holding a staff or sword, as well as prehistoric cupmarks. It is situated within a modern garden rockery immediately SW of Moniak [Moniack] Castle.
Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 9 March 2007.

This panel was recorded as part of the ScRAP (Scotland’s Rock Art project) by members of NoSAS in February 2020. The panel stands in the W end of the rockery immediately outside the entrance to Moniack Castle, where it has been moved from its original location. Canmore has two records for this panel: the other one, which has been recorded as a duplicate is BALBLAIR (Canmore ID 269922, SCRAP ID 2676).

The panel is a smoothly rounded boulder of schist measuring, above ground, 1.2m high x 0.8m broad x 0.3m thick, standing upright. It was not cleaned other than to remove some leaves from around the base, although it is covered in moss and lichen. The lower part of the carving of a man was faintly visible. Near the base of the stone there is one possible cupmark. There was no other evidence of cupmarks in the moss and lichen covered area, and if there are likely to be very faint. There may be further cupmarks below the current ground surface. <1>

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred NH 5517 4358 (6m by 6m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH54SE
Civil Parish KIRKHILL
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (3)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.