MHG52913 - The Fairy Stone - Bottacks


A cup marked stone with as many as 250 cups covering its upper surface.

Type and Period (1)

  • CUP AND RING MARKED STONE (Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC? to 551 BC?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Situated at NH 4876 6042 beside an old hill road is a large boulder 4m x 2m x 0.7m with its upper surface, sloping SW side and E edge covered by at least 145 cup marks. Some are sharply defined, the majority quite weathered. A number of cups may have formed 'dumb-bells' but they are too obscure for definite identification. Mr Stewart (Info from Mr Stewart, Duran, Bottacks) knows the stone as 'The Fairy Stone'; the name Clach Pollach or Thollach is not known locally, and no other cup-marked stone can be located in area.
Surveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (J B) 16 November 1976

This stone was formerly described under MHG7775. <1>

The Fairy Stone at Bottacks has as many as 250 cups on it. Of particular interest in the decorative scheme is a pennanular ring groove connecting a number of cups together.<2><3>

The stone was visited and photographed by D Scott in 2002. <4>

This panel was recorded as part of the ScRAP (Scotland’s Rock Art project) by members of NoSAS in July 2019. The panel is located about halfway up the south facing slope on the north side of the Peffery Burn, at the east end of the narrow pass through to the west, today followed by the railway. To the southeast the valley is open and flat-bottomed and leads down to the sea at Dingwall. Knock Farril, a prominent vitrified fort, is visible across the valley to the southsoutheast. It is in a field, by a rough track, about 150m beyond the end of the tarred road, and just before a narrow path leaves the track to the right. At that point it is visible through the bushes to the right.

This large panel, of schist, is about 4.6m x 2.7m, tapering to a point at the N end. The north part is horizontal, the south part dips at about 45deg to the south. The south part is largely covered in a thick white lichen which disguises some of the motifs, and there is a pronounced horizontal fissure across it. It has a single cup and ring motif to the west, and 13 grooves which run down the face. One of the grooves links with the ring, and one appears to 'start' from a cup on the north (horizontal) face. There are 50 other simple cups visible on this face. The edge of the rock to the south and southwest is not visible, under thick turf and tree roots, and it appears likely that there are other cups not yet revealed. The north part is largely horizontal, with a broken edge about 1m high to the northeast, and sloping gently under the turf to the northwest. Motifs are concentrated on the horizontal parts, there are none on the part which slopes to the northwest, but there are 2 probable cups on the vertical NE edge. The main horizontal area has numerous cups of all sizes. One cup is much larger than the others (deep and about 10cm across), and there is a rounded square feature about 12cm x 12cm which appears to have cups in at least 2 corners. 6 cups are elongated, and there are two distinct parallel grooves. The total number of simple cups on the north part is about 111 ignoring many fainter and smaller 'possibles'. There are also 2 sets of conjoined cups and a dumbbell on this surface, and 4 cups located at the corners of a lozenge-shaped depression. <5>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NH 4876 6042 (10m by 10m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH46SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish FODDERTY

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (2)

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