Going Back To My Grass Roots…..Townhead

June 3, 2012

Evening Folks,

I made a decision this year to try and get back to taking rock art pics to compliment my landscape photography, to try and combine the best of both worlds. I am hoping what i have learnt from doing landscape photography will help me shoot some impressive looking rock carving shots.

My first trip out had to be back to Townhead, the place i call my rock art home. It is near Kirkcudbright my favourit part of Galloway. The one main field at Townhead has probably the most varied number and styles of carvings anywhere in the UK. I cannot think of another small area or single field that had so many carvings that are so different and unique to each other.

The one main panel that has always been exposed was to be my target for today. After leaving home just before 3am to catch a sunrise photographing the wickerman in his union jack boxer shorts…(look on flickr or facebook), i then turned my attention to Townhead. Some may think i am strange, but walking through a special field full of rock art at 6am is pretty special, the only company being a deer, a few sheep, some rabbits and the cold wind blowing.


Once i had finished taking my shots, i took a walk around the rest of the field taking me back to those years when Suzanne and I would spend weekend after weekend lifting turf, photographing, and documenting those precious carvings and realising how much work and effort we put in. As i walked around the field i knew where all the panels were, but realised if i wanted to go to the exact position of a few of the carvings even i would be pushed locating them straight away. We did a good job at covering them up, hopefully that should protect them for the next generation, i am not sure i will be lifting turf again at Townhead, those carvings are best left under the turf for safety.



Cairnholy New Find

February 1, 2009

Hi Folks,

Just thought i would let you know about the new find at Cairnholy, which i finally got to see yesterday. Just before christmas i was lucky enough to sell prints of some of my Cairnholy images. I met the couple, a really nice couple and found out why they were buying the images and where the lived, they had bought the old barn steading at Cairnholy and were rebuilding it for their home. They were buying the images for presents for their family over Newcastle way. As i was talking to them, they mentioned finding a carved stone whilst rebuilding one of the walls, this grabbed my attention. I asked if i could pop along and see the stone at some point when the weather was better. So yesterday was that day, and i was not disappointed, a new find for Cairnholy, which i have named panel 11. I did have the feeling that the stone was a burial stone, either a cist cover or perhaps an internal stone, similar to the one found inside Cairnholy 1.These are just a couple of images from the day.

Cairnholy New Find

Cairnholy New Find

close up views..



I will be sending a report to D&E to cover this excellent new find.

Many thanks to Julie & Barry McDonald.

Cambret Moor – old drill holes

November 30, 2008

Hi Folks,

Just looking for some thoughts on this panel which was classified as Cambret Moor 2, it was claimed to have 12 or 13 cups, when Morris visited the site back in the day, he immediately classified them as drill holes, which they are. My question is are the fairly recent drill holes, or something a wee bit older?

any thoughts?

cambret-2-brac-1 cambret moor 2

cambret-2-brac-3 cambret moor 2



Cairnholy – Galloway

November 20, 2008

I visited Cairn Holy on Sunday, met a guy who showed me a cup and ring carving on one of the stones at Cairn Holy I. Very difficult to see, but almost obvious once I was shown where it was. It was so erroded that there was no way I would be able to take a photo, it needs low level torch light to bring it out.

We also noticed a pattern of “carvings” or striations on the right hand portal stone, these marks spiral around the circumfrence of the stone:


Has anyone else noticed these carvings? Do you think the carvings on the portal stone are deliberate, intentional, and man-made?



edited 22-11-2008


Hi Folks,

I visited Cairnholy today and took some images of the marks Nicola mentions..take a look, interesting.



Marks at Cairnholy 1

Marks at Cairnholy 1

Culnoag; about crack guys!

February 5, 2008

Hi Folks,



Had a really good day at Culnoag on saturday, one site i have tried to visit on a number of times before but have always had to worry or deal with cows or bulls in the field. This time no such problems, although the weather wasn’t ideal, i managed to get some good images, especially using the side flash, which worked well, picking up details in the very faint carvings. The main panel itself has a number of cracks and fissures, which seem to used within the design of the motifs but also some of the carvings cut into the cracks..


Let me know your thoughts on this one folks..

I also like the main motif which is the deepest of the remaining carvings, and especially the way a cup has been used to cut through one of the outer rings, nice.


Townhead….the special carvings.

April 9, 2007

Hi Folks,

We were back at Townhead again yesterday looking for one really special carving that is found at the site, but ended up finding two really special carvings. The first one we found is known as panel 3g, or the panel containing the ‘Triskele’, a motif that is not found at any other rock art site in Britain, this alone makes it such a special carving, the quality of the carving, every peck mark still showing, the way you can see how the carver has made the carving, making the ring, making a central cup and then working out from the cup to make the 3 grooves to form the triskele or as some call it the steering wheel. This carving was first found by Kaledon Naddair and his team in 1989, along with most of the unrecorded panels at Townhead, some of the other carvings were found in the same year by Maarten van Hoek. The second really nice carving is known as 3d, this one in more the classic style of carvings, a similar style of motif can be seen at various rock art sites within Britain, but not perhaps as fresh as this one.

Take a look at the pictures, and enjoy….

panel 3g

panel 3g1 panel 3g 2 panel 3g 3

panel 3d

panel 3d 1 panel 3d 2 panel 3d 3

These and more of the carvings at Townhead can be seen on BRAC & TMA. Please remember this site is on private land, the carvings are all covered apart from Townhead 1, which is open for the public to visit, but special permission was given by the farm owner Mr McCall to visit and record the covered panels. Again enjoy the photographs,and those of you we will see on June 10th have something to look forward to…

Brian & Suzanne


April 1, 2007

Hi Folks,

I have meant to visit the area above the burial chambers for along time now, to be honest it has been on my list for about a year now. The weather was excellent yesterday so i decided to make it an early start. Got to Cairnholy at about 10.30am, and was soon walking up the path and past the B&B. The first panel numbered 9 is found under a tree in the second field up from the B&B and is really easy to find. The majority of the carvings in the area are found in the next field up, and indeed this field contains the large panel numbered 4, it also contains panels 5 & 8, with 5 being extremely faint until wet and in good light, worth seeing though. Onto the next field up and it contains 6, another nice panel found within a drainage ditch, containing some well pecked and perhaps unfinished carvings. Panel 7 is also located near to 6, but today was unable to find it, perhaps the grid refs being wrong, as there is actually 3 possible grid refs given by different people, all were seached but nothing found.There is also another panel further along from 6 which i called 10, this is one that was discovered by McDavid & Morris in 1981, again i was unable to locate that one..

some of the photos can be seen below, the full story can be seen on BRAC & TMA..


Panel 4  panel 4    panel 4

panel 5  panel 5   panel 5

 panel 6  panel 6  panel 6

 panel 8    panel 8

 panel 9   panel 9

I hope you enjoy the photos of my day out, next time i hope to go back and find the other panels i could not locate, panel 7 and the one i called 10.

There is an interesting story behind panel 3, which i will let Jan add to the Cairnholy site..