Carn na Marbh

Ordnance Survey Map Reference NN741469

Looking south toward the barrow, with the stone atop

West across the barrow


This site lies in the field directly across from the Fortingall Hotel. The best place to park is by the kirkyard. Carn na Marbh, or the Mound of the Dead, was used in 14th century for burying victims of the plague away from the church graveyard. But it may actually be a re-used barrow, as legend has it that it was the focal point of the Samhain festival. A great fire was lit on top of it each year, and the locals would dance around the mound. The Samhain celebrations here apparently came to an end in 1924, because the local gamekeeper was unhappy with people collecting wood from the surrounding hills for the fire! (info courtesy of Andy Sweet).

Clach a' Phlaigh, or the Plague Stone, stands on top of Carn na Marbh, and is said to commemorate the plague victims who were buried here in the 14th century. A tablet on the stone is inscribed with the words: "Here lie the victims of the Great Plague of the 14th Century, taken here on a sledge drawn by a white horse led by an old woman". However, just as there is a belief that the mound is a barrow which was re-used, Clach a'Phlaigh may well be a genuine standing stone. If this is the case, there is another similar site nearby - the Bridge of Lyon cairn - which is also made up of a mound topped with a standing stone.

Date visited 9th November 2003

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