Donald Macleod: Stone me! Going round in circles is great way to spend a family holiday

H8MFPC Croft Moraig stone circle, near Aberfeldy, Perthshire.
H8MFPC Croft Moraig stone circle, near Aberfeldy, Perthshire.

SOAKED to the skin, marching around a stone circle attempting to become “one with nature” was the last thing I expected to be doing when the MacLeods went on holiday last week.

But it was brilliant!

Don’t worry, I haven’t become a hairy hippy.

Donald the Druid may have a certain lord of the rings to it, but the power and wonder of nature hasn’t brainwashed me quite yet.

But if you want to try something new, dowsing is where it’s at . . . man!

And Croft Moraig Stone Circle, west of Aberfeldy is the perfect place to start.

How I laughed when my pal Mike Robson suggested we try dowsing.

No way! You expect me to hold out two coat hangers and trudge through a bunch of broken boulders? What if someone sees me?

Well try it I did, and was left wide-eyed with amazement as the hangers, for no earthly reason, crossed and uncrossed as we walked in and out of this Bronze Age stone circle.

Just as strange and spooky as the dowsing was that we noticed that all the surrounding oak trees were leaning in towards the stones!

Are these and other stone circles a source of ancient, magical power?

Well no one knows. We can only surmise as to their origin and purpose.

But one thing’s for sure, as my dowsing experience clearly proved, our ancient ancestors understood more about the power of nature than we ever give them credit for. And it’s a great knowledge that has been forgotten.

If you care to look, you will notice Scotland, has hundreds of stone circles, standing stones, recumbent stones, cup stones, henges, Iron Age cairns, burial mounds and remains of their settlements.

So many of them in fact that it might be worth connecting them to the national grid!

I’m not suggesting everyone grabs a couple of hangers and goes dowsing.

What I do want you to do is – something!

I mean, get off your backsides and get out and about, especially if you have kids.

Don’t be content to bore yourself and your family with board games. Or thinking a short walk round the shops is enough fresh air.

It’s not! Get your walking boots on, or get on your bikes. Whatever you do, get out and about and plug in to the great outdoors.

It’s not just the circles and stones we have forgotten but also, as a family, how to enjoy our surroundings.

Great though many of them are, Scotland is not just dank castles, museums, souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and rain.

As well as castle, lochs and monsters, there are great cycling routes, adventure parks and sports sites, on water and on land and fantastic forest trails.

And there are many enchanting standing stones and eerie monoliths to visit, whose power we will never really comprehend – but we can have great fun trying.