One of the readers of my book, Stars Stones and Scholars has drawn my attention to Standing Stone NX639792 at Dalarran Holm, of which I was previously not aware.
I have some new discoveries as a result, though let me say that this is VERY speculative and may be quite a stretch. But is quite interesting, nevertheless.
This location of the megalith NX639792 at Dalarran Holm is very close to the White Cairn at Corriedow (probably better called Corriedoo for GPS map purposes), which according to my book Stars Stones and Scholars marked t-Eridani in the ancient survey of Scotland. See also http://www.stonesofwonder.com/dalarran.htm
If the rest of my identifications are accurate, then this megalith at Dalarran Holm must mark the star gamma-Eridani (Zaurak) in the system that I have published.
In 3117 BC (i.e. -3116 by astronomy), Zaurak is exactly on the celestial meridian, i.e. on the line running from the North Pole through the Vernal Equinox to the South Pole, about 30 degrees angular separation from Aldebaran, which I presume was the star which the ancients took to mark the Vernal Equinox in that era.
Pursuant to my system in Stars Stones and Scholars, Aldebaran is marked in Scotland by the cairn at Stockie Muir. We now can also add a bit of color to this location because Stockie Muir is close to a singularly unique location called the Whangie (meaning "slice" [of the Earth?]). Here is where we get onto rather speculative footing....
The Whangie is described shortly at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lidwit/497624327/ as "A strange geological feature that is about 50 ft deep and 300 ft long and was probably caused by glacial movement way back in the dim and distant past. The more colourful explanation however is the local myth suggesting that it was a crack caused by the devil whipping his tail during a meeting with witches and warlocks. Either way it's an interesting walk and popular with climbers although they were hiding on our visit."
Presuming that the ancients did not carve the Whangie out of solid rock to mark the celestial meridian in ca. 3117 BC (we do not know if this could have been done, given the puzzling geological explanation currently in vogue), they may nevertheless have regarded the Whangie - if it is in fact a natural geological formation - as part of their megalithic survey system. Or they may have used a natural formation and "customized" it. Here is a longer description of the Whangie well worth quoting from ElectricScotland.com at Rambles Round Glasgow New Kilpatrick and the Whangie:
"Descending the farther side of the hill, we soon descry the gray storm-beaten rocks of the Whangie. On approaching the spot the first thing that strikes the visitor is an immense confused heap of jagged trap, piled against the hillside, and threatening in various places to topple over, while countless fragments of every size and shape are strewn about in the wildest irregularity, as if a congregation of demons had been, in some past epoch, engaged here in a diabolical stone-battle. On closer inspection, however, it is seen that a vast section of the hill has been by some means or other wrenched asunder, leaving a lengthened and deep chasm yawning along the line of separation, and that the shattered appearance of the external surface has been produced by the violence of the convulsion which caused the original disunion. Entering the narrow ravine, we proceed as it were into the bowels of the firm-fixed earth. The passage is tortuous and uneven, the projections of one side corresponding with singular exactness to the hollows on the other. In width the Whangie, as this terrible fissure is called, varies from 2½ to 10 feet; its medium depth being about 40 feet, while its length is 346 feet. The external wall, if we may use the term, is fearfully fractured in several places, and on peeping through the crevices and beholding the apparently tottering masses overhanging the steep below, the spectator involuntarily shrinks back as if his touch would send them thundering down. Save a stunted rowan-tree or two, projecting from the rifted summit of the chasm, the Whangie is utterly devoid of sylvan adornment."
It is particularly the length of the Whangie, 346 feet, which captured our attention. Could a part of the Whangie be a man-made "slice" of the Earth? 346 feet is also the length of the outer circumference edge of the ring of Sarsen stones at Stonehenge.
Martin Doutré argues at http://www.celticnz.co.nz/US10.html that :
"The outer ring was based upon two PHI reductions of the Aubrey Circle and was coded to a circumference of 345.6 feet (172.8 X 2). This was 1/378000th of the size of the Earth under the sexagesimal system, which broke the circle of the Earth into degrees, minutes and seconds of arc."
I disagree with Doutré that this length was intended to represent 1/378000th of the circumference of the Earth. Rather, I think the ancients thought it represented 1/360000th of that circumference, which would be a circumference of 124560000 modernly measured feet or 4152000 yards or 23590 miles (ca. 38000 km), which compares well to the modern calculations of the Earth's circumference at the Equator of 24901.55 miles (40075.16 km) as well as the Earth's circumference between the North and South Poles of 24859.82 miles (40008 km).
In terms of ancient measures, I also think it likely that these 346 feet as measured by today's foot would have been 400 feet in ancient days, giving this ancient foot a value of .865 in terms of our modern foot. The ancient 400 feet as 1/360000th of Earth's circumference would have meant that the ancients calculated that circumference as 144000000 of their feet which would make one degree of the Earth equal to 400000 of their feet, which derives from dividing the circumference of the Earth of 144000000 feet by 360 = 400000 ancient feet which equals about 346000 modern feet.
That is pretty close to the Law of King Athelstan of England (see http://www.lawpundit.com/blog/2004/08/law-of-king-athelstan-of-england.htm) which has elsewhere been calculated at 365000 feet for one degree of Earth measure.
346000 feet is about 65 miles.
So how far is Standing Stone NX639792 at Dalarran Holm from Stockie Muir? It is about 65 miles. See http://www.export911.com/convert/distaCaIc.htm
For these coordinates, see
Stockie Muir (alternate name: Aucheneck)
Nearest Town: Milngavie (10km ESE)
OS Ref (GB): NS479812 / Sheet: 64
Latitude: 55° 59' 58.2" N
Longitude: 4° 26' 21.26" W
For these coordinates, see
Nearest Town: New Galloway (2km SW)
OS Ref (GB): NX639792 / Sheet: 77
Latitude: 55° 5' 18.09" N
Longitude: 4° 7' 57.62" W
If the ancients were measuring the size of the earth along the celestial meridian in ca. 3117 BC, using, inter alia, Stockie Muir (represented by the star Aldebaran) and Standing Stone NX639792 at Dalarran Holm (represented the star gamma-Eridani (Zaurak)), then the distance between them may have been measured by the ancients as one degree of Earth latitude.
Accordingly, Standing Stone NX639792 at Dalarran Holm could very well be viewed to be an important stone in the ancient astronomical survey by astronomy.
As written in Glasgow's Evening Citizen 100 years ago by Hugh MacDonald:
"The Whangie is a vast section of the hill that has by some means been wrenched asunder, leaving a lengthened and deepened chasm yawning along the lines of separation." It must have caught the public's attention, for The Whangie became one of the most popular walks in the Glasgow area, overlooking the Stockiemuir towards Loch Lomond and the hills of the Trossachs."
The Whangie runs virtually East-West. See Edenmill Farm and its walks.
Geologically, The Whangie and Auchineden Hill have been explained as follows:
"The Whangie is a strange geological phenomenon, being the result of "glacial plucking" caused by extreme temperatures which froze the slabs of rock to the glacier. As the glacier moved, it "plucked" the hillside, causing a split, leaving the rock walls rising sheer on either side of the gap."
We might note that a speculative analysis of the name of Stockie Muir near the Whangie might support our speculative interpretation, as Stockie is similar to German Stock meaning "stick" and Gaelic stoc meaning "pillar" while Muir is similar to Greek Î¼Î¿Î¯ÏÎ± el(el) f meaning "degree", i.e. in this case "one measuring stick as a degree", though we must recall that muir in Gaelic generally means "sea" but can also mean "spear", whereas the modern interpretation of place names has muir meaning "moor" or "hill", both of which fit this wet, boggy location.
There is nevertheless an unmistakeable connection between Stockie Muir and The Whangie. As noted at The Modern Antiquarian, the rocks that form the Stockie Muir Chambered Cairn "undoubtably came from the Whangie".
That Whangie means "thick slice" in Scottish dialect shows that the term is perhaps related to Indo-European terms for "furrow" such as Latvian vaga (*vanga) or the Finno-Ugric Finnish vako or Estonian vagu.
One argument for suggesting some human intervention in creating this stone corridor is the flatness of the path through the rock, as if made for being walked through, and that there is not a one-to-one correspondence of the sides of the Whangie on each side, denying the theory that they walls were split naturally in all cases. Again, man may have helped here or there to make this split the length it is. See, for example, the photos at ScottishSport.co.uk. In addition, there appear to be anthropomorphic figures carved in the sides of part of the Whangie. For more photographs of the Whangie, see the Air na Creagan Mountaineering Club, biotron at Flickr, British Blogs, and Allan Gilliland.
A video walk through the Whangie is found at this YouTube Video but the piercing music attached to the video may not be to your taste, in which case you may want to turn down the sound in the event that you view the video.
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