A pair of Clyde-type chambered cairns situated on a hillside above Wigtown Bay at Kirkdale Glen, near Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries and Galloway. Cairnholy may be derived from “Cairn Ulaidh”’ meaning “Treasure Cairn”. The smaller of the two cairns is also called “The Tomb of Galdus”, which is highly unlikely as the cairn was ancient even in Galdus’ day.

“Cairn Ulaidh”, the treasure cairn,
and further up, “The Tomb of Galdus”,
lie bared above Wigtown Bay.
The earth of the mounds
has gone the way of flesh,
has seeped into the hill,
leaving only stone skeletons
and corrupted names.

There are those
who dig deep in such places.
Here they found a jade axe,
the tip of an arrow,
cup and ring marks,
and beneath the threshold,
the impressions of hearths,
signs of ritual fire.

It is that old mystery,
life and death,
time turning, renewal.
Cairnholy just confirms
that there are no new questions.
Here we ask ourselves,
and with the mortar of wonder,
build our own monuments.

Derek Ross.

By photos,poetry and haiku by Derek Ross

I am a photographer/ poet from Dumfries in South West Scotland. I concentrate on minimalist images and prefer using an iPhone these days. As far as my writing is concerned, I usually write short poems (some in Scots dialect), hence my interest in haiku and related forms.


  1. Galdus is also supposed to be buried at Torhouse stone circle! I like the line, and the sentiment, ‘that there are no new questions.’
    I’m very jealous of your photos. Any I’ve taken there are rubbish in comparison.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We are so good at underestimating what our ancestors got up to… Prehistoric trade links were widespread and yet we are still being brought up with the eroneous belief that they were primitive ‘cave men’…


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