update 20: Cochno Stone


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  • Debra - 17 July 2014 -

    Without a doubt this stone should be uncovered. I had only just heard of it when I started reading your blog. I thank you so much for bringing it to my attention so fully. It is the most amazing piece of carving I have ever seen. Valley of the kings is impressive in real life but it’s the mystery of the Cochno cup and ring marks that gets me. The possibility of uncovering it and making it a physical reality to be seen with my own eyes sends shivers down my spine. We have a deep connection to this land, as beings. Your film touches on so many truths. We have to uncover it to unleash the interest and the intrigue of the who were the people who carved it? Who used it? What was it used for? Why was in covered up? Why wasn’t it on show like roman walls and bathhouses just up the road? So many questions…

    • shan - 24 August 2015 -

      Exactly, why isn’t it on show like Roman baths etc, this is our heritage not Italians.

  • Grahame Gardner - 17 July 2014 -

    I confess to having mixed feelings about this. Yes, I would love to see it uncovered so that we can all have a look at it and it can be better documented and recorded with today’s laser scanning technology. But should it remain uncovered? That’s a different question.
    I’m mindful of how much erosion the carvings at Ballochmyle have suffered since they saw the light of day again and they’ve only been exposed for what, 50 years?
    I wouldn’t like to see it enclosed in a glass box (like Sueno’s Stone in Forres) or any type of enclosure, as that shuts the stone away from its environment and these cup-marks should always be seen in the context of the larger landscape.
    Perhaps the best we can hope for is that a replica cast is made and the real stone is re-buried under it, like the boar carving and footprint at Dunadd.
    It’s not an ideal solution, but it’s a reasonable compromise.

    • May Miles Thomas - 17 July 2014 -

      Thanks Grahame – and Debra – for your comments. I’ve got mixed feelings too. Of course it would be great to get the chance to see the Stone and it would be well worth uncovering it to see whether there’s any damage. My concern is that it could be disruptive for Mrs Marks and that the Stone – yet again – is co-opted by academics who might deny access to the general public. I feel the best option is to conduct a proper survey, unearth the Stone for a limited time for all to see then rebury it. Some things are better left alone and part of me likes the mystery of the Stone in its extant state.

  • Ranald Matheson - 19 July 2014 -

    Unearth it. It should of course be protected from idiots!

    • shan - 24 August 2015 -

      The English 🙂

  • Ranald Matheson - 19 July 2014 -

    Unearth it. But protect it properly.

    • May Miles Thomas - 19 July 2014 -

      Thanks for the comments, Ranald – as you’ll see from the comments below the matter of unearthing the Stone isn’t so straightforward as people might imagine. As a listed ancient monument on both public and private land it would require a fair amount of persuasion and careful oversight. Question is, who would be willing to pay for the work and how would the Stone be protected?

      Many thanks,

  • Cheryl - 27 July 2014 -

    Hi May, I have just finished the app and now can’t wait to see your film. Wonderful, and although I’ve not seen the film yet I agree with your comment that it stays with you – it really affects you. I bought Harry Bell’s book when I was a student c. 1988 and still have it. On the subject of the Cochno Stone, did you know there is a stone with cup and ring marks in Faifley which is visible? It’s in the so-called wild bit behind Faifley Road, in the grounds of the old Auchnacraig Estate (near one of the ubiquitous pylons!). The marks are quite worn. There is a better stone, though smaller, by the side of the footpath leading from Cochno Road to Craigton. It’s really beautiful. Sorry if you already knew about these!

    • May Miles Thomas - 27 July 2014 -

      Hi Cheryl – I’m so delighted you made it through the app – you’re also one of the rare people who has Harry’s book – I had to make do with a photocopy given to me by Dr Ronnie Scott, my guide at the Glasgow Necropolis. Re. the Cochno Stone, you may not be aware that I’ve campaigned to have it uncovered – you can read about my trials in this on my blogs here – if you check my archive, look at Making the Movie:6 and Trip 25 – and you’ll get the story. In the last couple of weeks there’s been articles in the Scotsman and Herald about it. I admit I’m not aware of any visible traces of other cup and ring stones in the vicinity. I looked high and low in Auchnacraig and in Law but on each occasion it was high summer. not the best season for the ground to reveal itself! Please, I’d be grateful if you emailed me privately about this. If you google May Miles Thomas Elemental you’ll get my everyday contact. My concern is there’s a Facebook group been formed to campaign for the Cochno Stone to be uncovered – to which I was added and made an admin without my consent – when I don’t want to be coerced into a groupthink approach to the issue – for me it’s a matter of negotiating with only those with any authority over the matter and getting to the best outcome for the Cochno Stone.

      Thanks for writing,
      Best wishes,

  • shan - 24 August 2015 -

    The stone should of never been covered up, where is the evidence that it was vandalised and why weren’t the people asked whether it should be covered up. More damage is being caused under the soil – by roots and by leaving our heritage and history hidden. Why reveal invader’s history and be taught that – Roman’s – and nothing of our Scottish history and heritage. Why are the powers that be uninterested in an amazing piece of heritage? Something smells fishy.

    • May Miles Thomas - 27 August 2015 -

      Hi Shan,

      Thanks for the comment. For almost 3 years I’ve pursued those powers that be about the Stone. I’ve sent you an email about this.

      Best wishes,

  • Sonia Wilson - 8 September 2015 -

    My Dad built our house on Cochno Road in1950 named it Ringstones only the second house on Craig’s Park. I played on The Cochno Stone & passed it everyday on my way to school crawled over every cup & ring every dimple & human mark, wondered what they were saying, put my very small foot in a much larger carved footprint coloured Green? No one has seen The Cochno Stone since 1964 a more amazing set of carvings than I have seen any where else in Scotland including Killmartin in Argyll. Shame on the powers that be, shame on The Scottish Government for not knowing that this wonderful treasure exists under a heap of sandstone rocks and destroying sapling roots.

    • May Miles Thomas - 10 September 2015 -

      Thanks Sonia,

      What a great comment.

      You might know that this week I was up at the site of the Stone with a team from Glasgow University Archeology department along with Ferdinand Saumarez Smith of Factum Arte and Richard Salmon, a world-class stone conservator and antiquities restorer. We had permission from Historic Scotland and West Dunbartonshire Council to do a test dig to see what condition the Stone is in. I was very moved by the number of local people who came along to watch what we were doing. Clearly the Stone is well-known and loved by people who like you, have memories of seeing it and playing on it as kids. I’ve been trying for years to get the Stone excavated, even if only temporarily. Ferdinand at Factum Arte has a proposal to make a full-size replica of the Stone. At time of writing, we’re considering ways of raising the funds to do this but we’re a long way off. My part in this would be to make a feature-length film about the history of the Stone and the process of excavation/replication. If any of this can go ahead, I’d like to include contributions from local people in my film. Nothing will happen for at least a year though but I’ll be writing in this blog with updates on our progress.

      All the best,

    • Jamie Kennedy - 26 January 2021 -

      Hi Sonia,
      I was a very good friend of Gregor we where pals all through our teens until we went out separate ways I got married and Gregor found his girlfriend Helen I know the family all moved to Australia and new he had sister in South Africa I was sad to hear your parents passed away just was wondering how Gregor is and his family

      • May Miles Thomas - 27 January 2021 -

        Hi Jamie,

        I’m happy for you to comment on this blog but please understand it’s no longer active since I’m working on new projects. I hope Sonia sees your message and replies – I could supply her email address to you but I would need her consent, so Sonia, if you see this message please get in touch through this blog and I’ll put you in touch with Jamie.


  • Elizabeth Maitland - 7 September 2016 -

    Used to play on the Cochno Stone as a child. We called it the Druids Stone. Visited it today while they were clearing some of it. Amazing to see the cups and rings again. It is great that it is being uncovered and photographed with new technology then covered up again and people can view the photos.

    • May Miles Thomas - 8 September 2016 -

      Thanks Elizabeth,

      Did we meet yesterday? I was at the site for a couple of hours yesterday. So glad it wasn’t today with all the rain! The long term plan for the Stone is to make a full-scale replica of it and situate it close to the site of the original. Of course, like everything else it’s subject to funding but it would be great for people to have the chance to see the carvings on the stone.

      All the best,

  • Ray - 20 May 2017 -

    I knew the stone from the late 50s visiting many times up until it was buried. My history teacher at Clydebank High School was Dr. MacPhail and a book of his had a photograph of the stone in it. What i remember most about it was the amount of graffiti carved into its surface in the form of initials and dates , some going back to the 1870s. In the 1960s there was a lot of broken beer bottles strewn about the rock face. I was not surprised when it was covered over to preserve it from the vandals. There were two other smaller exposures on the path over to Craigton and to my knowledge no attempt had been made to preserve them by altering the route of the path to protect them. Back then they were showing signs of wear and tear.

    • May Miles Thomas - 20 May 2017 -

      Thanks Ray,

      That’s a wonderful account of your experience with the Stone. I’m sure Dr. Kenny Brophy at Glasgow Uni Dept of Archeology would like to hear from you.

      Best wishes,

  • Bella Bainbridge - 1 February 2024 -

    I grew up in the area of the druid stones and played icervthem many a time with my brothers and friends.. If this is the same james Kennedy fir my youth he will remember myself and my two wee brothers george and jim … this is so surreal to read the comments on the stone and about the faifley people who were may I say not vandals… we were just kids playing on a magical site … anyway if it is of any interst we are on a mission to have the proposed area around the famous stones not to have a massive battery storage unit built on this ground … we need plenty of support to stop the contamination of our wildlife and countryside being used for a storage space for lithium batteries over 29 acres of our precious land and we have been petitioning against this happening … faifley has a beautiful area where our community and others use this for there mental health and relaxing place and we want to keep all the animals and trees not to be contaminated by poison gas or be a risk of being fire hazard with no legislation or liability if it explodes and poisons being spread through the site and all the surrounding areas…
    we would be very happy if you and your colleagues could give us backup with this horrendous place being used for such a nasty purpose as a Battery storage unit sight… thank you … mrs Bainbridge

    • May Miles Thomas - 2 February 2024 -

      Thanks for your comment, Bella – I’m sorry to hear about the proposal for the battery storage unit – I had no idea that it was even suggested as a viable project and I agree that it’s wrong to build such a facility. I’m surprised too that such a construction could get permission in the area of where the Cochno Stone is buried. It makes no sense. I agree with you that wildlife needs to be preserved. Have you contacted WD council about this?

      I suggest you contact Dr Kenny Brophy at the Department of Archeology at Glasgow University – his email is Kenny.Brophy@glasgow.ac.uk – he led the temporary excavation of the Cochno Stone and held several community events about it.

      If it’s helpful I can post about your campaign on Twitter/X – on both my own account – @MayMilesThomas or at @deilsplantin – I can also contact those who took part in the excavation to spread the word. You should also consider contacting the local press – if you haven’t already – such as https://www.clydebankpost.co.uk – also Radio Clyde, BBC Scotland, STV.

      You may wish to contact https://www.historicenvironment.scot/ – they are responsible for historic sites in Scotland. They are aware of the Cochno excavation.

      Let me spread the word and hopefullu we can stop this unit being built.

      All the best, May