At Balephetrish, Tiree you’ll find evidence of the last Ice Age on Tiree. “Clach a ‘Choire” or the Ringing Stone is a rock which in known in geological terms as a “glacial erratic”. The rock was likely to have been deposited in its current location after the melting of the ice sheets and it looks like it shouldnt be there compared to the rocks beside or below it. The rock is legendary on Tiree and is thought to have arrived from similar rocks on nearby Rhum around 11,000 years ago. It simply looks “out of place”.
Probably because of it’s difference, legend and lore has followed it and it’s quite a landmark for tourists to Tiree.
The Ringing Stone is fascinating not only as it truly is Tiree’s most ancient monument, but also because of the stone age cup and ring marks bashed and formed into it’s surface. When the stone is hit by a pebble or rock, it gives off a metallic “ringing” noise, hence it’s name. This must have been awe inspiring to ancient residents on Tiree, although our understanding of it in modern times is due to the type of rock and it’s density. We don’t really know what the marks were for or represent, but some of them ar big enough for smaller pebbles to sit in. It probably had some sort of religious connection. The cup marks are clearly visible in the pictures in this post, but the ring marks chipped into the stone are much harder to see unless you’re there. It’s also possible the stone used to be upright too.
Although Tiree is a small island, at times it can simply appear to be much bigger! Getting to the ringing stone is one of those times as it’s slightly off the beaten track and a good stroll to say the least. Located at the North of the island between Balephetrish and Vaul, i’ve often spoken to many people who have simply not found it or missed it completely. There are plenty of written guides on the island how to get there and it’s well worth a visit on a nice day.