|Straloch - a description of the standing stone at Straloch, near Enochdhu in Perthshire and its astronomical significance.|
Standing stone NO038637*
How to find: About 2km north of the village of Enochdhu on the A924 Blairgowrie - Pitlochry route the standing stone will be found in a field to the left, just opposite the entrance gate to Straloch House. The stone is down by the river, and not clearly visible from the road itself.
Best time to visit: Lunar major standstill; ? lunar minor standstill.
This is a single stone over two metres tall, standing in a field above the river Ardle. The stone has striking striations on its south-eastern face, which is possibly why it was selected for use. It is just under a metre wide and only 40cm thick, and leans to the north-west. Like many standing stones, it has had long use as a scratching post for cattle.
The survey was done using a ranging pole to assess the horizon points indicated by the stone when it stood vertically.
To the north-east, a distant hill horizon is just visible beyond the higher part of the field. The azimuth of 42.25° and the altitude of 5.1° gives a declination of +28.4°. This line is the rising position of the winter full moon at its most northerly point, during the major standstill.
To the south-west, the horizon in view is formed by the summit and northern slopes of Blath Bhalg, about 2.5km away. The stone's bearing in this direction of 222.25° with a horizon height on the hill of 6.0° gives a declination value of -18.6°, close to the setting position of the winter moon at the minor standstill. The dip in the hill just to the left of the summit is the only feature on an otherwise smooth horizon, and this dip produces a declination value of -20.3°, a closer match with the minor standstill moon. Looking for suitable horizon notches has generally been avoided in this Web guidebook however!
At any rate it is unlikely that both lines, to the south-west and to the north east were to be deliberately indicated by this single stone. Which of the lines is the preferred one can only be left open.