The Drumtroddan Cup and Ring Markings are found close to a farm two miles north east of Port William. The signposts lead you along a farm track from the B7085 into the farmyard, where another signs shows the parking area. From here you walk through the farm and into a field, which you cross for some 200 yards to two enclosures surrounded by railings.
The left hand enclosure, as seen from your direction of approach, is largely grassed over, but is home to four outcropping rocks. The presence of the enclosure suggests these much be relevant, but even with the eye of faith it is difficult to see anything special about the rocks, and the absence of an information board suggests they may indeed simply be four rocks. The right hand enclosure is far more immediately promising, not least because of the presence of a Historic Environment Scotland information board, and before you have passed through the gate, it is already obvious that the much larger rocky outcrops are home to a range of carved markings.
What you are able to see depends very much on the light conditions at the time of your visit and how long and hard you look. The most obvious carvings are two complete ring markings, each comprising a series of concentric circles carved on the upper face of an outcropping rock. Not far away is another rock carrying a series of small egg sized depressions: these are known as cup marks and they often accompany ring markings.
No-one knows what cup and ring markings were intended to signify, though the repetition of these patterns across Scotland (and beyond as far afield as Ireland, Brittany, Spain as well as the in rest of Britain) suggests that they had some specific meaning. Estimates for the dates of carving range from 10,000BC and 3,500BC and nothing is known of the people who carved the markings, except for the obvious fact that they had the motivation to spend a considerable amount of time and effort carving them. It is also not known whether there was any link between the cup and ring marks here and the Dumtroddan Standing Stones, 400 yards to the south east.
Intending visitors to the markings should bear one thing in mind. When we visited in April 2010 the surrounding field was home to a herd of some 30 young cattle, though they were not visible until after we had reached the main enclosure around the stones. They then spent their time running from one side of the field to another as a herd, for some time preventing us leaving the enclosure. This was a frightening and deeply unpleasant experience. In our view when cattle like these are in residence this ancient monument should be considered effectively closed to anyone not happy to face down a herd of charging cattle or unable to run for their lives across two hundred yards of rough pasture.