To get to the Nether Largie Standing Stones you park in the large car park located on the east side of the B8025 a short distance south of its junction with the A816. On the opposite side of the road a wooden path leads across the boggy margins of a field and up to the very slight ridge housing the stones themselves.
In essence what you find at Nether Largie are five large standing stones (up to 2.85m in height). They are aligned (like other important features in Kilmartin Glen) on an approximately north-east to south-west axis. One pair are located a few yards apart at the south-west end of the group, with another pair mirroring them at the north-east end. The largest stone is set mid way between them, and has a subsidiary group of smaller stones to its south-west.
The large central stones is marked with 23 cup marks, or circular depressions, three of which have signs of surrounding ring marks. One of the pair of south-westerly stones also has three cup marks. The remaining stones appear to be unmarked. There is additionally an outlying stone 100m to the north of the north-easterly stones, and another, which is no longer visible, 300m to the west of the central stone.
The southerly pair of stones are 2.75m and 2.8m in height. The central stone is 2.8m high and 0.95m by 0.2m at its base. It is the most distinctively shaped of the stones, quite apart from the obvious presence of the cup marks. The northern pair of stones rise to heights of 2.85m and 2.7m in height.
Somebody spent a lot of time, trouble and manpower placing these stones here, and the inevitable question is "why?" There are a number of theories, and our own, that the northern and southern pairs represent goalposts for an early form of soccer, seems unlikely to gain much support. We have in mind a sort of Bronze Age Ba' Game, with the objective to get the ball, whether it be a leather bladder or an enemy warrior's head, into the opponents goal. Perhaps the referee occupied the area around the central stone...
The most attractive of the serious theories is that the stones together form a lunar observatory, which mark where the moon will rise and set at certain points in its cycle. There are also said to be solar alignments. Over the years the stones have inevitably attracted more than their share of superstitions. It is said to be lucky to camp near to them, but unlucky to touch them.
The question of when the stones were placed here seems to attract more agreement than the question of why they were placed here. The lunar observatory, if that is what it is, was built about 3,200 years ago. The interesting thing about this date is that cup and ring carvings are thought to date back to a period 1,500 years earlier still. This suggests that the two stones carrying cup marks were quarried from somewhere nearby, where they had been carved all that time previously. Perhaps it was judged auspicious if the central stone carried the marks of the ancients when embarking on this new venture.