Blackford Hill
Edinburgh, Midlothian
Rock Carving Canmore

On the southwest slope of Blackford Hill in Edinburgh, just below the hillfort (or just below the communications mast if you prefer a more visible landmark!) is a small shelter in the rock towards the end of a crag. On a smooth almost-vertical rock face there is the clear rough pecked outline of a deer and, next to it, a much less clear humanoid figure.

The slope up to the rock shelter is a bit of a shaky scramble for someone with my knees; on the other hand, it's also quite manageable for someone with my knees!

According to CANMORE, the carving was rediscovered in 1996. Whilst the date of the carving is unknown, it is thought to be early medieval. Perhaps 7th Century CE.

The peck marks making up the deer carving are in a smooth rock face and are very clear and crisp in many places and there seems to have been no effort made to smooth the lines. The possibly humanoid figure to the left of the deer is sometimes described as a hunter and there is a suggestion that it is pointing a bow and arrow at the deer. However, the rock face here is rougher and more damaged and it is much less clear what is carved and what is not. Sometimes you see what you want to see. It certainly could be a hunter with a bow, but it is far from unambiguous.

Images ©2023 Martin McCarthy, Theasis Photography

Nearby Sites

2km Ravenswood Avenue Standing Stone
9km Easter Norton Standing Stone
12km Huly Hill Stone Circle; Burial Cairn
12km Tormain Hill Cup and Ring Marks
(NB: All distances are as-the-crow-flies. Lochs, mountains and beautiful winding roads will make it further. Sometimes much further.)