General view of Circle 5 stone circle at Machrie Moor, Arran. This circle consists of eight inner round granite blocks and fifteen outer circle blocks.

Although travelling to visit your favourite heritage sites is currently not an option, you can still help with their ongoing conservation. How? Well, Monument Monitor wants to see how visiting patterns, climate change and long term trends have affected these sites. We need your pictures to help.


We are asking anyone who has visited Machrie Moor in Arran, Achnabreck in Kilmartin Glen or Clava Cairns to send us any photos they have of their visit. There is no time limit on this, if you have any in the loft from your grandparents, send them in!

This is a part of the Monument Monitor project, a joint initiative between the Institute of Sustainable Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland. The project looks at how we can use visitor photographs to monitor remote heritage sites. Even whilst social distancing you can help advance real scientific research from home.

What can your photographs tell us?

Visitors’ photographs over the years can tell us a great deal about the sites we look after. We can track vegetation growth in castles, erosion of peat caps along walls of iron age forts and monitor ground erosion near our most popular sites.

At Achnabreck in particular we are measuring vegetation growth across the ancient rock art site. Your photos from across the years will help us better understand the vegetation growth and the flow of water across the around the stone carvings, which are nearly 6000 years old.

At Clava Cairns we’re currently using your photos to monitor the ‘Outlander effect’. Since the popular TV adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s books aired in 2014, we’ve seen a huge increase in visitors. We want to collect pictures of your visits both before and after this time. This will help us to model potential erosion around the cairns as a result of the increased visitor numbers.

The photos collected from Machrie Moor on the Island of Arran are helping us understand how climate change may be affecting the site. We have around 100 photos from 2017 to today, but we’d appreciate many more.

Even if we are temporarily unable to explore ancient castles, wander around stone circles and picnic amid the ruins of brochs, we can learn much about them from all our individual experiences from years past.

Please send us your photos via


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From time to time we have guest posts from partners, visitors and friends of Historic Environment Scotland.