From an historical point of view, the village of Clackmannan has a lot
going for it. It has an old tower, a tolbooth, and a mercat cross in a
wide market street. It also has the Stone of Mannan. Now, before I tell you what the Stone of Mannan is,
I feel a reality check is in order. For although Clackmannan has all
these old things, what it unfortunately doesn't have is a great deal in
the way of eating and drinking facilities. At the time of my visit there
was no cafe or coffee house, and the two pubs on the main street didn't
do food. But that doesn't matter. For the historical importance of Clackmannan means the visitor
could eat grass and drink puddle-water and STILL the visit would be
So, what is the Stone of Mannan? Well, it's a big boulder stuck on top
of another big boulder. It is an ancient stone that goes way back to
when this part of Scotland was in the hands of the Iron-Age 'Votadini'
tribe. The village's name is in fact derived from the stone, as 'Clack'
means 'stone' and 'Mannan'
comes from a Celtic sea-god named Manau. It is also known as 'King Robert's Stone', after Robert the
Bruce apparently either left his glove or 'mannan' on the stone, or
sat on it, although it wasn't the same Robert Bruce who lived in
Clackmannan Tower as our King was dead when the tower was built and
what was he doing sitting on a stone here anyway? Myths and legends can
be complicated, and I'm inclined to think it might be a far more
interesting story if a glove called Bruce met a sea-god on a boulder.