The Cairnpapple Mysteries. Dark Figures and Mystery Footprints.

This report was posted on the BRUK site by Crypto Chris.

Early in the winter of 2003 I had recently passed my driving test and was going for a run in my car with my friend ? and his girlfriend. I am from the Falkirk area so we came up through Torphichen and were not really heading in any particular direction.  I was just happy to be driving and the view from the car was perfect.  I saw a sign for Cairnpapple and recognised it so i started heading up that way and I passed the lay by at Cairnpapple.

We drove past it, and down and up the valley and as we were headed towards the Knock Hill my mate pointed out what looked like a man standing at the top looking down the hill at us? I slowed the car down to look and saw he was right "I said oh yeah so it does" By this point we were slowly passing the Knock Hill and the dark figure came down the hill at great speed, he was really moving at some pace. We got a big fright and I drove away as fast as I could.  It didn't look like your average person and was all dark in colour. And it moved at a pace miles faster than I could
That incident remained pretty much unexplained and yes it gave us a scare but I didn’t think too much of it and had forgotten all about it.  Until a few years later in spring 2006.  I was out for a drive with my mate. We were bored and it was a nice night so I decided to head to the Bathgate hills. If it was clear we could wander up to Cairnpapple and get a good view of central Scotland.  It had been snowing about a week before and the snow had melted back home but there was still a little bit by the side of the road. 

This didn’t put us off as there hadn’t been very much.  We parked up at the Cairnpapple lay by and headed up the stairs. The field before Cairnpapple was snow covered and although we were not dressed for it we kept heading in anyway. We had a laugh falling in the snow repeatedly and I fell waist deep into a cairn at the Cairnpapple site.  We were there for a few minutes before getting cold and started to head back. The wind was picking up and visibility was a bit poor by this time. We left the gate of Cairnpapple and walked back into the field and within 15 seconds we both heard a noise from behind us as if something was coming towards us, from the direction we had just been. I turned around but could not see anything, neither of us could.  All we knew is that it was coming fast or at least it sounded as if it was moving really quickly at speed heading in our direction.  We ran as fast as we could and we ended up losing the way back to the stairs, after a panicked hunt for the steps we found them and we rushed down them, got in the car and drove away.

We couldn’t explain what had happened to us and were shaken up and very confused. We kept talking about it and deciding whether to go back or not. I couldn't stop thinking about it and what had happened.

You would think that after two scary experiences I would avoid the place but in winter 2009 I returned from Australia and it had snowed, I was hunting for a good place to sledge with my friend.  I suggested the Bathgate hills would be a good place due to height and that there would be no shortage of snow. It was pretty late we arrived at about 00:15 am and headed up Cairnpapple first. Once we were up we realised quickly that the snow was to deep and no good for fun,so walked to the Cairnpapple site to have look. After a while it started to snow so we headed back to the car. Once again after leaving the fence and into the field something started to chase us. My friend was really frightened and started to run.  At this point I remembered the previous encounter and calmed her down and explaining it would stop in a second if we left the area of the steps, we moved as fast as we could without losing the way to the staircase and got back in the car. The snow was really heavy now but she pointed out footprints leading into the field we had just came out of.

These were fresh footprints and caused us to become very scared. Whilst trying to leave the car got stuck approaching the Knock Hill and it took us a while to manage to get up the hill. I had to drive carefully due to the conditions and as we approached the Knock Hill again there were fresh footprints in the snow coming from the field and going into the car park at the Knock Hill. These footprints looked like they had been made by someone running.  After that we were really shaken up and I shared my previous experiences with her. The next day we returned with a friend and retraced our steps.

There were no animals in the field at this time and it was very peaceful. We have returned in safer numbers during the night a few times but with nothing other than some creepy noises happening. I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences the last one was particularly terrifying. There is something about that place that makes you want to go back. My friend that was speechless for the car journey back to Falkirk and never that slept that night, but still we returned over and over and continue to do so, to try to understand.

Cairnpapple is a henge Neolithic monument, later used for a succession of burials in the Bronze Age before its later, early-Christian, use as a burial site. The views from up here on the Bathgate Hills in West Lothian to Edinburgh, Fife and beyond are fantastic. Up in the hills it can be very exposed to the weather elements.

There is an ancient legend of the Pictish Brown Men from this site, and indeed one witness claims as a boy to not only seeing one, but loosing his coat to it in the process, he states "I wanted to point out that during my childhood at a picnic on Cairnpapple hill with my mother and brother that my brother who had gone off to play had given his new coat to a ‘brown boy’ on the hill who subsequently disappeared with it.

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And regular readers of the Website will know that the Clava Cairns area is one area of Scotland that has a multitude of Scottish Bigfoot or Hairy Figures and legends of the Running man abound.

D. H. Hatswell:


  1. There’s the sighting of the silver runner on this hill. Sounds like your encounter. I would of been petrified


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