Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Stone Circles of Aberdeenshire

In our travels, we are always looking for prehistory places.  They are not always easy to find; sometimes being down unpaved one lane tracks, or across a cow field, as in Northern Ireland.  We don't always succeed, but when we do, it's usually worth the effort.
Map showing some of the locations of the Stone Circles.
The stone circles in Aberdeenshire are of a unique design, the Recumbent Stone Circle.  Found almost exclusively here, there are more than 70 examples have been recorded, with diameters ranging from 11m to 26m.  These are from the Bronze Age, the third and second millennia BC.

Once we found them, there were very nice signs.

The Recumbent Stone with the flankers.

From the far side of the circle looking toward the Recumbent Stone

From The Stone Circle trail brochure:
"The distinctive feature of the Recumbent Stone Circle is a massive stone, laid horizontally on its side in the Southwestern or Southern arc of the circle, flanked by the two tallest stones of the circle.  The recumbent stones have an average weight of 24 tone, and were carefully levered and chocked-up to ensure that their upper surface was as level as possible."

This circle had a nice path, then we had to climb over a fence and walk through the sheep pasture to get to the circle.

The Strichen Stone Circle has been rebuilt.  A tenant farmer tore it down in 1830, but the land owner said to put it back.  He did, but not in the original place.  It was excavated in the 1979, and returned to it's original placement.
As with most of the other circles we have found, they are usually on the crests of hills or terrace, with wide views, in this instances to the Southwest.

Historic Scotland does have nice signs.

On the side of the road near the village of Memsie.
Also while driving around, we found the Memsie Round Cairn.  It has been excavated and put back.  There were apparently several cairns in the area, but this is the only one that survives.

The White Horse on Mormond Hill
Walking back to the car from Strichen Circle, we saw the White Horse of Mormond Hill.  It's not ancient, having been made in the 1790's.  The story goes that it was carved by a Captain Fraser in memory of Sargent Henderson, who gave him his horse after the Captain's was shot out from under him.  In the process, the Sargent was killed. The horse is made from white quartz.

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