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Castles, stone circles and Pictish stones

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 24 March 2004

Wednesday 24 March, castles, stone circles and Pictish stones

A weak sun tries to get through the clouds when we wake up. We still have to get used to the idea that we have to be in time for breakfast and we now clearly feel that we have been at home instead of just being guests in a hotel the last week. But the view from our room is much better here, on the medieval square of Huntly.
Huntly Leith HallMost castle open after Easter or on April the first, but we have planned to drive by a few, today. This whole area is full with castles and other interesting things from ancient times, like stone circles and Pictic stones. To the right Leith Hall, a modest castle like house, with almost 115 hectares ground around it. When we walk towards it we see the saying on the coat of arms: 'spare nought', very comforting...
Maiden StoneWe also see a few stones with Pictish symbols. The Picts were the inhabitants of this area before they were called Scottish. The Maiden Stone probably dates back to the 9th century and shows also a stylised elephant. The story tells that a fleeing woman (after a lost bet with the devil) was caught up by the devil. When she said a prayer god turned her into a stone but the devil had touched already her shoulder and that is the place where there is a piece of the stone missing. The stone is almost three meters high.
Easter Aquhorthies Near Easter AquhorthiesBesides castles and Pictic standing stones we also visit a few srone circles, like Easter Aquhorthies, a so called recumbent stone circle. Between the two largest standing stones is placed a lying stone.
It is not as cold as the last few days, but a firm wind blows and we need our winter coats.
Craigievar Castle Craigievar CastleCraigievar Castle is a compact and high castle with little windows on various heights, so it is impossible to make out how many floors there are. The upper part is a collection of turrets, peaks and facades on the outside, but inside a lot of the furniture has been damaged because of the castle's popularity. Since this is one of the most depicted castles it attracts lots of visitors.
At Inverurie we stop for a break. We need it after the many castles and other historic monuments we have seen, besides the ones mentioned here. We are just in time, before the youth have their lunchbreak. We see hundreds of them and only one of them without a snack in his hands!
Cullerlie stone circleIn the afternoon we continue our 'history trip' and see many more things, like here the Cullerlie stone circle. This one stands out because inside there are 8 cairns or tombs, which are still visible.
Drum CastleWe haven't mentioned here all the castles that we have come across, today, but Drum Castle is one of them: it is a combination of the original 13th century castle and a Jacobine country house from the 17th century. The woods around the castle are also centuries old.
Loanhead of DaviotGoint back to Huntly we have a look at the recumbent stone circle called Loanhead of Daviot, where the design of a stone circle can be seen clearly. Next to this stone circle from the 3rd millenium BC. is another, smaller, circle of stones. It looks like they are connected to another in some waybut this is a cemetary from the 5th century BC, so there is a big age difference between these two stone circles.
If you want to know more about castles or prehistoric sites we have visited, have a look at our special castle- of prehistoric page of Scotland. In this area there are many castles and a special route that takes you along many of them.
We call it a day and return to the hotel terug where we get a full plate with food with also haggis in it. Well, it tastes a bit like meat loaf and is allright when you don't eat too much (and forget how they make it and what of...)


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