The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Kirkton of Bourtie

Stone Circle


Reconnoitring a route up The Hill of Barra (Incidentally I eventually go with that from the north) the remnants of this great RSC rear up from the road at Kirkton of Bourtie. Well, under a sky as blue as that towering above this wondrous, fertile land this morning, I decide to reprise my visit of a few years back. And why not?

Despite the destruction, this is a special, nay, potentially overwhelming stone circle featuring - as I understand - the largest recumbent stone of any RSC? [Thanks to Les Hamilton for subsequently pointing out that Old Keig is actually the largest, by mass.... the Bourtie recumbent the longest]. The field appears in early crop. However tractor tracks lead inexorably to the ring, or what remains of the ring. Two circle stones remain erect.... but they are very substantial. However it is the remaining flanker, still undertaking the role of cohort to a truly massive - hey, overwhelmingly so - recumbent which steal the show. Sundry other stones lie in a jumbled mess within the partially enclosed, overgrown space, whether field clearance or shatter orthostats it's difficult to tell. Probably six of one and half a dozen of another. Or possibly a bit more than that... left me calculator at home, I'm afraid.

As mentioned by 'those who've gone before', the chock stones are an interesting feature of the monument. So is the extensive view toward - as you'd no doubt guess - Bennachie and the Mither Tap, as well as that in the direction of the aforementioned Hill of Barra, according to the map bearing a hillfort. I missed out upon the latter last time I was here. But then the wondrous, nearby Shieldon stone circle accounted for that. And rightly so. But now there is no excuse and I leave this massive recumbent stone - and its ravaged associates - to resume their perennial hill top brooding once again. Yeah, a fleeting visit, but aren't all human interactions such? Need to make them count when given the opportunity, I guess.
9th June 2012ce
Edited 10th June 2012ce

Comments (2)

Bourtie is great - can be very atmospheric.
But the largest recumbent belongs to Old Keig, north of Alford. It's estimated to have a mass of over 50 tonnes. Bourtie is reckoned to be around 30 tonnes.

But it is probably the longest recumbent, slightly over 5 metres in length.

LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
9th June 2012ce
Yeah, I've just checked Burl and you're right. But longest'll do. Funny, that. I've been to Old Keig and it didn't make half the impression. GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
9th June 2012ce
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