|Visited April 12, 2013
Having exhausted most Aberdeenshire sites north of Portlethen, I decided to take a look at some of the locations south of Stonehaven. First on the list was Cotbank of Barras Cairn on Mitton Hill.
I parked at the entrance to Cotbank Quarry, a familiar place from long ago. When the old A 96 was being dualled to create the present-day A 90: this is where most of the road metal came from.
The rock is basalt, and was notable for the numerous agate inclusions in it. Along with fellow enthusiasts, I used to search through the rock fragments piled up on the site at weekends, hunting down the semi-precious stones.
Today was cloudy, but just the right side of grey to be worth an exploration. And I was so lucky: one of the few sunny breaks arrived just as I reached the cairn.
This site was once thought to be a ruined stone circle, but current thinking is that it is a cairn surrounded by an intermittent ring of displaced kerbstones.
My elevated photograph gives a good impression of the site. There's more to see than usual, probably because the severe winter has suppressed the normal rank grasses.
My day continued with a trip to the Moray Stone. Although the enormous field opposite Cotbank Quarry was starting to 'green' as a crop emerged, a dual carriageway of tractor tracks conveniently led right across to its far edge. A few field boundaries later, and skirting a commercial piggery, the Moray Stane was reached.
This was surely the warmest day of 2013, and I decided to continue my trek to Montgoldrum RSC. As I circled round the woodland to gain the path to the circle, I disturbed a roe deer which bounded out of the undergrowth ahead of me, followed by a hawk.
As amply noted elsewhere, this site is more than a little ruinous, yet it still retains an aura of grandeur. Well worth the effort of a visit.
Posted by LesHamilton
12th April 2013ce
Edited 12th April 2013ce