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

Mitton Hill

Kerbed Cairn


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.

LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
12th April 2013ce
Edited 12th April 2013ce

Comments (2)

Interesting notes Les. Sounds like a good day out. thelonious Posted by thelonious
13th April 2013ce
Yes, very enjoyable way to spend the first real day of Spring. LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
13th April 2013ce
You must be logged in to add a comment