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

Old Rayne

Stone Circle


The Modern Antiquarian's mindbender map of the Aberdeenshire landscape (pages 100 & 101) marks Old Rayne as a 'destroyed' stone circle, but the OS map marks it as just 'Stone Circle' (without the '(rems of)' suffix they give destroyed ones). As we drove out from the village a single upright stone appeared in the raised field on our left. When we got to the fence the mighty but toppled stones became visible.

There's a field boundary of wire fence running through the remains of the circle, separating the single remaining upright and one fallen stone from the rest. The OS map marks five dots, and these denote the stander, three fallen and a pile that includes the easily discernible recumbent and flankers, several small stones and a pile of stones that could be cairn remains or could be just farmers field clearance. The stones are pretty large, not quite as big as Loanhead, but perhaps a bit bigger than Sunhoney. The fallen recumbent sticks up at 40 degrees, making it seem absolutely huge. As you stand in the circle facing south, the left flanker's fallen to the left, the right has fallen inwards and broken in two, and the recumbent has fallen inwards too. The flankers are grey granite, but the flat topped and bottomed recumbent is brown. The recumbent faces a flat horizon of hilltops, and if your eye follows it to the east then it drops down to reveal Mither Tap behind.

To the west the top of Dunnideer is clearly visible with another similar shaped peak to the left making as fine a pair of taps as can be. Modern Antiquarian says Tap O'Noth is visible from here, but it's not a clear day today and I don't think we can see that far. I think the other peak might be Hill of Christ's Kirk. Still, the fact that Tap O'Noth is generally visible from here means this site is phenomenally positioned on the landscape.

The ground inside the circle slopes up to the recumbent, as at Balgorkar, but whether this is part of the original design, or the result of cairn building and/or field clearance is not obvious to me. Either way, the effect is dramatic, accentuating the belittling feeling of standing at the smallest stone (or rather the site of the smallest stone). The poking up of Mither Tap and Dunnideer to the same degree as each other coupled with the flat horizon at the south-west gives this RSC a feeling of perfection.

(visited 1 July 00)
Posted by Merrick
7th August 2000ce

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