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

Esslie the Greater

Stone Circle


I'd started off planning a visit to the circles around Old Bourtreebush but a wrong turn at Portlethen sent me heading forever westward along narrow lanes through the soft Aberdeenshire countryside. I revised my plan and decided to head towards the River Dee and the town of Banchory. After half an hour of being completely lost, not a completely new sensation, I found myself besides the river and heading the right way.

On the road to Esslie I passed a house called Standingstones, I parked up and took a look around but found nothing.
My next stop was at Esslie the Lesser. There were a few cows in the field so I decided content myself with the view from the verge. The stones of Esslie the Greater were just along the road and I could see that the field was clear so I headed off down the lane.

At Esslie the Greater the field gate was just tied with some band so entry wasn't a problem. The site is a fairly jumbled affair but the main components of the circle and ring cairn are present. The setting, in common with many other RSCs, is one of rich, rolling Aberdeenshire farmland and higher hills in the distance. Esslie the Lesser is visible from the circle across the shallow valley. It led me to wondering why create three circles, the two Esslies and Nine Stanes, within such a small geographical area? No answers came to mind apart from the fact that the locals must have really loved their stones to expend so much effort into building these beautiful rings.

All in all this is a lovely accessible site; it's a little damp underfoot but well worth a visit.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
8th May 2009ce

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