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

Nine Stanes

Stone Circle


Following a serious hammering by the Aberdeenshire weather upon Cairn O'Mount, this lovely, frankly bonkers RSC is just the ticket before bedtime. Despite no let up in the downpour.

I first came here back in June 2004, and I'm pleased to say that the intervening years have not eroded the charm of the place, set within a forestry clearing, one bit. That's right, not one bit. Unfortunately, however, like the aforementioned cairn, the Nine Stanes are too accessible to have escaped the ravages of the modern world. In the stone circle's case, it is moronic 'happy campers' who are no doubt responsible for the damage, the all too clear remains of a campfire defacing what Burl describes as 'one of the most splendid of all central spaces' within the internal ring cairn. Indefensible, even for the most myopic of creatures. I hate to think what might happen should I ever stumble upon such a scene in progress... let's hope it never comes to that, eh?

The monument is one of the most idiosyncratic I've seen... consider the analogy of a group of people being passed instructions concerning 'how to erect an RSC' via a game of 'Chinese Whispers'... and I wouldn't be at all surprised if Nine Stanes was the result. Having said that, to paraphrase the great Eric Morecombe, 'everything's here, but not necessarily in the right order'. Yeah, architecturally speaking it would perhaps be kinder to say that the Nine Stanes is in a class of its, er, own, and leave it at that. Burl cites the sort-of-central ring cairn as 'a travesty..... a warped oval of indifferent kerbing...badly designed', the recumbent and flankers as 'not on the circumference..... carelessly placed'. You get the picture. But, for me, that is precisely what gives the ring its charm, its sense of innate 'humanity', its overwhelming vibe which no legions of 'Carry on Camping' muppets can remove. It doesn't abide by the standard RSC rules and so is therefore all wrong, yet paradoxically so right at the same time. As if it was built by you and I. Burl concurs, describing the monument as 'wondrous to behold'. Right on, Mr B!

Suffice to say I retire for the night soggy and dripping, yet more than happy I came back to Garrol Wood for another look at this punk stone circle masterpiece.
19th June 2011ce
Edited 19th June 2011ce

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