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

Oxen Craig



Here's a turn-up for the books, and no mistake. A large cairn crowning a mountain summit.... and I don't even ken it's the 'real deal' at the time, so comprehensively - not to mention expertly - has it been converted into a walker's shelter. Indeed, it could be said to represent the 'pinnacle' of muppetry! However Canmore is of the opinion it's probably of prehistoric origin, an assertion that is given credence both by the siting and size of the stone pile. Bonus!

Oxen Craig, summit peak of Bennachie, lies more or less to the west of Mither Tap and is well seen from the top of the hillfort.. assuming an absence of cloud, that is. And hurricanes... Although the intervening landscape is crossed by specially constructed, signposted tracks - I assume to minimise erosion, albeit with an inevitable loss of upland aura - the walk is by no means easy this afternoon, being into the teeth of a pretty serious headwind, even in the lee of the mountain. Arriving at the summit I realise just how far conditions have deteriorated, even after leaving Mither Tap (the radio apparently reckoned the wind to be in excess of 100mph), it being more or less impossible to stand, let alone take any images of the cairn, upon the summit ridge. Ha! Perhaps that's why Aberdeenshire is famous for its recumbent stone circles? Wise to follow suite, then, before the wind does it for me.

Nevertheless Oxen Craig is a good place to be, a fabulous vista towards the Dunnideer landscape probably the best on offer, although the image of Mither Tap in profile will no doubt stay with me for a long time. I make an attempt to find the 'socketed' stones, but I'm afraid Mother Nature has other ideas. Thoughts again turn to Mons Graupius and events which might have occurred upon the flanks of this windswept - hell yeah! - mountain in 84AD.... much like Harold at Senlac, what course might history have taken if things had have gone the other way? Bloody Romans.

I return to Maiden Causeway by heading approx north-east towards Craigshannoch, the landscape comprised of deep heather and very hard going underfoot. Hmm, perhaps the paths are a good idea after all? Although a 'minature' mountain, don't take Bennachie lightly... in either the physical or metaphysical sense. It may well just blow you away.
21st June 2011ce
Edited 21st June 2011ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment