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.
This was the first stop of the day on the way south to Glasgow. Mitton Hill looks south over the Mearns countryside, with Hillhead Long Cairn being clearly in view to the south. Heading south on the A90 (dual carriageway Aberdeen to Dundee road) leave heading south east towards Threipland. (If heading south it's after the RAC monument, if heading north after the 2nd Drumlithie junction except head east). Keep going until the Cotbank of Barras then head north on the track. Stop at the next junction. The hill to the south is Mitton, there is track heading to the top heading east, follow it. Once at the top look south and the first of the kerbs will be spotted.
Probably this something better than a kerb cairn. Several stones probably stood so the remnants of a stone circle would be a better description. At least two are over a meter in length. Still it is over 17 meters wide and 0.75 meters tall. Once again it must have been an attractive monument. For me it was a great start to the day.