03/02/2013 - Like a lot of folk, I found this too restored and pristine for my taste last time I was here. Today I left with a bit more love for it than before. Winter is good at making places more rough and ready and today it was working its magic on Cullerie for me. It's an odd little site and reminds me a little of Forvie kerb cairns. I don't know if it's the same dog as the one in Chris' photo from 11 years back, but if it is, it still loves playing fetch. Nice end to a good day out.
After some light refreshment in Gairlogie I decided to go for a wee stroll down to Cullerlie with a couple of mates. By the time we arrived we had been drenched but the atmosphere in the gloomy dark made up for the difficulties. Maybe this place should viewed like this as many have said that it's 'show status' detracts but tonight it was eerie even scary at the same time welcoming, the stones looking like old friends having a natter. Westhills and Aberdeen glowed in the distance like faraway bonfires, maybe long ago similar scenes would have been seen. With that we walked back somehow avoiding being knocked down by boy/girl racers using this as an alternative route as the main road into Peterculter was closed.
Jane's right.... Cullerie's so restored it's like a garden centre feature - why do they insist on having gravel interiors and neatly cropped lawns? Nethertheless despite this it's still well worth dropping in on the way to Sunhoney et al - especially if you're lucky enough to see the circle under a blue sky! And at least it doesn't have a church plonked right beside it.
I'd say this would make a great introduction site (in the manner of Loanhead) prior to getting down to business with the more atmospheric Aberdeenshire circles........
I'll take new photos next time I'm up at Cullerlie- last time I was there (10/05) there was tarmac around the base of the stones instead of the pebbles described below.
The municipal feel of the stones has been described below, and the tarmac enhanced this vibe quite considerably.
It is possible that the tarmacking was done deliberately to preserve the pits in the circle from feet etc., but there was no explanation of why it had been done.
I sometimes wonder whether this kind of 'maintenance', while it feels bad in your gut when you first see it, doesn't give some stones a bit of a rest from the constant demands placed on them from people who just go around sucking places dry. You have to spend time with Cullerlie, coax it out a bit. It's a good place to learn patience and giving round old sites, as you really won't get anything out of Cullerlie without contributing.
It's a bit like your really uncool cousin who embarrasses you but then one day you sit down and talk to them and they're way more interesting than you are.
The other thing you have to bear in mind is that Cullerlie is maintained the way it is because someone really cares about it.
To start with, some other people arrived at the same time, which always annoys me. There is a nice tree-lined avenue to the circle, framing it nicely as if designed that way. Oh, hold on, it was. Someone has redesigned this site into what it should look like if it was in a TV garden project. There is a total municipal feel to the place caused by the careful placing of blue-grey foreign gravel in a very regular way around what “they” see to be the limits of the area. As a result, the stones appear bored and lifeless. The internal cairns seem like an uncomfortable, tidied version of their original state. As a redeeming feature there appeared to be a genuine cup-mark on one of the internal cairn curbstones.
The site is on relatively low ground, not sure what’s there on a clear day but there were no views tonight.
I left quickly after double-checking the info board for Charlie Dimmock’s photo.
What not to do with a prehistoric site.
However, on the plus side, disabled access: Excellent! No gate, there is a ramp from the road down to a smooth grassy field, and a distance of about 100m to the circle.
Being slightly nervous around dogs, I was a little perturbed when a collie silently sidled up to me, staring intently. It then dropped a golf ball next to me, moved back a few feet and then looked pointedly at the ball and then me.
The fact that 'fetch' was the highlight of the visit sums up Cullerlie. Its nice, but seems to have no soul. Come anyway, and perhaps we can re-energise the place, and it is a nice place to just sit and listen to the wind in the trees (and the panting of an exhausted collie dog).
This is an oddity! On the way out to Midmar, Sunhoney etc, take a L turn down to this site. The "restoration" is initially offputting, detracting from the sense of antiquity, but spending time soaking in the landscape around and contemplating the smooth, curvy stones themselves pays dividends. The boy, however, was not impressed (no recumbent!) and we headed off...
On my august tour of Aberdeen I visited a number of sites including Cullerlie. Maybe at home, on it's own as the sole circle of a days driving, I may have loved it, on this day it was a bit of a flop, I didn't get any real feeling from this place. It was flat and closed in by farm yards
and just lifeless.
This was the most overly restored site, large stones visibly concreted in
to the grounds and 8 little stone cairns concreted in to the centre like
Bronze age B&Q patio decorations.