The last time I visited this fine site it was pouring with rain. I liked it so much I was determined to re-visit when next in the area - hopefully on a nice day. Well, today was the today and luckily, the weather was great – hot with a clear blue sky.
We parked at the gate and were confronted by a sign stating that due to forestry work being carried out access to the circle was temporarily prohibited. Sod that! Myself, Dafydd and Sophie walked along the track towards the circle whilst Karen stayed in the car in case anyone turned up.
It was good to see the sign requesting visitors to respect the stone circle and not to damage them by lighting fires.
This is a lovely stone circle in a very pretty woodland setting. I always find wooded settings most pleasing. There is something about the trees, birdsong etc.
Clearly we weren’t the only recent visitors judging by the ‘offerings’ left on the recumbent stone – peaches, flowers and even a home made ‘prehistoric’ arrow, complete with knapped stone arrow head. Someone put a lot of effort into that.
This really is a great stone circle to visit.
If you get the chance make sure you don’t miss out.
Parking up next to a couple of camper vans we set off to find our third recumbent of the day. After a bit of poking about in the woods (at least I've got the O.S. map with me today!) we found what we were looking for and what a cracker it is!
On first sight I missed the recumbent, and thought this was a 'traditional' style stone circle, which would have been unusual for Aberdeenshire, but soon the dumpy recumbent boulder with one erect and one fallen flanker became apparent.
Sitting in a sylvan glade this lovely little circle has a fantastic atmosphere, although close to the road, and with several campervans about, it still feels remote and separate, although the remains of a campfire in the circle suggest that it is well visited.
After earlier showers the sun is shining again, the light lancing through the trees and dappling the circle with shadows. I prop myself up on the recumbent to write up my fieldnotes, with only the sounds of woodpeckers from the surrounding forest for company.
The recumbent seems to have the same south-easterly alignment as other RSC's but as has been mentioned this site doesn't seem to fit the standard pattern of the Aberdeenshire circles!
Out of all the recumbent circles we've seen this week, this one has the best atmosphere, the whole setting of the place is like a scene from a fantasy story, the creaking of the nearby trees like the whispering of Ents. Such a beautiful circle, though hopefully we will get the chance to see a couple more before we have to return to Muggleland (the midlands) tomorrow.
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.
I visited the Nine Stanes after the two Esslie circles, parked-up at the forest car park and followed the short path to the stones.
This is a beautiful ruin of a circle, the forest, moss hung trees and lichen covered stones all blend together to produce a completely different sensory experience from the neighbouring Esslie rings. If it wasn't for the regimented lines of the forestry plantation you could easily daydream yourself back into prehistory at this lovely circle.
I noticed Hamish's outlier and its alignment with the recumbent stone and quite agree with him.
Nine Stanes is a lovely accessible site, one of the many jewels to be found in this part of the world.
It's quite trashed. Half the circle is gone but the six stone left are enough to enjoy in the cool forest glade. The recumbent is quite small and one of the flankers is down. Why-oh-why not erect it again? Liked this one a lot!
This place is also known as Mulloch or Garrol Wood stone circle.
I was up at ninestanes today (6/4/06) around 10:00.
Someone had left some ritual bits and pieces about, and effectively, had bound the stones then gone off and left them. The stones themselves were not too happy about it. I visit them around once every 2-4 weeks and they felt very wrong.
There's a difference between asking for help and commanding. You should never bind something and then leave it, whether it's a person or another kind of entity. If you believe the stones have power you should respect it, and their right to free will. If the people who did this believe that what they were doing was helping the stones, the stones themselves really didn't agree.
Ninestanes has always been a very gentle and compassionate place- if you ask nicely, it will do what it can. Remember to offer something back, but don't force what you want to give on it- it might not be appropriate. Sometimes the stones want to be left alone, pause a while before you go barging in, you can always say hi behind the recumbent and come back another time.
This site is gorgeous, and one where the new forestry adds atmosphere, rather than detracting.
A must visit, even amongst the jewels in this part of Scotland-If you've come to see Loanhead and East Aquhorthies you can definitely see this, and you have the bonus of the 2 Esslie circles just around the corner.