About 1 mile east of the village of Tarves.
We parked on the minor road to the west of the site and myself and Dafydd made for the circle whilst Karen stayed in the car with Sophie. A small wooden sign points the way. It only takes 5 minutes to walk along the path to the stones.
There is an information board set up by the Tarves Heritage Project 1995.
The six stones are erected on an obvious raised platform. The circle was surrounded by fields of wheat although the stones themselves were surrounded by long scraggy grass. The circle is only small but occupies a peaceful spot. It is certainly worth the minimum effort it takes to visit the stone circle.
It was a lovely hot sunny Sunday afternoon with blue sky and white fluffy clouds.
On the way back to the car we picked raspberries.
Aberdeen is one of those places I guess I'm never destined to see in a good light.... always hammering down with rain, the precipitation dubiously complementing the granite architecture. Today is no exception, leaving me in not the best of moods as I leave the A90 north of the city, taking the B999 towards Tarves. However the open countryside raises the spirits, the sign for South Ythsie the expectations.... Ignore the official car park to the left of the minor road, unless you wish to visit the 'Prop of Ythsie' [a monument erected to Lord George Gordon, Prime Minister between 1852 - 1855 and copping much of the blame (unfairly, perhaps) for the disastrous Crimean War]. Instead park at the entrance to the farm track servicing the 'Den of Ysthie' a little beyond, to the right past a cottage. A brace of DIY 'stone circle' signs take it from here, indicating the way down said track. Veer left and... wow... what a beautiful little monument, iconic in profile against the skyline!
Six quite substantial stones stand upon a mound - or rather, according to Burl, the mound is heaped around the stones - the monument set within a field of cereal in serious, wind driven motion. Futhermore, Burl reckons the four tallest form a rectangle... thus South Ythsie (incidentally the latter bit is pronounced 'icy') might well be a 'transitional 'Four Poster''. Nice. It is ceratinly a fine place to sit and watch the morning rain clouds swept away by the wind, to be replaced by blue. Who'd have thought it?
A local woman, with small children and poxy dog arrive to clamber all over the stones before leaving me in peace to watch the sky. Hey, one of the pleasures of visiting ancient sites is to actually lift your eyes above the horizontal and accept that you are just a tiny speck of humanity beneath the vastness above. Or something like that. Whatever, my proposed day's schedule disappears into the great blue yonder, if not my psyche.
And what a change in a county of countless recumbent circles. Don't get me wrong, I love the RSC's but this was like rinsing out the mind before going back to them. Everythings just that little bit different - the raised mound is so much more noticeable, mainly I suppose because the circle is not hemmed in by a fence like so many others. You can really feel this circles place in the landscape-it seems like the centre of it.
Beautiful stones too, with quartz and lichen just dripping from them. The tallest has been split by the elements providing you with a launch ramp to the sky (as my 4 year olds told me).
Kudos to all those involved in the restoration (Which you wouldn't know about just being in the circle) and to the farmers for looking after it. These circles were built by the farmers for the land, and they seem to appreciate the care by their descendants-if only it were true everywhere.
Access: I'm with Greywether. Park at the monument car park and walk-its how the builders would have done it. Besides, I would not want to see my tyres after driving down the last 300 yards of rough stone track - tyre-bagging time ;-)
You can drive all the way down the track to it, so is really good for those less able (or too goddamn lazy like me) to walk. The sun was shining and hot again, the bees buzzed in the thistles, a woodpecker joined us and we sat and marvelled at this perfect little circle, lovingly restored on its perfect flying saucer mound to welcome visitors. I sat and sketched. A perfect end to the day!