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Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>Graystane</b>Posted by widefordImage © wideford
This site is of disputed antiquity. If you have any information that could help clarify this site's authenticity, please post below or leave a post in the forum.
Also known as:
  • Haybreck
  • The Gray Stone
  • Grey Stone

Nearest Town:Kirkwall (11km NE)
OS Ref (GB):   HY357064 / Sheets: 6, 7
Latitude:58° 56' 24.79" N
Longitude:   3° 7' 2.62" W

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<b>Graystane</b>Posted by wideford <b>Graystane</b>Posted by wideford <b>Graystane</b>Posted by wideford <b>Graystane</b>Posted by wideford


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After the pumping station at Kirbister Mill the Orphir road continues past the junction with the loch road. On the left there is a small post box at the top of the Smoogro road. Continue along the Orphir road and look for Highbreck on your right - it is the first dwelling you come to. On the opposite side of the road to this the stone is about 25 fence lengths further on (or perhaps you would prefer to count ten lengths from the beck further along if approaching in the other direction - a well is marked just before the first bend in the stream but I saw nothing). Maybe not your average standing stone, but decidedly a queer shape for an erratic. The supposed boulder is at about 45 degrees to the road. It is difficult to get a closer view owing to the steepness of the bank and the fence (thankfully plain) being hard against the field boundary. Edge carefully down as there are only two levels you can stand on. Hold tight on the fence and bob's your uncle. Oh, did I mention that the standing stone has tall nettles by the roadside edge ?! wideford Posted by wideford
29th June 2005ce


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Disputed Antiquity
The National Monument Record (NMR) includes the following comment made after an Ordnance Survey visit to the site in 1966:
This isolated stone is as described above. Its name is not known locally and there is nothing to suggest that it is an antiquity.
This is not contradicted by any other information in the NMR (as available on-line at the time of writing).
Posted by TMA Ed
6th December 2005ce
Edited 6th December 2005ce

RCAHMS NMRS record no. HY30NE 18 at HY35700638 shows the first doubt as to its antiquity in the 1946 Inventory in favour of nature, being considered as a possible erratic. The latest survey thought the exact opposite, as it is is currently connected by the record with a nearby quarry (but in Orkney 'quarry' is as omnipresent as well/spring). However the nearest mining feature was a gravel pit and the Stove Quarry only came about in the 19th century with the demise of Stove itself.
It aligns NE/SW and is on the S side of the Orphir road, being only 2' away from the roadside but 3'6" lower than it. The stone is 2'6" long, 10" thick, and protrudes above field level 2'5". A probable settlement is over at the uphill side of the road.

It is interesting to note that there is a Grey Stone (HY50150484) at a slight turn in the St. Andrew's parish underboundary. So how does one distinguish between an existing feature attracting a boundary and one being placed to mark a boundary, especially where this itself could be prehistoric. Grey isn't exactly a distinguishing feature and it has been suggested [] for another deeply Viking area that this actually refers to a (perceived or actual according to case) hoary antiquity by the original namers.
wideford Posted by wideford
16th November 2005ce

The 1903 O.S. 25":mile shows several more stones this side of the road. They are all on some kind of boundary. The only one on Oldmaps 1882 is a 'boundary marker' HY36200633 by Roadside. Another is close by at HY36130633. Up by the Orphir road is HY35910646 at a triple field junction. Lastly by Nearhouse is HY35550624. Or at least they all were, as none appear on Canmap. wideford Posted by wideford
26th August 2005ce
Edited 26th August 2005ce