Sadly the standing stones on Skelmuir Hill, two stones which would have been near the minor road, were removed or destroyed in 2008. The photograph of the fallen stone in the pics is likely to the last time one of the stones was seen. The Grey Stane still stands tho, looking rather lonely in it's exposed position. I spent hours climbing up and down just in case they'd been pulled to the side but no luck (for the 4th time). Makes me feel very sad as I must have just missed seeing them. No picture, no reminder, sad.
Skelmuir Hill isn't the easiest place to find as this part of the North East is a maze of roads. The best and most direct route is as follows. Leave the A952 going west after Ardallie Primary School, keep going for at least two miles until a sharp corner turning back east. Stop here! At the gateway a stone at least 7 feet long can be half buried in the ground. Keep going across the field, over the wall and fence for 1/4 mile until the stone can be seen. It is a gray granite stone standing/sloping facing south on the north side of the hill 6 1/2 feet tall. No views south great views north, east and west.
Nice story, Drew! It sounds like the stones have been moving/moved all over the place. Here's a much more dull version - but it's nice to see the stories are still there after 100 years.
Since making our investigations, we have ascertained* that many years ago there was a group of three stones, and that deserved ill-fortune befell the two farmers (whose lands were divided by the dike) for their wantonly removing them. These three stones stood in a triangle, and were probably the remains of a Circle.
*Through the good offices of friends at Longside whose relatives formerly lived near Skelmuir.
From PSAS v38, 1904: 'Report on Stone Circles of the North-East of Scotland' by Fred R Coles.
Mythology, as well, as an old old poem has a story to tell.
"A long time ago a weary man left his his pot of gold at the foot of the one remaining stone stone at Skelmuir and made it promise to look after it until he returned. This stone, apparently, could talk and replied positively. However security in those days wasn't tight and the stone fell asleep. Bad mistake! Along came a thief, fresh from the pipe/mate stealing at the Candle Stone, and an attempt was made to steal the gold. Being shaken from sleep the Skelmuir stone promptly fell on top of the thief and more importantly the gold. At this point the thiefs friend bolted but guilt weighed it down and it dropped down lifeless at Cortiecram never to move again. Back came the original traveller after all the action had finished and displeasure was the mood. After one almighty row the Skelmuir stone stood speechless and bowed ashamed that security had lapsed. In anger the traveller kicked the stone in the backside and pulled it to the north side of the hill never to see it's friends again."
This was taken from a story by the children from Strichen Primary School hanging upon the villages library wall during one of their history projects.
To be fair "Rhiannon" has a similar story for Cortie Cram and this has probably lots in common with other "golden hide/trove" stories.
Quite close to here (somewhere near NJ 956 444) was
Upper Crichie Circle. -- This circle was destroyed nearly one hundred years ago, according to the testimony of one whose father was witness to the destruction.
It would appear the stones were sold by the tenant en bloc, to aid in building a steading. Not long after it was noted that his family were visited by illness, one after the other dying. The superstition of these days was at no loss in assigning a cause.
'Notice of Stone Circles in the Parish of Old Deer' by the Rev. James Peter, in PSAS v19 (1884-5) - this on p375.
This five and a half foot high granite megalith leans over. It used to be upright but tipped over (willfully?) to crush a man to death who was looking for a pot of gold said to be buried beside it.
Interestingly, another account says that it was a farmer who was crushed, who was looking for 'a bull's hide full of gold'.
Grinsell also offers this verse: The man who never has been born
But frae his mither's side been shorn
Sall fynd the plate and gowden horn
Anaith the Stane O' Corticram.
(all from Grinsell's collectings in 'Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Britain'. I neglected to note his sources, but the verse at least may be from Scottish Notes and Queries: second series Vol 3, July 1901 to June 1902, p29)
It seems to be an interesting area, Skelmuir Hill. There are a number of other stones in the vicinity, and it is in the region that is the major flint source in Scotland.