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Return to the Land of the RSC - Day Two.

Today’s targeted area was the north east of Aberdeenshire; my guide – drewbhoy. We made sure we got an early start, and along with Bess the dog for a companion, we headed out eastwards.
Although it was an icy morning, there was no bitter northerly wind to chill the bones, and a nice dry, sunny day of looking at stones awaited.

Auchmaliddie — Images

<b>Auchmaliddie</b>Posted by ruskus

First stop was the remains of AUCHMALIDDIE – just a quick walk up the field-side track from the road. These two remaining stones glow so bright in the frosty morning sunrise. With the surrounding white ground, they resembled two melting snowmen, pushed over and at that stage when the snow looks dirty as it shrinks. The white quartz seems so different from anything else in the area, and reminded me of the circle way down in Duloe.

Aikey Brae — Images

<b>Aikey Brae</b>Posted by ruskus<b>Aikey Brae</b>Posted by ruskus

AIKEY BRAE is one of those big, ‘famous’ circles which I had been desperate to include in this trip, and visiting it confirmed why. As others have mentioned, the walk through the trees to the circle, following the pebble-edged path, adds much to the moment. The great reveal reminding me also of my visit to Clune Wood 24 hrs ago. Another big recumbent, vaguely resembling a boat (or something altogether more phallic), laying between two relatively small-looking flankers (one fallen). The evenly-spaced west side uprights remain, unlike the east side casualties.

Loudon Wood — Images

<b>Loudon Wood</b>Posted by ruskus

For the next site I thanked the Lord that I had Drew to shed some light on the mystery of LOUDON WOOD. Whilst preparing for this trip, I had been dreading the search for the circle, and had another plan for getting quite close to the wood, which thankfully I didn’t have to put into action. Drew’s invaluable knowledge led us right up to the near vicinity of the path through the wood to the circle. Initially we slightly skewed off to the side, and went into the trees too far, backtracking a couple of times before taking a direct route off the path in a presumed general direction. This led us out into a frost-white clearing, where the circle sat, looking forgotten by the world. It was difficult underfoot to notice any bank or wall-ring typical of the Buchan rings, but honestly I was just glad to finally be here. It is a magical spot.

Netherton — Images

<b>Netherton</b>Posted by ruskus<b>Netherton</b>Posted by ruskus<b>Netherton</b>Posted by ruskus

NETHERTON was very different from Loudon Wood; access was quicker(!), being easily reached at the back of the farm. As Drew asked permission, we crunched through the cracking mud puddles up the track to find the complete (?) RSC that is Netherton. I really liked this one. The trees within the circle block any decent camera view, but within the messy ‘forest’ the circle is clearer than initially thought. The recumbent and flanker stones are quite undramatic, being fairly shapeless boulders, with an abundance of other stones shoved up next to them, but it feels a sturdy little group which isn’t going anywhere.

Berrybrae — Images

<b>Berrybrae</b>Posted by ruskus<b>Berrybrae</b>Posted by ruskus

BERRYBRAE, also has a recumbent/flanker set up similar in look and feel to Netherton, and being away from any farm buildings/machinery should appeal more than the previous site we had been to, but somehow Berrybrae underwhelmed me a little in comparison. Its setting is a little scrappy and overgrown, but its ring-bank is clearer. Still, it’s easy to get to, and let’s face it – it is still pretty wonderful to be here and appreciate what is here. Drew tells me enough horror stories, during our travels, of cairn and circles destroyed nearby.

Memsie Burial Cairn — Images

<b>Memsie Burial Cairn</b>Posted by ruskus

Strichen — Images

<b>Strichen</b>Posted by ruskus<b>Strichen</b>Posted by ruskus<b>Strichen</b>Posted by ruskus

After a short detour to the astounding MEMSIE, we get lunch sorted, and talk music, politics and of course, all things megalithic, sitting at the parking spot near Strichen. Refreshed, we let Bess lead the way up to STRICHEN. By now the sky is bright, and shows this reconstruction off to its best. Although one orthostat lays flattened (by cattle apparently), this ring stands proud, looking uniformed and balanced on the hillside. Great views all around also help to make this a must visit site.

White Cow Wood — Images

<b>White Cow Wood</b>Posted by ruskus<b>White Cow Wood</b>Posted by ruskus

And finally, Drew took us back to WHITE COW WOOD, for more walking along empty forestry tracks. Bess was loving it, and my weak, old legs were pretending to as well. I hadn’t necessarily planned to visit here before linking up with Drew, but glad I did, as it’s a decent cairn. With its fallen mini-dolmen-like cist in the centre, it is a fair sized ring.

With the light fading, we left this corner of Aberdeenshire, and as I thanked Drew for his amazing help today and said my goodbyes to Bess the dog, I drove back to the City, already starting to work through tomorrow’s itinerary, but still trying to process all of today’s marvels. Superb.
Posted by ruskus
14th December 2018ce
Edited 21st December 2018ce

Comments (2)

That was a great day, cheers sir!!!! drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd December 2018ce
Cheers to you my friend! Without you it would've been a frustrated, shorter day, and without good company too. Posted by ruskus
23rd December 2018ce
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