Monday, 26 July 2010

March Stones 12 to 15 ABD - Cults & Bieldside

More March Stones, you know, the stones which mark the boundaries of Aberdeen's 'Freedom Lands'. You know, the lands 'gifted' to Aberdeen by Robert the Bruce in 1319. You know... oh never mind. Read this:

Leopard Mag 'Aberdeen's Stones of Time'.

Having walked the straight line along Craigton Road from Mannofield to Rocklands for stones 7 ABD to 11 ABD, we now descend Friarsfield Road (one of many braes in or around Aberdeen known as "Jacob's Ladder") into the valley of the Cults Burn, where we find stone 12 ABD.

Stone 13 is at the very summit of Cults. Just keep going up until you can't go up any more. We had a lot of trouble finding this stone - it would be much easy to find in the winter. Eventually we resorted to asking dog-walkers. The first, a teenager, looked at us as if we were talking Mandarin. The second, a middle-aged woman, was happy to help, knew what we were looking for and knew where it was. Though she did say that she'd always thought it marked a grave, or just the summit (like a trig-point) or a milestone. She was fascinated to hear about what the stone actually meant. We could barely get away.

Anyhow, while you're there, go and take a look at the Cults quarry - again, surprisingly difficult to find in the summer.

And so to stone 14 ABD. What a nightmare.

It's right by a primary school. The first time we went to look for this stone, it was in term-time and it was lunchtime. The noise of seven-hundred children playing was simply unbearable, it was like a washing-machine on high-speed spin. The stone is well-hidden and we just couldn't concentrate on looking for it because of the noise. Eventually, we thought that we looked so dodgy hanging about the bushes close to a primary school with cameras in our hands that we just gave up.

But, now that it's holiday time, and the school is closed, we could take our time, relax, concentrate, and after some rooting about eventually found the stone. Whew.

After that, stone 15 ABD is thankfully a doddle and is visible from quite some distance on Bailieswells Road.

While you're in the area, go and see the Bieldside Cairn. Huge. Impressive. 4000 years old - about the same as the pyramids. The early farming people who built this clearly had time and a large economic surplus on their hands. The individual for whom it was build must have been either greatly feared or greatly respected. Perhaps both. There is, of course, no way we can ever know.

These interesting houses are in the area around stone 15 ABD:

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