Stone Circles, Henges, Hills and a Barrow

Aikey Brae, one of my favourite stone circles

It’s no secret that I love stone circles and other old stony places. I visit them. A lot. I hug them. Quite a bit. And I write about them. Aikey Brae, above, is my absolute favourite. The circle in my books is loosely based on this one. I’ve blogged about it here in the snow and here after the trees were felled.

Today I’m sharing some older photos of ancient sites that I’ve not used before, so they may not be too perfect, but I hope they capture the spirit of these special places.

First, I’m going back in time, deep into the family photo archives, and journeying out of Scotland to Wiltshire in England.

Avebury

Avebury stone circle

The great henge of Avebury, a circle with a village built right in the middle of it, is another of my favourites.

Peeking round a stone at Avebury
Avebury

West Kennet and Silbury

Nearby is West Kennet Long Barrow where I once found a candle burning (very naughty, such things could cause damage):

candle in West Kennet Long Barrow
West Kennet

Across the road from the barrow is the mysterious Silbury Hill.

Aberdeenshire Stone Circles

We have a nice wee henge in Aberdeenshire too at Broomend of Crichie, and the shape of the stones really remind me of Avebury. As does the fact that there was once an avenue of stones leading to the circle.

Broomend of Crichie stone circle

And just down the river, in the old graveyard, is the Bass of Inverurie.

The Bass of Inverurie

The Bass is a natural hill that has been shaped. It’s been home to a Motte and Bailey castle and there have been older worked flint objects found there too.

Did someone create a diminutive complex similar to that of Avebury? I wonder…

Some lovely Pictish stones stand beside the Bass today, un-huggable in their new glass case.

Pictish stones by the Bass of Inverurie

The countryside of the Inverurie area is rich in standing stones and circles too. Easter Aquorthies lies a couple of miles away from the Bass. I’ve blogged about it here.

Easter Aquorthies Stone Circle

And, not too far away, is Loanhead of Daviot Recumbent Stone Circle, one that I’m writing about just now as it plays a part in the story of SISTERS.

At Daviot:

Ailish at Loanhead of Daviot Recumbent Stone Circle

Wonderful Blogs

The Wee Writing Lassie asked me 7 intrusive questions! Go to her blog to see them.

Sally Cronin reviewed FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE on her wonderful Smorgasbord Blog Magazine: “This book is well researched, bringing history to life and the writing flows smoothly like hot chocolate as it warms on a cold day. It is a coming of age and love story which will have you holding your breath on occasion as Elizabeth comes to terms with her future.See the whole review here.

Tyrebagger stone circle
Tyrebagger Circle near Aberdeen

I hope you’ve enjoyed my wee journey into the ancient past. Sign up to my mailing list if you would like more of this ilk in your inbox.

Books (stone circle included!)

Sisters at the Edge of the World cover

Set in 1st century Scotland, my latest novel, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodiverse main character and some rather complicated romance!

See the press release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Read the article Roman Aberdeenshire features in author’s new book from Grampian Online.

Cover of Ailish Sinclair's 'The Mermaid and the Bear'

Taking place mainly in a fictional castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story.

See the press release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

From the Press and Journal: New book by Fraserburgh author highlights horrific extent of witch trials in Scotland 

Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair, out 2021

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children and young people of Aberdeen. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate!

See the publisher’s Press Release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Review from the Historical Novel Society

Castle Fraser Circle
Path through crop to Castle Fraser stone circle

My About Page 

82 Replies to “Stone Circles, Henges, Hills and a Barrow”

  1. Ailish..it’s not a mystery that I missed You … you don’t even know how glad I was to see your name in the mail …new article…. as always a beautiful words, a beautiful photo, thanks! Specially from Silburry Hill… I wish You all the best, fairy girl!

  2. Wonderful and fascinating! In case you are unaware, you should try and get down Antequera in southern Spain – no stone circles, but three fabulous dolmens from the same megalithic epoch (especially La Menga https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolmen_of_Menga) . Many of us associate standing stones with northern civilizations but there are some amazing megalithic examples as far away as the middle east, especially on and around the Golan heights (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rujm_el-Hiri). Many biblical historians and archaeologists even suggest that the sacred groves, so detested by the Hebrew prophets were actually groups of standing stones…

  3. Like your rocky fascination. Australia has some of the oldest rocks (if not the oldest – don’t want to sound Texan) in the world and we have some wonderful first nations rock art, much of it up to and perhaps older than 60,000 years.
    Love those standing stones and swirls of Celtic statements re I’m here; what is it about stones and the human desire to make artistic statements that are lasting.

  4. The pictures are so beautiful and magical. It’s really fascinating how the stones remain in good shape. They are vital links to history, different shapes and textures. Would love to hug one myself. Must see them someday. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

  5. Are the Inverurie stones in their glass case now? We went to see them maybe a couple of years ago and they weren’t there! I think they were just about to install the glass case unfortunately and we timed our visit perfectly wrongly.

    1. This was a couple of years ago too. I was worried that they had disappeared but then there they were, encased, by the second mound.

  6. Fascinating to see the Pictish art. the circle motifs are commonplace in art of that time but the Pictish style seems unique compared to other Celtic art forms

  7. Interesting photos, indeed! I’ve been doing a little online reading about Wiltshire. It was where my uncle and other soldiers in the U.S. armored divisions trained during World War II. I’ve been trying to trace his footsteps throughout the war so I could write about his experiences, and the Salisbury Plain near Wiltshire was one of the first steps before the D-day landings in Normandy.

  8. Fabulous images…I love the history and mystery behind Silbury Hill…When we visited out daughter in WA she took us to see The Pinnacles natural limestone structures which are said to be 25,000- 30,000 years old…so beautiful ethereal and eerie at the same time…Beautiful post 🙂

  9. Love seeing these pictures. I just finished reading Gaiman’s Graveyard Book and it had a barrow in it. This helped me visualize it so much better, and see its significance a bit better too.

  10. Have you ever been to the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire? They’re supposed to be impossible to count! Impressive anyway – as are all your photos. 🙂

  11. We are in South West Scotland on the Rhins peninsula and last week we visited Rispain Camp near Glasserton on the Machars around the bay from us it looks very similar to your photo (2nd down) an interesting but very windy spot. Wigtownshire has a wealth of barrows, stone circles and early Christian settlements – you would love wandering around here.

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