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.
The great henge of Avebury, a circle with a village built right in the middle of it, is another of my favourites.
West Kennet and Silbury
Nearby is West Kennet Long Barrow where I once found a candle burning (very naughty, such things could cause damage):
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.
And just down the river, in the old graveyard, is 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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 neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance!
“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society
See the press release here
Read the article Roman Aberdeenshire features in author’s new book from Grampian Online.
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
From the Press and Journal: New book by Fraserburgh author highlights horrific extent of witch trials in Scotland
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
Review from the Historical Novel Society
82 Replies to “Stone Circles, Henges, Hills and a Barrow”
Glad you like!
Wonderful photographs.. a landscape that is very familiar in the north of us in Ireland where we lived for a number of years and where the ancient celts left their mounds and stones.. thanks for sharing my review for your lovely book…xx
Glad you like the photographs Sally, and thank you for the review 🙂
So interesting for those of us with the Bass family name.
Lovely and fascinating!
I love these pictures! It really makes me want to come visit!
I hope you get the chance!
Fascinating. Thank you.
A fine tour. Sue Francis introduced me to all sorts of standing stones, so I’m glad to see more.
I’m glad you like them Noelle 🙂
So interesting and so beautiful. No wonder it energizes your writing. Thanks for sharing to all of us who will never see such a thing.
Happy to share 🙂
Parson to her memory, Sue Vincent!
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!
Thank you 🙂
They quite spark imagination!
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…
How fascinating! I would love to visit them one day.
Such a fascinating place, your Scotland!
It really is.
And this Pictish stones …they are a magical…its almost window to the other times..great .
They are most intriguing!
Lovely pics. The stones must have a strong connection with Scotland’s fascinating history.
We certainly have a lot of them!
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.
Indeed, the stony artwork lasts and lasts. Yours sound beautiful.
Some gorgeous inspirations there – these sites are so atmospheric. Avebury is so spectacular!
The sheer size of it is breathtaking.
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. 🙂
I hope you get the chance to see them 🙂
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.
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.
Love em all !! Stones always hold an air of mystery. Great post, Thanks for sharing
Glad you liked it!
I loved seeing the stones, too! I can’t wait to read Fireflies and Chocolate! I’m reviewing it for Historical Novel Review Magazine.
I hope you enjoy it Dorothy!
I love Michael and Nivvie on shopping day and Ben Franklin!
I loved writing that part so much!
Amazing pics , thanks for sharing with us
You’re welcome 🙂
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
They do have some unique and mysterious designs.
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.
This is fascinating!
So many stories in those circles. Fantastic photo Ailish. 🙂
Thank you 🙂
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 🙂
The pinnacles sound beautiful.
They are absolutely stunning Ailish
Intriguing stuff, I love the history of these places, beautiful post
Thank you 🙂
These photos are amazing! I love learning about all the history behind these kind of things… thanks so much for this!
Glad you like!
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.
I’m so glad 🙂
These pictures are amazing! I love how the passage of time brings out individual characters in each stone. Thank you for sharing!
Each one is indeed different and unique.
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. 🙂
I’ve never been but I’ve read about the experiments done there. Amazing place.
Beautiful pictures. I always have this mystic feel about them when I see them.
Loved this! I’m a big fan of stone circles and other megalithic structures too! Great photos!
Thank you 🙂
Are you allowed to hug them? I’ve never seen standing stones in person but they look very huggable….
Yes, nice and huggable 🙂
Thank you 🙂
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.
I’m sure I would.
I love your photos, Ailish. Your country seems very beautiful. Filled with nature and history.
Thank you, we do have lots of history.
…and the stones will cry out their memory of the past.