A couple of years ago, I decided to search for the Hanging Stone near Rosehearty, here in Aberdeenshire. It’s another witch stone, a place of historical execution and, according to local folklore, ‘dooking’ as well.
I’ve reached the stage in my current malady of being able to sit at my desk for short times, but obviously I’m not able to run around the countryside visiting interesting places. But I can write about the ones already visited. So here we go.
I knew the stone was in the vicinity of the Mounthooly Doocot (pigeon house), pictured above and below, so headed there. *experiences mild jealousy of past self, so gung ho in the ability to just get up and go out*
Turning 360 degrees, searching the skyline, the stone was finally spotted, embedded in a dry stane dyke. That’s a dry stone wall; there’s a great art and skill to building these traditional field boundaries.
I walked from the Mounthooly car park, along narrow roads and then up the field.
And there it was. Quite tall, much taller than me, wrapped round with barbed wire, which seemed somehow fitting given the stones dark past.
The Hanging Stone is quite possibly an ancient standing stone which later came to be used in the way it’s named for now. It’s very square. Carved that way, I think.
Nearby is The Pit, which was used for lesser punishments than death. The dooking, I imagine, as it is said to have been ‘for witches’. Dooking involved testing someone in water to see if they would sink or float and thereby prove if they were a witch or not. I did not see The Pit, and, as I walked away, focused my attention on the great beauty of the ocean views.
And back here, today, at my desk, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD has a blurb:
When Morragh speaks to another person for the very first time, she has no idea that he is an invader in her land.
What she does next constitutes a huge betrayal of her people, threatening her closest relationships and even her way of life itself.
As the conflict between the Caledonian tribes and the Roman Sons of Mars intensifies, can she use her high status in the community to lessen the coming death toll or even prevent outright war?
Set in 1st century Northern Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD is a story of chosen sisters, fierce warriors, divided loyalties and, ultimately, love.
Already published books:
Set in an Aberdeenshire castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, a stone circle, and a love story.
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen and is set in both Scotland and Colonial Pennsylvania.
“Filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society