Marriage and Honeymoon

Colin Kreps threw his lot in with me – and took my surname – on 27th August 2014 – and we went back to Skye, and then for a week on the Isle of Arran, for our honeymoon. There is a full website detailing the ceremony and the honeymoon at

Northumbrian Megalithic adventures

In May 2014 Colin and I spent a week in Northumbria, discovering stones, and especially rock art.

Aberdeenshire 3

Today, after a lie in, we went for a walk at Burn o’Vat – a huge meltwater kettle hole left over from the glacial times that shaped most of the landscape in Scotland. Here we found that it wasn’t just a hole you could look into, but one you could walk into and examine from its bottom – very impressive!

Burn o'Vat

From there we took a walk around Lock Kinold – 4.25miles in total – past delightful little coves of water lillies and bullrushes, overlooking ancient lake villages, in the shadow of more recent Celtic Cross stones. A really lovely walk indeed.

Loch Kinold
Loch Kinold


Lastly, on what was turning out to be a quiet day after Monday and Tuesday’s excursions, we paid a visit to the nearby Balronald Wood, where there is a recumbent stone circle with a (later) central cairn. This site is completely overgrown and uncared for, but clearly still visited by those who have respect for it.

Click on any picture in these blog posts to see all the photos in the Aberdeenshire set on Flickr

Aberdeenshire 2

Crathes CastleToday’s excursion was simpler and more scenic. We headed first due east to Crathes Castle. This was the seat of the Burnett family from 1323, when Robert the Bruce gave them lands. According to one information sheet at the Castle, (though reported as ‘disputed’ on the web, e.g. Scotweb, who suggest they may have been French) the Burnetts were originally Anglo-Saxon nobles from Bedfordshire, displaced by William the Conqueror, and two branches of the family exiled themselves to Scotland, one branch ending up in Aberdeenshire. The Castle here now was built by Alexander Burnett in 1596, and its contents largely destroyed by a fire in 1966, at which point the then Laird gave the place to the National Trust for Scotland, who have restored it well, and filled it with lots of historical nik-naks to surround the scant remnants of Burnett family life that survive.

My principal interest in visiting, however, is that in the ‘Warren Field,’ a short walk down the hill from the Castle, in 2004, archaeologists found the footings of a huge Neolithic Timber Hall.

This came to my attention in July this year, when a National Trust news story arrived in my inbox revealing that further study of what had been excavated pointed to a Mesolithic Soli-Lunar Calendar in the same field. Yes – a Mesolithic Calendar, dating some five thousand years older than any time measuring device in the Middle East, to 8000BC in Aberdeenshire. This is quite Earth shattering news for the world of Archaeology, and the Birmingham University Archaeologists who did this work are to be congratulated on this ground breaking work. Follow the links for more information.

From Crathes, we took road to the coast for a light lunch in a seaside pub in Stonehaven Harbour – a lovely sleepy fishing village fond of its rugby.


Taking the scenic route home, we headed south-west first down to Fettercairn, and then back north-east up the Cairn o Mount road, getting an amazing view of Stonehaven from 1493ft above it!


Finally, on the home stretch, we stopped at Aboyne cemetry to walk up the path into the woods and visit the delightful little Aboyne Stone Circle – just five stones remaining of what looked like could have been 8 or even 10. This seemed of a much older lineage than the Early Bronze Age recumbent stone circles we saw yesterday, but sported, nonetheless, a fine fleshy-pink granite stone amongst its remaining stones. Lovely ambience, under the trees, a peaceful, magical place.

Aboyne Stone Circle

Click on any picture in these blog posts to see all the photos in the Aberdeenshire set on Flickr

Megalithic Megamix in Aberdeenshire

So here we are – my partner Colin and I – staying in a little cottage in Royal Deeside, exploring Aberdeenshire. As is my wont – and indeed much of the reasoning behind the choice of location – a good part of our holiday will be devoted to visiting ancient sites, and, after arriving late Saturday and having a lazy Sunday, today has been our first major excursion into the ancient landscape around us.

We devoted today to visiting the major recumbent stone circles in the area – so called because of the style of circle unique to North . . . → Read More: Megalithic Megamix in Aberdeenshire


– the ‘Chocolate Bar’ those aware of Climate Change hope the ‘Yet-to-be-convinced’ will bite into. Face it – we’re already fucked – the unprecedented weird-out in global weather patterns over the last few years is warning enough to the observant – but the least we can do is warn the idiots who haven’t got it yet about the floodwaters/dustbowls/generation-defining storms that are coming for them right now…. I’m off to the house-and-veg-garden-on-top-a-hill I’ve been dreaming of moving to…(I hope)

Global Weirding :BBC Horizon

Interesting dilemma

I am quite a fan of the Apple ecosystem, with my iPhone 4S, iPad2, and MacAir. But I also enjoy – and use – many Google products, too, such as Docs/Drive, and, of course, on my smartphone, GoogleMaps. It is interesting to see Tim Cook apologising for the poor quality of Apple Maps in iOS6. However, until it is clear that this has greatly improved, although I may update the iPad, I am very reluctant to upgrade my phone’s software to iOS6, and thereby lose the GoogleMaps app native to iOS5. The war between Apple and Google is starting to . . . → Read More: Interesting dilemma

The Moors – Sept 2012

The North Yorks Moors are, it must be said, completely covered in the traces of our prehistoric ancestors. Although obviously the traces in the lowlands have not fared anywhere near as well as those on the heights around Britain – particularly since the advent of agribusiness in the late 20th century – it seems also true to say that there was something special, for our ancestors, about the uplands – especially when certain high peaks could be seen for miles around, and monuments set with sightlines to those peaks. There are several such ‘sacred hills’ in the North Yorks moors . . . → Read More: The Moors – Sept 2012

North Yorkshire, Sept 2012

This summer’s tourism is more generally Neolithic than specifically Megalithic, and closer to home than Spring’s sojourn to the Mediterranean. I am in North Yorkshire – staying in a little cottage in Helmsley – and have hippy rock musician Julian Cope’s ‘Modern Antiquarian’ (1998) with me, along with Teeside Archaeological Society’s Brian Smith and Alan Walker’s excellent ‘Rock Art & Ritual’ (2008) all about the unique Neolithic Rock Art of the North Yorks Moors, and Durham Archaeology Professor Chris Scarre’s ‘Megalithic Monuments of Britain and Ireland’ (2007) for more general reference. I also have OS Landranger Maps 94, 99, 100, . . . → Read More: North Yorkshire, Sept 2012

Corsica, May 2012, part two

Wednesday was my trip through the heart of Corsica, taking in the Bronze Age sites of Cucuruzzu and Capula: the former rather dull, in all honesty, the latter re-occupied in the Middle Ages by Count Bianco, who ruled the whole of southern Corsica from here, leaving barely any trace of the earlier Bronze Age site save a single statue-menhir now reconstituted and erected at the entrance.

The Prehistoric Museum at Levie was well worth it – a regional museum with artefacts from Cucuruzzu and Capula and other sites around the south of the island, including the Dame . . . → Read More: Corsica, May 2012, part two