Aberdeenshire is an intriguing mix of ancient history and modern day agriculture that creates genuine arranging conflicts for these searching for the breath-taking beauty of the western highlands. Nowhere else in Scotland is as densely populated with castles and ancient stones, and even though the landscape right here is not as ruggedly mesmerizing as the Isle of Skye, Wester Ross, or Lochaber, it has a pastoral pleasantry that wraps about these ancient areas like a present bow.
A single of the most awesome elements of this wealthy density of history is that quite a few of the ancient areas are not even marked on maps. You have to scour the web to determine these areas in farm fields, lonely hills, and even front yards! But after you have performed the homework to locate your targets you are in the marketplace for some enthralling exploration.
Just before my travels about Aberdeenshire final spring I did just this (image Gandalf blowing dust from scrolls beneath Minas Tirith) and winnowed down my selected web pages to a handful along my route. A single of the favorites I turned up was the Picardy Stone, a two-meter tall Pictish symbol stone close to the town of Insch, not far from the major A97 road operating among Aberdeen and Moray.
Leaving the outskirts of Insch and proceeding down an oak-lined lane among two farm fields, I quickly noticed a smaller enclosure close to the road. I pulled more than and very easily discovered a towering stone — not all that distinct from the Maiden Stone‘s predicament — thrust out from a bed of crushed gravel at the finish of an emerald field. In the distance I could see Dunnideer Hill, which is a good hike itself.
The origin of the Picardy Stone’s name is lost to history, but what is not lost is the stone’s original erecting location since it is nonetheless right here. This is quite uncommon in Scotland — stones fall more than, get moved by irascible farmers, and at some point locate their way into glass enclosures or museums. This monolith is nominally protected by a gate that actually only serves to retain out livestock, so I was in a position to get up and close and private with this magnificent piece of history.
We know valuable small about the Pictish stones. We can catalog the enigmatic symbols that decorate the Picardy Stone, but we can not interpret them. In reality, the signboard accompanying the stone posits no much less than 3 meanings for the symbols in 3 sentences.
We do know that the stone was likely erected about 600 AD, and…yep, that is the extent of our expertise. The Picts reused quite a few symbols on their stones, like the double-disc and Z-road appearing on the leading of the Picardy Stone. Beneath them you will see the Z-rod once more, this time with the serpent.
What does it all imply? Are they pictographs like hieroglyphics? Are the stones burial markers? The boundaries of land ownership? Anything far much less mundane and significantly far more mystical?
The Picardy Stone is one of a kind in one more way. The remains of a burial cairn and an empty grave-shaped pit had been discovered subsequent to and beneath the Picardy Stone.
I stood right here awhile soaking in the historic magnificence and sensing the subtle breezes. Words do not do justice to areas like this. There’s a energy right here, mainly forgotten, largely nonetheless present, waiting for an open thoughts to see it with a distinct eye.