2023 Oot an Aboot
Stothill Woods 11 May
A total of 13 members and guests joined the outing to Stothill forest to see the historic remains that have been hidden in dense woodland for decades. Our guide was Ann Raeburn who has been exploring the forest for some time and without whom we would all have struggled to find the scatter of interesting remains. We crossed the old road linking Lumpnanan to Torphins and climbed almost to the top of Stot Hill to visit a large cattle enclosure, or was it a hill fort later adapted to a cattle enclosure? Opinions varied. We then moved on to Cairn Mude, a large cairn around 13m in diameter and 2m high. Is it Bronze age or Neolithic? No evidence has been found so far, but it has almost certainly been robbed of stones in the past.
More recent remains of the old crofts at Stothill and Colliestown on the south facing side of the hill were then visited. The tumbled drystone walls are all that remain of most of the buildings but they evoke the image of thatched roofs and hardy folk. The farm at Cairnmude is a more modern building with mortared walls and fireplaces but has lost its slated roof. The nearby byre still carries its roof but decay is setting in to the roof timbers
On the eastern flank of the hill lies the remains of a field system with a cluster of stone clearance cairns. Some of the cairns have been damaged in recent timber harvesting operations. We sincerely hope that more care will be taken to protect the features of historic interest in the next planned phase of tree felling. Our thanks go to Ann for all her explorations of the site and her efforts to guide us through the obstacle course of windblown trees.
Auchtavan 13 June
We had a great day for our trip to the old farm at Auchtavan. The weather ws bright and sunny, the views to Lochnagar and the surrounding hills were fabulous and, as always, the blether was interesting. Our outing was led by Simon Blackett from Braemar Community Limited who now look after the old farm steading. We were ab le to visit the old cottage with its “hingin lum” and cobbled floor and visit the farmhouse that used to be a retreat for the Queen Mother. Many thanks Simon for a great day out.
Torry 19 July
Peterhead Prison 23 August
In the 1830s the 18th Earl commissioned the Aberdeen architect John Smith to remodel the castle. This resulted in a virtual rebuilding of Slains in a Scots Baronial style, including granite facings, in 1836–1837. The gardens were laid out in the late 1890s by the landscape architect T. H. Mawson. In 1916 the 20th Earl of Erroll sold New Slains and it passed through two other owners before it was bought by Charles Brand Ltd, a Dundee-based demolition company who specialised in buying Scottish castles and mansions for demolition, and then making money from selling off masonry and other fittings. The demolition went ahead in the summer of 1925.