2024 Oot an Aboot

Tap o North 29 May

Despite the forecast for heavy rain showers, which proved accurate, nine hardy members set out to explore Tap o North near Rhynie. The name Rhynie derives from the old Celtic word for King and the excavations by Aberdeen University from 2022 – 2018 proved that there was a large ceremonial complex in a field at Barflat Farm. But where did all the people live? That question was not answered until a LiDAR Survey was carried out on Tap 0 North.

The survey revealed approximately 800 platforms that had been leveled so that round houses could be built on the steep slope. These are all enclosed by a wall circling the upper slopes of the hill. It is estimated that up to 4,000 people lived here between 300 and 600 AD.

Our intrepid group
Vitrified stones

At the summit of the hill is the Iron Age fort. This dates from 400 – 100 BC. The walls were 6m thick and built of stone interlaced with timber. At some point the timber spars were set on fire and the resultant high temperatures fused some of the stones together. By the time we got this far the rain had turned quite heavy so, after a quick hot drink, we headed back downhill.

We rounded off the visit with an inspection of the Pictish symbol stones which are kept near the graveyard in Rhynie