Stone circles and whisky

Today we went in search of some stone circles. Humans have lived in Aberdeenshire for thousands of years and there are lots of important archaeological sites here including some strange and intriguing stone circles. They don’t really know what these were used for but I’ve read they may have astronomical significance and/or they were used as burial grounds.

There’s one stone circle very close to Ballater in the village of Aboyne. Instructions on the web said to park next to the cemetery and it would be a short walk from there. There were no signs to the site from the carpark so it took us about an hour to find it after wandering lost through the woods. None of our phones had any network connection so we had to rely on old-fashioned technology: asking directions from locals. It was surprising the number of locals who had no idea the stone circle existed. Eventually we asked the husband of an archaeologist and he knew exactly where they were and took us there.

The woods themselves were beautiful. Here’s a bit of the forest we spent an hour wandering in search of some rocks in:


The stones themselves:


The fellow who took us to the stones told us this collection is known as a four-poster since the four main stones are laid out like a four-poster bed. Here’s my sister and her family:


Just 10 minutes up the road from this spot is a more famous stone circle, Tomnaverie. We went there next and it was larger and positioned on the top of a hill where there were lovely views in all directions. Tomnaverie is 4500 years old and it has what is called a recumbent stone which looked like a large stone table. I can only imagine what humans might have used this for – some kind of sacrifice maybe, or perhaps it was used for ceremonial purposes when someone died, or maybe they just ate their dinner off it.


My sister:



After all this ancient history there was only one thing left to do and that was to visit a whisky distillery. We went to the Royal Lochnager Distillery which is very close to Ballater. There was some snow on the ground in the carpark there which kept the kids entertained for ages.




It was set in a beautiful location and the staff were very friendly and knowledgeable. We got to go and check out all the wooden barrels of whiskey and even have a sniff from some of the barrels:


And yes, we tasted some whisky. I really don’t like whisky very much but I was able to gag down a couple of sips. Ben loves whisky though and he enjoyed it very much. Fortunately I really like the smell of whisky on his breath 🙂

15 Replies to “Stone circles and whisky”

  1. Sounds like you all had a rather interesting time! was intrigued to read about these stones myself. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The stones were fascinating and I find them extra interesting because some of my ancestors come from this part of the world and so I imagine them building these circles.

  2. You were lucky that the archaeologist’s husband was able to help you find those rocks. Lovely shots. I’m not crazy about whiskey either. I’d like a chance to compare the various kinds and see if there’s much of a difference.

    1. Yes, the archaeologist’s husband was out walking his dog in the woods as were lots of other people. It was a gorgeous spot.

  3. Stone circles are strange places with many theories about there use. I sometimes wonder what the ancients believed, how it affected their lives and what caused them to make such efforts. If we lost all our historical records, I wonder what people of the future would think of our strange behaviour.

    That makes no sense. Why would he come down the chimney Merry Xmas. 🙂

    1. Or why did they chop down all their trees and make lots of plastic ones? That’s just the dumbest thing ever.

  4. Nice to see blue skies and sunshine (even tho it looks jolly cold!) 🙂 And if you had to spend an hour looking for stones that forest was a wonderful place to do it in 🙂 You can find these stone circles all over the UK in the oddest places. So glad your kids found a little snow! I am sure before winter is over they will have plenty! 🙂

    1. We all loved our walk through the forest, it was a lovely forest with a soft mossy floor. There’s quite a bit of native forest in these parts because they reminded Prince Albert of the Black Forest in Germany and so Queen Victoria made sure they were protected.

      1. That is a great story 🙂 I am all for preserving as much of nature as we can. I wonder if there are wolves somewhere in Scotland now?

  5. A hugely minor point I believe whiskey is for the Irish stuff and whiskey for the Irish, pour scorn on me if I’m wrong. Sounded a great day though!

    1. Ah you are so right and that’s a major point. I’ve corrected all the spellings in my post to whisky. Thank you!

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