Friday morning arrived, donning a beautiful forget-me-not blue sky. It was a perfect day as far as Grace was concerned for just hanging out in Lindsay’s hammock in his backyard.
While Grace languished and soaked up the beautiful day, Errin and I ventured out together into the countryside once again, just the two of us, which was kind of a nice change, actually.
A visit to Scotland is not complete unless you have visited some very ancient Stone Circles or Pictish Standing Stones. Errin expressed a keen desire to visit these types of ancient sites during the planning stage of our vacation. I made sure to include a few good examples of them on our itinerary.
Luckily, there are several stone circles located quite close to Aberdeen that are easily accessed. I decided to share three different sites that I had previously visited with Lindsay in years past that I thought would serve as good examples.
They were each unique and offered a nice variety of the types you might encounter.
There were also a couple of castles that I thought she would enjoy in the same general area as the Stone Circles I planned to show her and so our plans promised a full day of adventures.
Our first stop, Castle Fraser, is only about 14 miles west of Aberdeen. The Frew surname is listed as a sept of the Fraser Clan from way back when and although we do not have any ancestors that I know of that are associated with this particular castle, we still have a bit of a connection to the clan through the surname.
After the short drive, we parked the car and began following the meandering pathway through the woodland garden in the direction of the castle. It led us directly to the gate of the walled garden.
We strolled around this delightful garden for a little while, admiring its beauty. There were many blooms in every color of the rainbow even this late in the season and the butterflies were certainly enjoying their succulent nectar.
We walked out of the garden through the gate on the opposite side of the garden that we had entered to reveal yet more colorful flowers bordering the other side of the wall!
Another fantastic view was also revealed – the Castle!
We walked around the perimeter and then entered the castle at the front door to enjoy the wonderful guided tour they offer. I’ve written a couple of blogs about Castle Fraser and its contents in previous blog posts so I won’t repeat myself in this one. It’s a great tour with lots to see and stairs to climb to various levels. You also get to climb all the way to the top and stand out on the decking of the highest tower that has the flag flying above it. From that height, you can experience the wonderful views of the surrounding countryside and the gardens below.
Our next stop was just a short drive of about 7 miles. We were about to see the first of three Stone Circles we would explore the rest of the afternoon. The first was at Midmar Church. The Stone Circle is actually within the churchyard walls right next to the headstones. Errin was pretty impressed when she saw it. They also provide some decent interpretive signage on site that explains the history and what is believed to have been the purpose of the Stone Circles in prehistoric times 4-5,000 years ago. Errin was fascinated.
She particularly enjoyed that and was eager to visit another. Next, I took her to another one about a mile or so away, but it is in a more remote location out in a farmer’s field. It’s called Sun Honey Stone Circle and it is completely fenced off for protection with a gate you can open to enter. There is a marked narrow pathway leading to it and quite easy to access IF you know where to look. You just follow this short straight path along the fence to the group of trees beyond. The circle is inside the trees.
Unlike the churchyard, the grass is not mown and the area is natural which I think gives it an added charm. These ancient sites are so fascinating to me. Errin and I both enjoyed sitting in its midst and experiencing the calmness of the place pondering its existence and purpose long, long ago.
Errin is a bit ‘sensitive’ to the spirit world. She has been since she was a small child. While she visited this particular stone circle she had a rather unique experience. After initially exploring the circle together by meandering around each of the stones and ending up at the recumbent stones and its flanking stones, she then gravitated toward the middle to find the exact center. I continued to meander amongst the stones and around the periphery of the circle. While she stood in the center, she noticed that when I came into the confines of the circle she could feel the energy shift slightly, or completely stop. “No offense, Mom, but would you do me a favor and stay outside of the circle for a few minutes? In fact, turn off your phone and don’t take any pictures either. I sense the electronic device also might have an influence.”
“Interesting,” I replied. So I stayed well outside of the boundary of the circle, turned off my phone, and observed her while she remained at its center point. She stood there for quite a while. I could tell by her posture that she was using centering and grounding techniques she learned in yoga classes and that she was turning her attention inward and paying particular attention to what she was feeling within her body.
She remained there for quite some time, concentrating while also changing the position of her hands and arms in slow and methodical motions. I just kept observing from a distance, watching her and everything else in the vicinity. Although she didn’t say anything at the time, she told me later she could easily feel the energy all around her when she stood quietly in the exact center, and that she could feel the flow of energy particularly through the palms of her hands resting at her side.
While I was observing what Errin was doing inside the parameter of the circle I also paid attention to what was going on around the outside of it. There is a circle of trees surrounding and other trees scattered within the fenced area that the stone circle sits in. I noticed that the leaves on the trees were gently fluttering in a calm breeze that came and went. That seemed normal, but then I noticed a distinct pattern emerging. The leaves would all be fluttering but I didn’t feel a particular breeze myself or feel my hair being blown about my face, mind you. Then suddenly, the trees would all go very still and lifeless. Then, again they would begin fluttering, and suddenly, instantly, and simultaneously, stop. Over and over again. “That’s odd!” I mused to myself and turned my attention back to Errin once again standing in the center of the circle.
She was still standing there in the same place facing the same southerly direction but I noticed she was turning her palms to face in various directions, sometimes facing upward, sometimes turned down. I know this might sound a bit strange or ‘out there’ a bit, I even questioned it at the time, and shook my head as if I was ‘seeing things,’ but when I watched the trees, using just my periphery vision, I also kept track of what her hands were doing, I realized they were correlating with one another. Whenever she turned her palms up the breeze fluttered the leaves, when the palms turned down, everything became still – instantly! Now that was strange indeed! I’ve never witnessed anything like that before.
At first, I thought it to be just coincidental. She stayed in the circle for a little while longer and then opened her eyes, breathed in deep breaths and completed another yoga type stretch. I began to approach the circle and asked if it was ok to do so and she said yes. Afterward, she and I talked about what she had experienced and I shared with her what I had observed. She mentioned that while she was standing there concentrating, she could feel energy running through the palm of her hands and she had a particular feeling, a realization, that she had the power to control the wind somehow. She asked if I noticed anything related to what she felt. I shared with her what I had just witnessed that she couldn’t see because her eyes were closed and her head bent down. We both thought this was extremely fascinating, but we both still kind of doubted it. We decided to try an experiment.
She went back into the center of the circle and aligned herself once again. We didn’t talk or say anything to prompt one another. I just observed. She concentrated. Just like before. Sure enough, she did it again, and again, and again. The leaves would flutter in the mild breeze until suddenly they would all instantaneously become completely still every time she wanted them to. It was rather intriguing, to say the least! We were amazed. We began walking back to our parked car. On our way back, she also asked me, “By the way, while I was standing in the circle, did you happen to hear a horn?”
I told her, “No, I didn’t hear a horn. You mean like a car horn?”
“No, more like an instrument. Like one of those old horns made from an animal such as a bull horn. It’s low and deep and sounds similar to how a Conche shell sounds.”
“Well, in that case, no, I am absolutely sure I did NOT hear a horn, but that’s also extremely noteworthy!”
“I also heard a horn when we were at Midmar, but dismissed it and didn’t mention it,” she noted.
The afternoon was beginning to wane so we headed a little further down the road on the way back toward Aberdeen to the third and final Stone Circle – Cullerlie. This one did not have the same level of energy than the previous, Errin noted, but she did hear the horn again, although it sounded like it was off in the distance somewhere. There weren’t any deciduous trees around with leaves that could flutter, just fir or pine with very stiff needles, so she couldn’t test her theory with the wind at this location. All the same, each circle offered its own brand of experience and Errin was glad to have visited each of them.
About two miles further we arrived at Drum Castle to finish off the day. Unfortunately, it was later in the afternoon than we had realized and its doors had already closed for the day so we couldn’t tour that castle as well. Luckily, however, the restrooms remained unlocked and we were thankful for that.
We walked around the castle a bit, taking a few photos and enjoying a small portion of the gardens before heading back to Lindsay’s house and calling it a day.
What a day it was, definitely one well-spent. A very special, and unique, mother-daughter day spent making unique memories out in the Scottish countryside. It just doesn’t get better than that!