Recumbent stone circles are a type of stone circle found only in parts of Scotland, in which a monolith (the recumbent) is positioned on its side in the centre. Around 90 such sites exist in Aberdeenshire alone, mostly dating from around 2000BC, although the dry-stone wall that encloses East Aquhorthies Stone Circle was erected more recently, sometime in the last 300 years.
Traditionally, the site was known as Easter Aquhorthies Stone Circle, and you may see some signs referring to the former name dotted around. Recently, Historic Environment Scotland has adopted the revised title, in line with the nearby farm of East Aquhorthies.
Due to its near circular shape, it is likely that East Aquhorthies Stone Circle was of the earliest of its type in Aberdeenshire. Measuring 19.5m in diameter, the site consists of a ring of grey granite flankers, approximately 2.3m high, and a 3.8m long recumbent stone of reddish granite that may have been sourced from nearby Bennachie.
Like many of the recumbent stone circles in Aberdeenshire, East Aquhorthies Stone Circle retains a palpable sense of mysticism, one of the few ways for modern visitors to immerse themselves in the thoughts of the prehistoric settlers who created this ancient wonder four millennia ago.
GETTING THERE AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Arriving by car
East Aquhorthies Stone Circle is located approximately 3 miles west of Inverurie, off the A96. Tourist signs direct you to a small car park near the site, which is accessed via a short walk across a field.
Arriving by bus
If travelling from Aberdeen or Huntly, take Stagecoach service 10 or 37 (Aberdeen – Huntly), disembarking at Inverurie. East Aquhorthies Stone Circle can then be reached on foot, at approximately 4 miles.
East Aquhorthies Stone Circle is open all day, 365 days a year.
Admission is free.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO NEARBY
• Bennachie Visitor Centre is the starting point for a variety of enjoyable walks through the Scots pine woodland that blankets the slopes of Bennachie, one of Aberdeenshire’s most recognisable natural formations. Abundant wildlife makes Bennachie a delight to experience, while a climb to the summit, over 500m above sea level, promises a reward of breath-taking panoramic views.
• The multi-award-winning Geek Bothy in Kemnay is a shopping experience like no other! This fascinating family-run gift shop is packed to the rafters with quirky, comical, and geeky products, many of which are the inspiration of local artists and makers.
PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK
Inverurie is blessed with a fantastic variety of eateries so, whatever your culinary preferences, you’re bound to find something to satisfy your cravings.
Yvi’s House of Tea is a café with a distinct German flavour, offering authentic creations that you’re unlikely to have tasted before (ever had a pretzel baguette?). Waffles and milkshakes are a favourite for children, while for those on a gluten-free diet, there are plenty of options.
Via Roma is a highly regarded Italian restaurant that combines authentic flavours with the finest Aberdeenshire produce. Attentive service and a warm welcome will help to make your evening memorable.
DID YOU KNOW…?
The recumbent stone at East Aquhorthies Stone Circle is believed to weigh approximately nine tonnes, making it heavier than an African elephant.