Thunders and lightnings. And rain, so much rain! These have been the weather conditions in the last 48 hours. On Friday we looked at the weather forecast on telly and knew that some heavy clouds were coming from Ireland. "No problem" we thought "We are going to visit some souterrains tomorrow: we shall spend most of the time underground". But the following morning, in a pouring rain, we discovered that Tealing, Carlungie and Ardestie souterrains are all... roofless!! However, in a way or another we managed to take some pictures of them and of two stone circles: Ardblair, cut in two by the B947 road and Scone, a little ring now engulfed in a garden full of flowers within a modern housing. Because of its odd position, it may look a bit artificial to a megalithic enthusiast, but it is a pretty site anyway.
In the morning, we also visited Newbigging stone. Forgotten in the grass beyond a farm, it is an interesting boulder covered by cup and ring marks. AT 4 pm, feeling wet and miserable, we decided to rest in Montrose, where we sheltered into the local museum. It is small but nice, with interesting prehistoric findings, Pictish carvings, a natural history and a maritime section. Among the stuffed animals we were able to recognize and name some of the birds that fly and sing on the moor where we walk looking for stones (by the way, how many they are! In Italy birds are more and more scared of humans. And probably more and more shot by hunters). In the maritime section there are also lots of interesting things to look at: one of them is a frantic message found in a bottle a century ago (it was written 80 years before by a brigantine captain which dramatically describes that only three men were still alive, that they had no more water and had eaten the dog the day before).
Yesterday we left to the two imposing hillforts called the Caterthuns. We walked uphill to both (720 and 380m), took our photos and our "daily allowance" of rain and lost ourselves in the minor roads around. Then we drove to Banchory. In the local tourist information center, a very kind lady showed us the right way to the local beautiful stone cirles (Eslie the Greater, Eslie the Lesser and Nine Stanes). She also gave us some interesting leaflets on some archaeological sites by the Aberdeenshire council and by the Grampian regional council. It is astonishing for us Italians to discover how many helpful info centers for tourists are in Great Britain: we have so few good ones in our country!
Under thunders and lightnings (and some rain, of course) we reached the three stone circles. Eslie the Greater lies in a field: there was some cattle there. When we passed over the gate we thought they were peaceful cows. When we arrived at the site one of the lying cows got up and... gosh, it wasn't a cow. It was a huge bull! We slowly had to go back to the gate and use a telephoto lens...
We are now drying our clothes in a warm little hotel in Kincardine O'Neil. With a direct dial telephone in our room, so getting connected to the Net is not a problem!
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