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  • Writer's pictureLilly

Easter Aquhorthies Recumbent Stone Circle

Today Luna and I had a morning wander over to Easter Aquhorthies Recumbent Stone Circle. Recumbent Stone Circles are prehistoric sites unique to northeast Scotland. They were erected between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago! This one is a particularly impressive example because of how intact it is. All 11 stones are present and standing. Except of course for the deliberately horizontal or “recumbent” stone. In this circle you can really see how the people valued the different types of rock, apparently placing them based on their color at this site. We will never know for sure the purpose of these circles, but it is known that the recumbent and flanking stones frame the rising and setting midsummer moon. So its possible that the farmers used them for lunar observations to track seasons. Its also possible that they were intended to symbolically mark the passage of a tomb. A vague sentence on the information board quite intrigued me - “The circle has been shown to have acoustic properties.” I’d love to know more about that!

The interior of the circle hasn’t been excavated, from what I’ve read. There is a rise in the middle, so it’s possible there is a ring cairn underneath, which would hold any number of mysteries from various points in history. It’s generally believed that the erecting of the stone circle is the final phase of the structure, so what is in the interior would most likely predate the circle.

The circle itself is completely fenced in, with steps leading into the center. Since we were alone and fenced in, I let Luna off leash to obsess over a stick, sniff a bit around the circle, and resume stick obsessing. She has become a posing pro, and knows the routine down pat. “Oh here she comes asking me to sit in a certain spot, guess its time to look at the camera again…..Oooh, stick!” How appropriate to be exposing a lunar circle with a dog named Luna.

After taking a closer look at the stones and taking in the view for a bit, I leashed Luna back up and we had a nice little walk around the wood behind the circle. There were rows of beeches with their fresh bright green leaves coming out and masses of branches creating a lacework of sorts against the sky. The center of the wood was thick with tall thin evergreens tightly huddled together - it had “haunted wood”’ written all over it!

On the walk back down to the car, I saw a man with a greyhound approaching up the track. His body language told me that he was unsure about how his dog would handle meeting Luna, and he stopped walking a ways away to put his hand on his dogs head as we approached. From a distance I said, “this one is very friendly, if yours is as well?” He explained that his dog is a rescue (typical of greyhounds) and they never know how he will do with another dog. Well sweet Luna had already tuned into the greyhound’s nervousness, and in her usual calm manner she approached to eagerly but peacefully meet a new friend. Its always funny to watch her interact with other people and dogs because she just LIVES to love. But this encounter was a special one. She put herself under the old greyhound's chin, with her back to his chest, and lifted her face to his. Its no wonder at all that she is a member of the the official Aberdeen Airport therapet team - her energy is so sweet and calm. It was a special encounter to watch and I felt so happy for the greyhound to have had a positive experience. I’ve worked with dogs for many years, and its so important to be in tune with the small details of how dogs behave. They give us so many clues in just a matter of seconds, and reading those clues is vital if we are going to be responsible owners and supervisors. Taking care of a dog like Luna is an absolute joy. We only have a few more days left together, so I’m getting in as many snuggles as I can.

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