Updated: Jun 1, 2019
Meet the Mormond Hill White Horse! According to Visit Fraserburgh it is “Said to have been created by Captain Fraser (Lord Lovat of Strichen) as a tribute to Sergeant James Hutcheon of New Pitsligo. Sergeant Hutcheon gave the horseless and vulnerable captain his mount during a battle against the French near Gilze in Holland on August 26, 1794, and was then killed before he could find a loose mount for himself. Locals tell of the feature disappearing once, obscured during World War II to prevent its use as a landmark by enemy bombers.”
I first met this horse last year when I was visiting the Strichen Stone Circle, but I couldn’t get a decent photo that day. This time I had better luck and also photographed the white stag on the other side of the hill which I will post another time.
These types of figures are called Geoglyphs or Hill Figures. There are quite a few in England, including 14 white horses but this is the only known in Scotland. Some may date back as far as 3000 years! They are created by digging the ground out then filling in the shape - in this case with white quartz. If not maintained they disappear over time and the Mormond Hill figures depend on volunteers for maintenance.
On a random note, rumor has it that Elvis Presley has family from the area.
There has been ongoing and passionate debate within the council regarding whether or not these hill figures deserve “Special Landscape Area” distinction which would give them more protection from development. As far as I can tell they have not been granted any protection, the reasoning being along the lines that if you protect things that don’t quite meet criteria, it dilutes the value of things that are truly significant. It’s clear that the figures are beloved by many and I hope they remain safe from development