Crawstane Symbol Stone

© Grampian Escapes & Tours

Rhynie, Aberdeenshire

Aberdeen's Ancient Heritage and Folklore Tour

The early inhabitants of the northeast of Scotland were the Picts, and they have left their lasting footprints on our landscape. On this tour we will delve into their lives, their history and how they became the People of Alba.

Departs: Thu at 09:00 (Bookings must be made in advance)

From: The Wallace Monument in front of His Majesty's Theatre on Rosemount Street.

Duration: 8 hours

Throughout the tour we discover the legacy of ancient heritage and hear stories and folklore that shaped their beliefs and continue to be told today. This is a unique, off the beaten path tour that will take you into undiscovered corners of Aberdeenshire.

Stop 1: Barra Hill - Fort

We start our journey through history with a visit to Barry Hill fort. Hillfort structures that are dotted around Aberdeenshire and are built on higher ground, many would have included wooden or stone enclosures to create a settlement where people lived and worked. These early communities were found Scotland hundreds of years ago and formed the early Aberdeenshire towns and villages. There are several hill forts around the region, of which only foundations remain. But through archaeological studies, we are learning more every year about how the people of these communities lived. Many of the hill forts are challenging to access, but Barra is one of the few we can visit relatively easily.

During our visit, we will walk along the earthworks and foundations, and begin to get a sense of how these communities were formed and get a feel for what life would be like living on these hills.

*To visit the site, we will be walking through fields and off road paths.

Stop 2: Dunnideer Castle

We start with a short walk up a low hill, from where we see the ruins of Dunnideer Castle. The castle was a tower house located near the village of Insch. It was built c. 1260 partially from the remains of an existing vitrified hill fort in the same location. The hillfort is composed of at least five concentric rings of defences. The defences are easily visible from below and from atop the hill, as a series of high banks and ditches.

Standing a short distance away from from the Hillfort are the remaining stones of Dunnideer Stone Circle. They now add to the dramatic location and atmosphere of the surroundings.

Stop 3: Rhynie - A Pictish Stronghold

The area around the village of Rhynie was a Pictish stronghold for the northeast of Scotland. The Tap O'Noth, has Scotland’s largest hillfort, the hilltop settlement that at its height, may have rivalled the largest known post-Roman settlements in Europe. Researchers believe to be a community with over 5,000 residents!

There is a collection of Pictish carved stones, and we will discover more about their symbols, carvings, and meanings of the stones. A lone standing stone, the Crawstane was once at the centre of a settlement which had trade across the Mediterranean and great wealth. We will learn about the King of the Scots and how he changed the cultural landscape of Scotland which ultimately led to the downfall of the Picts.

Stop 4: Lost & Bellabeg

We will take our lunch break at Lost, at the foot of the Doune of Invernochty motte and bailey castle. The small village is in the Cairngorm National Park and has a lovely charm, perfect for a picnic lunch by the river or a stroll through the country lanes.

Lunch can either be purchased in Insch or Bellabeg, or you can bring a picnic lunch. A cooler will be provided.

Stop 5: Tomnavarie Stone Circle

With stunning views, Tomnaverie, a recumbent stone circle, is a kind of monument found only in north-eastern Scotland. What makes these unique is their characteristic feature, a large stone on its side, flanked by two upright stones, and a series of standing stone completing the circle. The stone circle is located close to a burial cairn dating to about 4,500 years ago. Relatively little is known about why we have these structures, there are several theories which you’ll discover on your visit.

From £70 per adult

Departure days

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Sunday

April — October

Contact details

Grampian Escapes & Tours Ltd

Woodstock House
Inverurie Street
United Kingdom
AB30 1XS

Tour information


1 Day


  • Small coach


  • Small Group (1-16)

Tour prices

From £70 Per Adult

Book now

Prices are subject to change depending on season

Grampian Escapes & Tours Ltd

Tour company information

Grampian Escapes & Tours Ltd

We offer day trips around Aberdeenshire and pride ourselves on providing high quality tours in a welcoming environment so you can make the most of your experience. Whether that is getting away from daily life, sightseeing at a relaxed pace, or enjoying the company of fellow travelers and having a good conversations. We love combining the region’s showcase attractions with "off the beaten path" locations. That is why our tours include beautiful scenic drives, gentle walks and dramatic locations. From the mountains to the sea, there is so much to experience in the northeast of Scotland.

Opening times

09:00 - 17:00 Every day

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