<< Our Photo Pages >> Elsick Mounth - Ancient Trackway in Scotland in Aberdeenshire

Submitted by C_Michael_Hogan on Thursday, 22 November 2007  Page Views: 31283

Multi-periodSite Name: Elsick Mounth
Country: Scotland County: Aberdeenshire Type: Ancient Trackway
Nearest Town: Stonehaven  Nearest Village: Netherley
Map Ref: NO807945
Latitude: 57.041177N  Longitude: 2.319679W
4Almost Perfect
3Reasonable but with some damage
2Ruined but still recognisable as an ancient site
1Pretty much destroyed, possibly visible as crop marks
0No data.
-1Completely destroyed
3 Ambience:
2Not Good
0No data.
3 Access:
5Can be driven to, probably with disabled access
4Short walk on a footpath
3Requiring a bit more of a walk
2A long walk
1In the middle of nowhere, a nightmare to find
0No data.
2 Accuracy:
5co-ordinates taken by GPS or official recorded co-ordinates
4co-ordinates scaled from a detailed map
3co-ordinates scaled from a bad map
2co-ordinates of the nearest village
1co-ordinates of the nearest town
0no data

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Elsick Mounth
Elsick Mounth submitted by C_Michael_Hogan : Clearfell area of a monocultural coniferous forest of Strathgyle Wood within Durris Forest. The photo view is looking due south from a point along the ancient Elsick Mounth trackway. (Vote or comment on this photo)
Ancient Trackway in Aberdeenshire

The Elsick Mounth is an ancient trackway crossing the Mounth of the Grampian Highlands in northeast Scotland. Since prehistory the Caledonians, then Romans, then medievals, and finally modern day hikers have used this route to connect Stonehaven to the Dee River at the site of Normandykes Roman Camp via Netherley. (Simpson, 1928) The herein work is based upon my traversal of the Elsick Mounth in October, 2007 along with analysis of historic literature.

ROMANS AND PICTS. The Elsick Mounth was utilized by Caledonians, Romans and later by Picts of the Early Middle Ages: both for troop and goods movement. The Roman legions established a chain of very large forts at Ardoch, Strageath, Inchtuthil, Battledykes, Stracathro and Raedykes, taking the Elsick Mounth on the way to Normandykes, before going north to Glenmaillen,. Pursuant to theories of Roy, (Roy, 1793) Surenne, (Surenne, 1827) Watt, (Watt, 1985) myself and others, the Elsick Mounth may have been an important avenue for military maneuvering leading up to the Battle of Mons Graupius. The Romans chose the Elsick Mounth to avoid treacherous bogs (Portlethen Moss, Red Moss and the Burn of Muchalls) and the ubiquitous coastal haar at the coastal Causey Mounth; correspondingly the Elsick Mounth avoided the circuitous higher elevation marches that would have been required in use of the Cryne Corse or Cairnamounth routes. Raedykes Roman Camp itself lies along the Elsick Mounth on high ground to communicate with the Roman fleet, (Hogan, 2007a) as the view from the Elsick Mounth north of Raedykes illustrates.

The earliest recorded note of the Mounth itself was to delineate its position as a principal division of southern and northern Picts in reference to the slaying of the Pictish King Dubhtolargg. (Skene, 1880) Dubhtolargg was king of the cismontane Picts and was slain in the year 682 AD.

MEDIEVAL TIMES. The first official note taken of the significance of the Mounth as a geo-political divide was in 1305 AD in the reign of Edward I, when the Mounth was set as the political divide of northern versus southern spheres. (Act, 1305) The first appearance of Elsick Mounth survives on a 14th century map. (Simpson, 1928)

GEOGRAPHICAL CONTEXT. The southwest-northeast trending mountain landform of the Mounth combined with the Dee River have been the major constraints of transport from the fertile Scottish Lowlands to the north. (Hogan, 2007b) A number of passages through the Mounth were discovered and developed to facilitate troop movement and eventually serve as drovers' roads; of most local relevance the Causey Mounth comprised the coastal crossing, while the Cairnamounth and Cryne Corse Mounths allowed traffic inland of the Elsick Mounth. The location of these mounth crossings served as a determinant for many siting decisions of ancient fortresses including Raedykes, Normandykes, and the castles of Aboyne, Crathes, Muchalls, Durris, Fordoun, Kindrochit and Kildrummy.

CURRENT SITUATION. Although the lands over the highest part of the Mounth crossing would have been covered by dense deciduous forests in ancient and medieval times, the present day setting is a monocultural coniferous forest use. Since clearfelling is being practised over extensive areas of the Elsick Mounth within the Durris Forest, the biodiversity and aesthetics are greatly reduced from that of the native forest type.

* W. Douglas Simpson (Dec. 10, 1928) ‘'The Early Castles of Mar'‘, Proceedings of the Society: 102
* William Roy (1793) ‘'The military antiquities of the Romans in Britain'‘
* Gabriel Jacques Surenne (1827) ‘'Letter to Sir Walter Scott'‘
* Archibald Watt (1985) ''Highways and Byways around Kincardineshire'', Stonehaven Heritage Society
* C.Michael Hogan (2007a) ''Raedykes Roman Camp'', The Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham
* William Forbes Skene (1880) ‘'Celtic Scotland: A History of Ancient Alban'‘, vol i. page 302, Edmonston & Douglas
* C. Michael Hogan (2007b) ‘'Causey Mounth'‘, The Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham
* Act. Scot. Parl. (1305) vol. i, page 120.

(The above content is original work of C. Michael Hogan prepared for the Megalithic Portal)
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Elsick Mounth
Elsick Mounth submitted by C_Michael_Hogan : Within the Bruntyairds Wood of the Durris Forest, looking west-southwest along the Elsick Mounth somewhat south of the summit of the Mounth pass. (Vote or comment on this photo)

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Nearby Images from Geograph Britain and Ireland:
NO8094 : Elsick Mounth Track by Scott Cormie
by Scott Cormie
NO8094 : Right of Way signs for Elsick Mounth by Iain Macaulay
by Iain Macaulay
NO8094 : Near northern terminus of the Elsick Mounth Trail by C Michael Hogan
by C Michael Hogan
NO8194 : West Brachmont by Scott Cormie
by Scott Cormie
NO8194 : West Brachmont by Stanley Howe
by Stanley Howe

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"Elsick Mounth" | Login/Create an Account | 2 News and Comments
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Re: Elsick Mounth by Anonymous on Tuesday, 13 October 2009
You don't actually say where it ran from, nor where it ran to. The article seems to mention very little about the track itself, yet it's called "Elsick Mounth".
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Re: Elsick Mounth by C_Michael_Hogan on Wednesday, 20 February 2008
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Under "ROMANS AND PICTS", in line 4 the correct spelling is "Glenmailen" not "Glenmaillen".
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