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7. In the footsteps of the Pictish stones (Meigle, North East Highlands)

Today, we decide to follow in the footsteps of the Picts, and their stones in particular. Pictish stones are very ancient tombstones, intended for Christian warriors of the Pictish aristocracy, a tribe from northern Scotland who lived until the end of the 800s AD. J.C.

Route : around fifteen kilometers in the Alyth region.

They are sculpted from local sandstone, a soft stone, but sensitive to erosion. They often include Christian symbols, Pictish motifs, as well as war or hunting scenes featuring the deceased. The sites below are relatively close (30 minutes from each other).


First stop on our journey in search of mysterious Pictish stones, the site of Meigle, whose museum houses 26 sculpted stones. The village is located on the A94 from Coupar Angus to Forfar. There are few parking spaces there.

When we arrived, unfortunately, the museum was closed. We took the opportunity to visit the cemetery where most of the stones were found and its magnificent steles in engraved stones from the 18th century. Have fun finding that of Patrick Archer (1767), shoemaker by trade; that of Euphan Brown (1715), miller, or that of James Lesley (1737), representing a scene from the Resurrection, quite eroded due to the herbicides used in the past.


The Eassie Cross Slab is located west of Glamis, on the A94. This 2 meter high stone is magnificent and very well preserved. Found in the nearby stream and dating from 600 AD. BC, it is now visible in the enclosure of an old church in ruins in order to protect it from bad weather. The deer is particularly well represented and a hunter and an angel are still clearly visible. The reverse, less well preserved, shows cows, men in tunics, two Pictish symbols and a tree.

The gravestones in the cemetery surrounding the church are worth a look. Don't hesitate to go around and admire them. The engravings are more recent and sometimes very eroded, but they are beautiful and provide an intimate atmosphere in this place dedicated to death.


Three stones are visible on the B9134 and a fourth in the village cemetery of Aberlemno, 6 m north-east of Forfar. The impressive roadside slab is carved on all sides and features many Pictish signs and hunting carvings. The middle one, with the serpent, is probably an ancient prehistoric menhir reused by the Picts. The third, which is not in the photo, is a sort of shapeless rock on which a half-moon is still visible.

The fourth stone is made of sandstone and is located in the Aberlemno cemetery. It presents from the front an incredible battle scene, perhaps facing the king of Northumbria, who put an end to the English occupation. From the back, it is a Christian cross, beautifully and finely chiseled. A masterpiece of Pictish art! It also seems that these motifs were originally painted using natural pigments (red and blue in particular), which have now faded.


For the night, we stayed at the Lands of Loyal Hotel, we liked this place, a former hunting lodge, so much. As for its restaurant with its Angus beef fillet, it remains unmissable.

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