Grampian Escapes and Tours

Exploring Pictish Heritage & Folklore

Pictish Symbol stone at the foot of Tap O'Noth

Aberdeenshire has an abundance of Ancient Pictish Heritage ready to be explored.

Welcome to Aberdeenshire, where every town tells a tale, and the hills whisper secrets of times long gone. As you travel on your journey around the northeast of Scotland, prepare to be charmed by the rich legacy of Pictish history that left its mark on this land. From mysterious standing stones to ancient structures and folklore, Aberdeen and its surroundings are a treasure trove waiting to be discovered by curious travelers like you.

Decoding the Pictish Enigma

Step back in time to the era of the Picts, a enigmatic people who inhabited Scotland during the early medieval period. The northeast boasts a plethora of Pictish relics, offering a fascinating glimpse into their civilization. One of the most iconic symbols of the Picts is the intricately carved symbol stones scattered throughout the region.

These stone monuments, decorated with detailed designs and mysterious symbols, serve as silent sentinels guarding the secrets of centuries past. Two of the better-known stones are the Maidenstone and the Crawstane, adorned with distinctive Pictish beast symbols, hand mirrors and V-rod motifs. These stones, steeped in legend and lore, not only showcase the artistic prowess of their creators but also serve as enduring reminders of Aberdeenshire’s rich cultural heritage.

There is still a mystery around the design of symbols, what the symbols mean and how to interpret their carvings. A mixture of geometric, animals and objects are used to send an illusive message

Pictish Symbol Stone
Symbol Stone at Rhynie

Journey Through Local Legends

Prepare to be taken into a realm of myth and legend as you delve into the local folklore. Tales of heroic warriors, mystical creatures, and ancient rituals abound in the oral traditions passed down through generations. Listen closely as we share with you stories of Fairy kings and queens, battles fought and won, and the magic that once permeated these lands. Immerse yourself in the sounds of Aberdeenshire’s oral history and folklore, where reality and myth intertwine to create a narrative unlike any other.

View from Barra Hill

Exploring Pictish Sites

No visit to Aberdeenshire would be complete without exploring its various Pictish sites. Travel the windswept countryside, where ancient hill forts such as Tap O’Noth and Bennachie stand as silent witnesses to a bygone era. Marvel at the intricate carvings adorning the Pictish stones, each telling its own unique story of a civilization shrouded in mystery. 

With a little imagination, you can be transported to a time of great influence and change. How did the live their lives, what happened to their civilisation and what secretes do they keep?

To visit some of these sites will take a bit of effort. We are lucky that not all were built on near mountains, and the views from Barra Hill are exceptional on a clear day, making that effort worthwhile.



Barra Hill Fort (left)

Embark on Your Pictish Adventure

Join us on our tour and let’s journey through the northeast of Scotland.  Let the draw of Pictish history and folklore guide your footsteps. From the ancient stone circles to hill forts, the changes in Scottish culture and beliefs which led to the demise of the, each step brings you closer to unlocking the mysteries of this fascinating civilization. So pack your bag, grab your camera, and prepare for an adventure unlike any other as you explore the land of the Picts in all its mystical glory. Aberdeenshire awaits, ready to enchant you with its timeless tales of the past.

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Jacqueline van den Akker

Jacqueline van den Akker

Jacqueline is the owner and lead guide for the business. Together with the team, they create wonderful tours and experiences for visitors working in collaboration with other independent business in Aberdeenshire to show the best of the Northeast of Scotland.

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