The Pinkie Stones

The stones which originally formed a circle of about 20 feet diameter were by the riverside, approximately where the current Haldanes supermarket is sited. They were moved and placed randomly on the river bank when a market garden was established in 1938. When NORCO supermarket was built in the 1980s, they were moved to a builder’s yard. They were re-sited on the bank of the river further west and can be seen from the footpath. The stones averaged three feet in height. There were many examples of stone circles in the North-East and most have suffered the same fate as the Pinkie Park stones as they were called. It is not clear what their purpose was. It could have been religious or a burial ground or related to the calendar and seasons.

The Symbol Stone

The North of Scotland is an area rich in Pictish Symbol Stones. In many of these stones the messages  which are carved into the stone are not clear since they contain symbols which obviously meant something at the time. There are many theories about these messages. They may commemorate events, or deaths or genealogy. Others have a form of writing called OGAM which came from Ireland and which has up till now defied interpretation in Scotland. Others stones have carvings of animals such as bulls or dogs.  The one built into the East wall of Ellon Church is a fragment of a cross. It is not particularly clear in the picture opposite but you may be able to trace the shape of a crude cross. It may be worth your while to visit Ellon Parish Churchyard and see it for yourself. It is part of the Heritage Trail and is below the large window on the east wall of Ellon Parish Church and marked with the Heritage trail logo. Many such symbol stones were used by builders as part of a new construction. The fact that this one was used in the Church wall may suggest that there was an early Christian site close to where the present Church is sited.

To return to the page Ellon through Time click HERE

To return to the page Ellon through Time click HERE


The ogam script is known in Ireland. It has been found on some of the symbol stones of Scotland. However, whereas in Ireland it is used to write Gaelic, this is not the case in Scotland. An interesting, if controversial, treatise by Dr Richard Cox suggests that it might be Old Norse. His book “The Language of the Ogam Inscriptions of Scotland” will give further insight into this fascinating topic. Be warned that this is an academic book and heavy going!

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Pictish Symbol Stones

This is the Brandsbutt stone at Inverurie. You can see that it has various symbols on it. These symbols are common to all of the symbol stones and were meant to convey a message to others. You will see that on the left of the stone there is an ogam inscription. One of the most ornate stones can be seen at Forres. This stone is known as Sueno’s stone. There is considerable literature on the symbol stones. Perhaps the most authoritative book is by Isabel Henderson - The Symbolism of the Pictish Stones. If you wish to take your study in this area further you may wish to visit the Pictish Museum at Groam House in Rosemarkie or the Tarbat Discovery Centre at Portmahomack. Both these museums are in Ross & Cromarty.

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As you can see, the letters are formed by making vertical or slanted strokes over, under or through a vertical bar.

Stone as it is today

Stone as it was before 1967 when it was moved.

Drawing to show what the stone would have looked like before it was cut to fit into into the wall