Mormond Hill

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Mormond Hill
Mormond Hill
Summit: 768 feet NJ963572
57°36’18"N, 2°3’47"W

Mormond Hill is a hill of 768 feet in the Buchan area of Aberdeenshire, the lower part of the county. The name of this hill is from the Gaelic A' Mhormhonadh, meaning 'The great hill (or moor)'. It is indeed a large hill by area, rising prominently out of the low-lying coastal plain. It has two main tops, the higher by a whisker being the western top, but the saddle betwixt them is barely 100 feet lower than either and shallow.

The hill stands a little to the south of Fraserburgh. The villages of Strichen and New Leeds can be found at its southern foothills. Running around the southern slope is the Formartine and Buchan Way, a long-distance footpath following a dismantled railway from Fraserburgh to Dyce by Aberdeen.

On the eastern summit stand scatters of disused satellite dishes and masts on top, remnants from Cold War communications systems maintained there by NATO forces. British Telecom has a current presence on the site.

The hill is mentioned in the traditional ballad Mormond Braes.[1] The ballad, in a mixture of Scots and English, with references to 'Strichen toon', is about a girl who's lost her lover and is preparing herself to face the world and get another.

Aerial masts on Mormond Hill

The hill is also referenced in the poem Farewell to Tarwathie by George Scroggie of Strichen, published in 1857, and now better known as the song published in Volume 1 of the Greig–Duncan collection (c. 1909).[2]

The White Horse and the White Stag

A white horse is depicted on the side of the hill made from white quartz that has been placed into position to make the shape; its location is a mile north-east of Strichen. The exact date of construction is unknown, but is around the late 1790s. The most widely accepted story for its origin is that the horse was cut by a Captain Fraser, whose horse was shot from under him in a battle in the Flanders Campaign in 1794. A sergeant Henderson, who offered him his own horse, was shot dead in the process. Upon his return Captain Fraser cut the horse as a memorial to the sergeant.[3]

The stag, made in 1870, is much larger than the nearby horse, is about 500 feet above sea level. It is 240 feet long and unlike the other figures it is constructed from quartz rocks about five inches in diameter. Tree growth below the figure is increasingly blocking the view. The stag was made by the tenants of the Laird to commemorate his wedding. There is some disagreement as to whether its original form was an outline figure or solid figure. At some stage it has been in outline only, but is now solid. The stag was cleaned in 1939, 1946, 1955, 1984 and in 1994/95.[3]

The Horse
The Stag

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Mormond Hill)