Aikey Brae Stone Circle – Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Aikey Brae stone circle overlooks the village of Old Deer in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The circle is composed of 9 stones and one recumbent stone, making a circle of just over 14 metres in diameter. There was apparently one more upright stone but this has disappeared.  It is believed that Aikey Brae was built by a farming community some time around 4,000 years ago. It was probably built as a means of charting the passing of the seasons by plotting the lunar cycle.

Aikey Brae is worth the day’s hike.


Aikey Brae stone circle is a venue in my novel ‘Dark Birthright’.



Sail Away From Safe Harbor

Sail Away

Sail Away

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain ~

Battle of Culloden – 16 April 1746

Culloden Monument

Culloden Monument

The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the Jacobite Rising.  On April 16, 1746, near Inverness , the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) faced a royalist army commanded by the Duke of Cumberland.  The Jacobites had a goal – to overthrow the reigning House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne.   Their army consisted of Scottish Highlanders, a number of Lowland Scots, a small detachment of Englishmen from the Manchester Regiment, and French and Irish units.  They were supported and supplied by France.  The Duke of Cumberland’s army was largely English, with a fair number of Scottish Highlanders, and Ulster men from Ireland.

The battle on Culloden Moor was bloody and quick.  Over 1500 Jacobites were killed or wounded in an hour – while Hanovarian forces incurred light losses – about 50 dead and 250 wounded.  Many wounded Jacobites were slaughtered in the aftermath – earning the Duke of Cumberland the title of ‘Butcher’.   Charles Stuart escaped to France and made no further attempts to challenge Hanoverian power in Britain.

In the following months, the King’s forces continued the assault on Jacobite sympathizers with the Act of Proscription, disarming them and banning the kilt and the tartan.  Violators were incarcerated or transported to a penal colony for a second offense.   Other Acts ended the feudal bond of military service and removed the sovereign power chiefs had over their clan.  The ban on kilt and tartan was not lifted until thirty-five years after the battle.  This monument stands as a silent reminder of this tragic event.


Here is a short story I wrote about this battle:

“Recollections of a Spirit”

It was a cold morning on April 16th, 1746. The sun had just risen.

Duncan and I had traveled for days on horseback, to join the army of the Prince. We trusted that he could defeat the red soldiers as he had at Prestonpans. Near Inverness, a French courier demanded our intentions and asked us to carry letters to Culloden House. Duncan took the letters, stored them in his plaid, and we continued on our way. His brothers met us at Inverness, telling us to fight with the Glengarry regiment, camped near Drumossie Moor. I took the letters and told him to join his brothers, that I would follow after I delivered them.

That was the last time that I saw him as a free man. I was taken at Inverness by the English and jailed. When it was determined that I carried letters in French, they beat me mercilessly, asking who they were for, and what their meaning was. I could not tell them. They kept me in irons in a cold cellar, without food or water. The beatings were relentless.

Word came that day that the Prince’s army had been soundly defeated. Other prisoners joined me, many with mortal wounds, dying shortly thereafter. Men arrived with limbs hacked or bowels pierced. The stench of rotting flesh was overpowering. There was no word of my friend or his brothers. They kept us in a cellar, bound, with no food or water for that day and the next. No one tended our wounds or administered last words. Men cried piteously for water or death. Still, I held out hope.

On the morning of the third day, I learned that I was to be executed as a rebel. After sunrise, I would be flogged to death at the tree outside the jail. They’d sent for a lowlander from a nearby encampment, known for his brutality.

Before sunrise, I was brought outside and made to sit on the cold ground to await my fate. I smelled wood fires and heard dogs barking, as red soldiers guarded me. Able-bodied prisoners were brought out to watch, but they wouldn’t look at me. I knew it was my last day.

As a young man, I was no stranger to whippings. I did as I liked and risked the consequences. Father whipped me soundly with a strap many times. I played a game that I would not flinch or cry out, so he beat me until he was no longer angry. These were my thoughts as I waited, that it would not be worse than that.

The red soldiers allowed a man of the cloth to approach me to say the last words. It was cold and he wore a hood that obscured his face. As he knelt beside me and pushed back his hood, I saw that it was Duncan. By God’s grace he had survived the battle. He touched my forehead and made the sign of the cross, saying the words we’d heard so many times. With tears in his eyes, he whispered that he couldn’t save me, but would avenge my death with his last breath. I begged him not to watch it, but he would not leave me.

At sunrise the Lowlander arrived, a muscular man with eyes of steel. Soldiers pounded stakes into either side of an oak, removed my irons and shirt, and tied me to the tree with rope. It was cold but I was sweating, and my heart pounded like a drum. As blood rushed in my ears, I heard the sentence being read.

A soldier gagged me, but the man removed it, saying that he needed to hear me. He took the ‘cat’ out of his bag and showed it to me. It was a whip of nine knotted strands, ending in sharp bits of metal. In a voice that was cold and deliberate, he taunted me, calling me a rebel, a traitor, and an animal. I burned with humiliation and anger.

All I wanted was to bear my punishment in silence and die like a man; but it wasn’t to be. I held staunch for twenty strokes and faltered, my pride crumbling. I grunted, cursed, and gasped for breath as the leather tails blistered my back. May God forgive me, I cried like a child, and rubbed my wrists raw against the ropes.

He stopped after one-hundred strokes to drink. I was nearly unconscious, so they roused me with water. Before he began again, he taunted me. He’d wagered that I wouldn’t last another fifty, and intended to finish me now. The man ran his rough fingers across the marks in my flesh, thrust his hand down the front of my kilt, and touched me as a lover would.

In spite of my predicament, I was furious and spit into his face. His eyes narrowed in anger.

He began again, whipping me with a vengeance. Blood soaked my kilt, ran down my legs, and pooled in my boots. I could barely stand, and the cries that I made were not even human.

I heard them call out one-forty.

Silently, I begged God to take my soul. I was cold and trembling, too weak to cry out. My body was dying but my mind was a raging storm. I held on to anger and refused to die. My inner voice cried, “I won’t let go, I won’t let go!”

Duncan’s anguished thoughts broke through my inner turmoil.

Eavan let go!

Let go! Eavan let go!

For God’s sake let go!

May God forgive me for not taking your place!

My mind calmed and my breathing slowed. A brilliant bubble formed before my eyes, translucent and full of light. I saw Mother looking out to sea for my brother, Grandfather whittling a walking stick, and young John struggling on his deathbed. The bubble enfolded me, and softly popped.

I was pleasantly confused, convinced that they’d stopped the execution. I stood among them in my best riding breeks, shirt, and plaid. It was lightly snowing but I was as warm as fresh bread. I flexed my shoulder muscles and gazed at my hands. My backside was whole and my wrists were healed.

The big man cleaned and oiled his whip and put it in his bag. He joked with the soldiers about the rebel bastard, and collected his wagers. Still I did not understand. Duncan mounted his horse and rode towards me.

I waved my hands. “Duncan. Over here! They let me go.”

My friend stared through me to a place beyond, his face lined with grief. What did he see? I turned my head and saw the bloody shell of a body that was mine, and knew I was dead.

A young soldier thrust his bayonet into the body. “The rebel is gone! Let this be a lesson to all who oppose the King of England.”

Duncan made the sign of the cross and rode off on his chestnut mare. I followed him out of town, where he dismounted and concealed his horse behind some trees. He sat on a log and waited, running his thumb along the blade of his dirk.

Before long a rider appeared; the lowlander with eyes of steel. Dressed as a man of the cloth, my friend concealed his knife and bid him stop. As the man dismounted, Duncan seized him and cut his throat from ear to ear.

I watched this without emotion. It didn’t matter. Mine was a world without pain and hunger, or domination by the English. Duncan would be along soon enough.


By Jeanne Treat

Jeanne is the author of the Dark Birthright Trilogy, a tale of 17th century Scotland, England, and the Colonies.  You can read about it online at:

Sea Caves of Aberdour Bay, NE Scotland

The Sea Caves of Aberdour Bay, NE Scotland

(Photos by R Shane Davis, except where noted)
We visited these caves in 2004.

Aberdour Bay – a bay located 12.1 Miles away from Banff’s centre , Aberdour Bay is a coastal indentation between two capes or headlands, larger than a cove but smaller than a gulf.


Jeanne Treat

The days of iron men and wooden ships



Courtesy of the “Scotland Rising” facebook page:

In the days of “iron men and wooden ships”, crossing broad expanses of ocean often resulted in problems for the ill-fed sailors. Scurvy, a disease that left sufferers with some unpleasant and dangerous symptoms like swollen, bleeding gums, loosened teeth, slow healing from wounds, easy bruising, anemia, and soreness and stiffness in joints afflicted many. Eventually it was proven (in 1747) that those who ate fresh fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, were not stricken with the disease, and such foods were issued aboard British Navy vessels at regular intervals… starting nearly 50 years later in 1795!? (From this preventative dietary adjustment arose the British sailors’ nickname “Limeys”.)

Why do we bring this to your attention?   To let you know that 80 years ago last week, University of Pittsburgh chemists and researchers W. A. Waugh and C. G. King published a paper on their successful isolation of Vitamin C. WAUGH, an old Scottish name meaning ‘foreigner’, is found in records from the 1200s in the borders region, i.e. southern Scotland and northern England.
From Jeanne Treat:  I describe several 17th century trans-Atlantic sea voyages in my novel “Dark Destiny”.
For information, visit:

Loanhead of Daviot Stone Circle, Scotland

Loanhead of Daviot

We visited this stone circle in 2004 – while researching my novel Dark Birthright.

According to, this stone circle is 44 centuries old!

The nearest town is Inverurie.  The nearest village is Daviot.  The circle is set on ground which slopes to the NE between two rivers.  It is one of more than 15 megalithic sites in the same area.

The circle has a diameter of 20.5 m (67 ft) and is dated approximately 2500 BC. The recumbent stone and its pair of flankers stand at SSW and were strangely set just inside the line of the circle, watching over eight other equally spaced uprights. The stone beside the east flanker has a vertical line of at least five cupmarks on its inner face. At one time it was thought that the recumbent was a ‘double’ stone, but it was later found to be just one, split by the elements.

During 1934 excavations, charcoal and broken pottery sherds were found around the bases of most of the monoliths, indicating single burial cairns at each. In the middle of the low Bronze Age cairn within the circle lay a rectangular mortuary pit, which may be the oldest part of the site.  A hearth was found in the ring cairn, which may indicate its use as a dwelling at some time, almost certainly when the site had lost its original meaning and was seen simply as a convenient place to live. Nearby is a circular-banked cemetery, of about the same age, consisting of an 88 square m (850 sq ft) cremation site.

‘Tis an unusual circle because the center is filled with rocks.

This circle is easy to find and access.  It is a great place to visit in northeast Scotland.

More of our photos of Loanhead of Daviot:

Dark Birthright’s website:

Other links:

The Witness – What Never Changes

What Never Changes

What Never Changes

“The Witness”

What never changes…
I am

Born of stillness

Without thought or judgment

Awaiting definition in a world of objects

Name, profession, family, community

Desires arise, coupled with suffering

When will it end?

The wheel turns

A mud fight rages, but the mirror is clean

Wisdom arrives in a flash of Grace

Desires abate, simplicity sought

Surrender, reflect, and go within

Return to stillness

I am


Visit the author’s website: