The wedding day legend of the Maiden Stone

The Maiden Stone in Aberdeenshire is mired in vivid legend. PIC: Creative Commons/Flickr.
The Maiden Stone in Aberdeenshire is mired in vivid legend. PIC: Creative Commons/Flickr.
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It is around 1,200-years-old and considered one of the finest Pictish stones ever carved.

With a large notch gouged out of one of its sides, The Maiden Stone, which stands near Chapel of Garioch in Aberdeenshire, has also become mired in legend.

READ MORE: Why did the Picts disappear from Scotland?

The pink granite monolith is carved with a number of vivid symbols including a mirror and comb and a Pictish beast or dolphin.

A cross indicates its use as a preaching site during the conversion of the Picts to Christianity.

READ MORE: Dig underway at Scotland’s “oldest Pictish fort” near Dunnottar

Some believe the Maiden Stone is a memorial to a young woman killed as a result of a dispute between two families.

Another legend claims the Maiden Stone is the embodiment of the daughter of the Laird of Balquhain who was turned to stone by God on her wedding morning to save her from the devil.

It is said the daughter was making bannocks to serve to her guests when she was approached by a dark, manly figure.

A challenge was a laid by the man who claimed he could build a road to the top of Bennachie, a 1600ft summit two miles away, before she finished baking her last batch.

Should he win, the laird’s daughter must marry him instead.

Inexplicably, the road was built before her baking was complete - much to her horror. She ran, saying prayers as she fled.

“The road was made, on seeing which she fled towards the wood of Pittodrie pursued by the stranger who was the great foe of mankind in disguise,” according to the 1854 publication, Stones of Scotland.

It added: “It was in the act of seizing her when she was turned into the Maiden Stone, and the part of it that has been broken out on one of the sides, disappeared in the grasp of the demon.”

It is that cleft that can still be seen today in the Maiden Stone.

A paved road did once run towards the summit of Bennachie. Called the Maiden Road, parts of it can still be traced over the mountain.