The Pitcaple Environmental Project lies within the grounds of The Pitscurry Project which is an Aberdeenshire Council facility.
“Pitscurry” – what’s that, then?
The prefix “Pit-” is of ancient, Pictish origin and is taken to mean a plot of land. “Scurry”, on the other hand, is still found in the Doric dialect of Scots and means “seagull”. And, although the Doric meaning is likely of a more recent origin, it is still our best guess as to what it all means. So, Land of the Gulls – maybe?
The Pitscurry name actually belongs to an abandoned farmstead on the other side of Pitcaple Quarry (our neighbours). The Pitscurry farm gave its name to several surrounding features. At the back of the quarry, for example, is a small area of woodland marked as Pitscurry Wood and, quite likely, that wood extended across the top of the quarry before the mining started. But if we look up to the summit of a small hill north of Pitscurry Farm we can also find Pitscurry Cairn which is a listed Ancient Monument and Archaeological Area of Scotland.
“The monument known as ‘cairn 410m N of Pitscurry’ comprises a Bronze-Age burial cairn that survives as a brash-covered mound. It is sited in an area of forestry and sits on the summit of an unnamed hill at 130m above sea level. The circular cairn measures 6m in diameter and stands to a height of 0.5m. There are only a few stones of the cairn visible.”
So there have been humans in the area for a very long time indeed! Prior to PEP and The Pitscurry Project, the Pitscurry site used to be a council-run nursery and it is good to see it still being used in a similar capacity. Long may it continue!
- Historic Scotland database: Ancient Monument and Archaeological Area
- Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
- Scotland’s Places
- Ancient Monuments entry.
- Ordnance Survey Explorer Map series #421 covers this area, or…
- Ordnance Survey Landranger Map Series #38 covers this area.
- Google Earth KML link
- A Doric Dictionary, by Douglas Kynoch