The Gow Stane
by: Farquhar, Jim
There are some fowk in Cromar, aye and nae jist some new tae the place, wha dinna ken aboot the Gow Stane or fit wye it got its
name. The stane is a muckle roon boulder that wis carrit in the intimmers o an ice-flow and drappit far it is noo fan the ice melted lang syne. It lies in the neuk o a dyke tae the wast o the Birkhill Road that rins fae Tillypronie ower the hill tae Bouties, the Pronie loch is on the ither side o the road.
The stane wid hae been a marker for fowk gaen back an fore atween Strathdon an Cromar afore there were richt roads in the lan'.
Fan Jeems the Fourth, aye him that was killed at Flodden, cam' tae bide at Kildrummy Castle, he eesed tae gang aboot amang his people dressed like the common fowk. Ae day he cam ower alang wi' a loon on a sheltie for company, aince-errand tae veesit his freens the Rutherfords at Migvie, an' hae a claik and a dram. Ye will min' that the castle there was dung doon by the Bruces in the Wars o Independence and nivver biggit again but there was eneugh left for the Laird tae bide there an haud his Baron's Court afore that wis taen ower by Huntly.
Weel fan the pair cam near the tap o the Birkhill the King saw some orra fowk hidin amongst the trees so they put spurs tae their horses and got unskaithed tae Migvie. Rutherford didna ken wha the coorse fowk micht be but it so happened that Reid the blacksmith had cam' ower frae Smiddyhill tae sort the hivs o the horses an see till the nowt an, him being a gaun-aboot body an kent abody, the Laird speired at him but he wisna sure either bit he wid seen fin oot.
So he pit on the King's cloak, mounted his horse and gaed back up the hill wi' the lave comin on ahin bit haudin weel oot o sicht. Weel fan he cam tae the Stane the coorse craiturs cam oot o the bushes, coupit him aff his horse, for they thocht he wis the King, bit fan they fin oot he wisna they killed the puir body afore the raist o the pairty could win tae him.
The King was sair pit oot bit fit quid could he dae except mak provision for the smith's family. So in gratitude he gied tae the widow for aa time as muckle grun as she could rin ower in the
day. She managed nine acres afore she foonert, sair ferfochen at a place ca'ed KILLYGROAN. So the Reids cam tae bide at Smiddyhill until the year
1965. Bit fit wye is the Stane ca'd Gow? Weel, the Gaelic for blacksmith is GOBHA which is pronounced 'GOW'. So there ye are.
There are fowk that say the hail thing is juist a story, bit ye maun tak tent o the auld sayin
'There's aye some water far the stirkie droons' an min' fit Charles Murray said in 'The Packman':
'Never spile a story by considerin' gin' 'twas true".
Legends of the Braes o Mar, John Grant, Glengairn.
Tapestry of Tillypronie, Gavin Astor, Tillypronie.
Cromar History Group Newsletter 5