I wonder what people will think this post is about? Well, it’s something that makes me smile. To explain, I need to show you two “march stones” in Aberdeen. These stones form a ring around the city of Aberdeen, and were put in place in the late 16th century. Many towns in Britain had march stones marking their boundary (“march” is an old word for boundary”), and in some places there is still the ancient custom of “riding the marches”. This was originally done annually to reassert, or check on, the boundaries of the town. Here’s a link to the Edinburgh March Riding Association, if you’re interested.
In Aberdeen, the first march stone is an “Omega stone” located near where the River Dee meets the North Sea. March Stone 1 is in Ferryhill to the West, March Stone 2 is by the Ferryhill library on the Great Southern Road. March Stone 3 is on the Great Western Road, on Nellfield Place, as you can see:
The march stones continue on westward, as far as Westhill, before looping north and back east across the north part of the city. They come through Northfield and Kittybrewster, and end up at the mouth of the River Don. March Stone 65 is near Mrs. Murray’s Cat and Dog home, and the last march stone is the Omega stone, at the mouth of the Don. You can find out much more and see a map in Aberdeen City Council’s March Stones brochure, which is currently available online here.
The march stones are not mile markers, and there are several places along the circuit where they are spaced fairly close together. And this brings me to the Short Mile. March stone 4 is only a few yards away from March stone 3:
In between the two is a pub, called “The Short Mile,” a joking reference to the two march stones placed either side of it:
March Stone 3 is just a street’s width away from the shrub on the corner, to the left of the photo, and March Stone 4 is just visible behind the middle bollard in the photo.
So there you have it. A bit of history about march stones, and a pub whose name makes me smile. I’ve never been in there, but I’m grateful to whoever named it for their sense of humour.