Burn O Vat

One of the good things about the internet is that it’s not too hard to find information on virtually anything.  Alongside our many 60-second interviews with members of RGU staff, we like to tell the story of Aberdeen city and shire by way of the many entertaining and informative tales from the region’s history. Anyone who has applied for a job with RGU from outwith the area may find these stories both interesting and useful – even in an interview, where you can display your ‘local’ knowledge and use it to your advantage on occasion.

I’ve written many blogs based on the ancient Annals of Aberdeen, but today I’d like to turn to another, perhaps more easily accessible, source of news about the city and its people.

The AberdeenLive website has some fascinating history pages which recount both famous men and women as well as events from the past.  For example…

Some 16,000 years ago, ice sheets covered the area. As the ice eventually retreated, a huge boulder got stuck on a river bed. The water pouring around it carved out a huge pot-hole, some 13 metres deep and 18 wide.

There was a myth that the famous Scottish outlaw, Rob Roy MacGregor, once hid here, but this has been disproved.  However, we do know of another Macgregor, a cattle thief and leader of a band of robbers, who did hide in the pot-hole to evade the authorities.His full name was Patrick Gilroy MacGregor and he lived in the early 17th century. Perhaps he should have stayed there, for in 1636 he was caught and executed.

The pot-hole is known as Burn O’Vat and is situated near to the village of Dinnet in Aberdeenshire. Today, you won’t find any outlaws (we hope!) but it is well worth a visit because there is a splendid nature reserve with wonderful flora and fauna as well as a carved Pictish stone and traces of an Iron Age village.

Julie Skinner, Resourcing and Benefits Specialist, RGU