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The Mounth
Mounth Road - - 115988.jpg
Typical Mounth Scenery
Highest point
Elevation 1,068 m (3,504 ft)  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Coordinates 57°02′35″N2°37′37″W / 57.043°N 2.627°W / 57.043; -2.627 Coordinates: 57°02′35″N2°37′37″W / 57.043°N 2.627°W / 57.043; -2.627
English translation"Mountain"
Language of name Pictish/Common Brittonic [1]

The Mounth ( /ˈmʌnθ/ MUNTH) [2] is the broad upland in northeast Scotland between the Highland Boundary and the River Dee, at the eastern end of the Grampians.


Name and etymology

The name Mounth is ultimately of Pictish origin. [1] The name is derived from *monɪð, meaning "mountain" (c.f. Welsh mynydd). [1]

It is invariably referred to as "The Mounth" and pronounced "munth".


The ranges to the north-west are known as the Monadh Liath and the Monadh Ruadh (now called The Cairngorms), meaning the Grey Mounth and the Red Mounth.

Some sources regard the Mounth as extending as far west as Drumochter Pass (A9), [3] but it is now generally agreed to start at the Cairnwell Pass (A93 - highest main road pass in Britain, Glen Shee ski centre). [4] Here, a high undulating plateau invaded by deep glacial troughs (Glen Isla, Glen Callater, Glen Muick, Glen Clova) culminates in Glas Maol (1068m /3504') on the main watershed, with the outlying granite Lochnagar (1155m/3789') and its surrounding "White Mounth". To the east the plateau broadens into a lower moorland incised by river valleys, notably Glen Esk and Glen Tanar, descending gently east to North Sea coastal cliffs between Stonehaven and Aberdeen. This is the best-preserved expanse of the ancient Highland pre-glacial upland surface. [5]

The Mounth is thus bounded by Blairgowrie, Braemar, Ballater, Banchory, Stonehaven, and Kirriemuir, and comprises eastern Highland Perthshire, the Angus Glens, and southern Aberdeenshire. The higher parts are within the Cairngorms National Park.

Historically The Mounth was a formidable barrier which, to some extent, isolated the northeast of Scotland from the Scottish Lowlands, physically and culturally. In the Middle Ages an ancient roadway known as the Causey Mounth was built to connect Stonehaven to Aberdeen using an elevated rock causeway design to penetrate this boggy area of the eastern Mounth. [6] This route was by way of Cowie Castle, Muchalls Castle, Portlethen Moss and the Bridge of Dee. The route was that taken by Earl Marischal and the Marquess of Montrose when they led a Covenanter army of 9000 men in the first battle of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in 1639. [7]

Crossings of the Mounth

There are numerous historic crossings of the Mounth, [8] including:

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Causey Mounth

The Causey Mounth is an ancient drovers' road over the coastal fringe of the Grampian Mountains in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. This route was developed as the main highway between Stonehaven and Aberdeen around the 12th century AD and it continued to function as the principal route connecting these two cities until the mid 20th century, when modern highway construction of the A90 road occurred in this area. There are extant paved and usable sections of this road over part of the alignment; however, many parts of the ancient route are no more than footpaths, and in some cases the road has vanished into agricultural fields. Constructed in the Middle Ages, the Causey Mounth was created as an elevated rock causeway to span many of the boggy areas such as the Portlethen Moss. A considerable portion of the alignment of the Causey Mounth is illustrated on the UK Ordnance Survey Map, although a large fraction of the route cannot be navigated by a conventional passenger vehicle.

Cowie Castle

Cowie Castle is a ruined fortress in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The site lies at the northern end of Stonehaven on the North Sea coast. To the immediate south is the Cowie Bridge crossing of the Cowie Water. Evidence of prehistoric man exists in the vicinity dating to the Iron Age in the form of ring cairns.


Cookney is a hamlet in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in proximity to Netherley in the Mounth of the Grampian Highlands. The community is situated on a hilltop approximately 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Stonehaven, about 3 miles (5 km) northwest of the Bridge of Muchalls, and about 2 miles (3 km) west of Muchalls Castle. From Cookney a portion of the ancient route of the Causey Mounth is visible to the east near Whinward Farm, although the track is not truly recognizable from that distance. The Cookney Church is a prominent historic landmark of Cookney.


Banchory-Devenick is a village approximately two kilometres south of the city of Aberdeen, Scotland in the Lower Deeside area of Aberdeenshire. The village should not be confused with the historic civil parish of the same name which spanned the River Dee until 1891, its northern part lying in Aberdeenshire and its southern part in Kincardineshire. In that year the northern part became part of the neighbouring parish of Peterculter, the southern part remaining as the parish of Banchory-Devenick. The village of Banchory-Devenick is on the B9077 road, and the ancient Causey Mounth passes directly through the village. An historic graveyard dating to 1157 AD is present at the village of Banchory-Devenick. Other historic features in the vicinity include Saint Ternan's Church, Muchalls Castle and the Lairhillock Inn.

Chapel of St Mary and St Nathalan

The Chapel of St. Mary and St. Nathalan is a ruined chapel overlooking the North Sea immediately north of Stonehaven, in the Mearns of Scotland, along the northern shoreline of Stonehaven Bay. The founding of this Christian place of worship is associated with St. Nathalan. who lived circa 650 AD. The structure is alternatively known as Cowie Chapel. The chapel is at the point where the Highland Boundary Fault meets the sea and so is on the dividing line between the highlands and lowlands of Scotland.

Cowie, Aberdeenshire

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Hospitals in medieval Scotland

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Clunie Water

Clunie Water is a river of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is a tributary of the River Dee, joining the river at Braemar, among grey stone buildings. Callater Burn is a tributary of the Clunie; the confluence is at Auchallater. The river flows alongside the A93 road.


  1. 1 2 3 Rhys, Guto. "Approaching the Pictish language: historiography, early evidence and the question of Pritenic" (PDF). University of Glasgow. University of Glasgow.
  2. "Month". Dictionaries of the Scots Language. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  3. Adam Watson, The Cairngorms, SMC District Guide 1992
  4. Wishart A. Mitchell & Ailsa Guild, The Quaternary of Glen Clova & Strathmore, QRA Field Guide, 2019, p.3
  5. David Jarman, Landscape evolution, in Wishart A. Mitchell & Ailsa Guild, The Quaternary of Glen Clova & Strathmore, QRA Field Guide, 2019, pp. 36-62
  6. C. Michael Hogan, Causey Mounth, Megalithic Portal, ed. by Andy Burnham, 3 Nov 2007
  7. Archibald Watt, Highways and Byways around Kincardineshire, Stonehaven Heritage Society (1985)
  8. G.M. Fraser, "The Old Deeside Road (Aberdeen to Braemar): Its Course, History, and Associations", The University Press, Aberdeen, 1921
  9. A. Graham, "The Military Road from Braemar to the Spital of Glen Shee, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Volume 97, 1963-4

See also