034 Gowk Stone, Auchencorth, Penicuik.
The Gowk Stone, also known as the Auchencorth Stone, is a large
sandstone monolith, standing just under 1km east of Auchencorth
farm steading, on the highest point of a small ridge. The stone
stands over 2.00m high and has distinct vertical fluting due to
weathering. Some fragmentary lettering is visible.
Take the A701 south from Penicuik and veer right on a minor road
at Ravensneuk Farm. Park at the fenced enclosure marking a gas
governor station. Walk west along the road until the line of
pylons. Follow the pylons north-west across the open
moorland/field. The stone can be seen to the right.
On an earlier visit to this site, a few years ago, I
found a small bundle had been placed on top of the stone. It
contained a hazel twig, a black crows feather, some white
sheep's wool and a small stone. Witchcraft or some other
pagan ritual? Out of interest, the Cuckoo is sometimes
referred to as the Gowk.
The Gowk Stone occupies a commanding position above the River
North Esk and a look at the place names in the local area hint
that the stone has a few secrets to tell. The stone is also
referred to as the Auchencorth Stone, meaning place of the fold
or stone circle. Auchencorth Moss can also be seen to the south.
Perhaps the Gowk Stone is the sole survivor of a larger complex
at this location. Across the North Esk stands the remains of
Brunstane castle, the name given to mean stone at the burn.
Walstone may also take its name from the stone. With so many
local places taking name from the stone, surely there is much
more to the Gowk Stone than at first appears.