Drumlithie is a village in the northeast of Scotland[1] in the area known as the Howe o' the Mearns. Situated seven miles south of Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, it is affectionately known by locals as 'Skite', although the origin of this name remains disputed.

Previously a weaving village, Drumlithie has a small steeple at its heart which was rung to signal the start and end of the working day. Ask a local what happens to the steeple when it rains and it is sure to raise a smile. Story has it that villagers are so proud of it that they take it in when it rains. These days the only time the bell can be heard ringing round the village is to welcome in the New Year, but it is also rung for weddings and births.

Drumlithie is noted for its appearance in the classic Lewis Grassic Gibbon novel, 'Sunset Song', while neighbouring Glenbervie is the final resting place of the great grandparents of famous Scottish poet Robert Burns. Drumlithie is also twinned with Couture D'Argenson in France.

The village school is called Glenbervie Primary, and is attended by around 70 local children from the village and surrounding area.

Other amenities include a friendly local pub, bowling green, a park and a village hall. There is an annual Christmas light turn on which is held in the village hall each year as well as the over 60's Christmas lunch. Drumlithie has its village shop back - Steeple Shop opened on 9 April 2012 and sells local produce, a selection of specialty items, as well as day to day necessities.

The park contains a football pitch and tennis court, and serves as the school playing field. It also plays host to the annual Drumlithie Gala, which is held on the second Saturday of June each year with raffle stalls, coconut shy, kids & adult races and lots, lots more it's a great day to visit the village. The finale of the gala is the Single vs Married Men's football match, which is a good humoured, but fiercely contested game.

Drumlithie has three church services every month. On the first Sunday, there is a Church of Scotland meeting at Glenbervie Parish Church just outside the village, St John the Baptist Scottish Episcopal Church holds a service on the fourth Sunday of the month (and also on the fifth when this occurs) and on the fourth Sunday Drumlithie Community Church meets either at the village hall or Bowling club.

There are many groups and clubs in the village - Harvey Bugs (Forest school); Pre-school; Baby & Toddler Group; After school care DASH (Drumlithie After School Help); Art Classes, Bowling Club, Horticultural Club, Drumlithie Events Committee; Drumlithie Improvement Group; Community Association, WRI Group. There is also a Wee Free Library in the village.

Ancient history

Some of the nearest Bronze Age archaeological recoveries are situated somewhat to the north near Stonehaven at the Fetteresso[2] and Spurryhillock sites. Drumlithie is located near the marching course of Roman Legions that may their way north on explorations and invasion of northern Scotland in the first two centuries AD. These marches connected a series of Roman Camps including Stracathro to the south and Raedykes to the north.

Mention must be made of one son of Glenbervie whose fame is known "the warld ower".... Our national bard, Rabbie Burns, whose forebears farmed on the braes of Brawliemuir. It was from the farm of Clochnahill, just off the main Laurencekirk to Stonehaven road, that Rabbie's father left the howe to seek a better livelihood in other airts.

The old Churchyard at Glenbervie is where many of the Burns ancestors are buried, and it was one of the places visited by the Bard when he came to the Mearns.

In the 12th Century much of Glenbervie was owned by the Melville family, one of whom was the hated John Melville, Sheriff of Kincardine, who is purported to have met a rather gruesome end! But more of him when we reach the Garvock Hill.

Fiddes Castle is situated in the surrounding area. Slightly more distant castles in the general area are Dunnottar Castle, Drumtochty Castle, Fetteresso Castle and Muchalls Castle.

Near the "new" Parish Church, which was built in 1826, stands Glenbervie House, parts of which date back to the 17th Century.

Drumlithie is the only village in the Parish and, rather like Marykirk, its original layout tends to be clustered near the churches and the hostelry. Because of its situation, which is well removed from the main North-South highway, it has retained much of its yesteryear charm. A considerable amount of new housing has sprung up on the periphery and increased the local population, but the heart remains much as before.

The Drumlithie steeple has to be one of the most famous landmarks of the entire area and the story goes that when it was first built in 1770 the inhabitants were so proud of it that they took it indoors in inclement weather. In fact the tall free-standing Steeple of Bell Tower, complete with its weather-vane, was built as a means of "clocking on and off" for the members of the local weaving community. So here again we find that in years gone by weaving was one of the main occupations of the inhabitants of the Howe o' the Mearns.

Drumlithie Village is the site of the Glenbervie Parish School, a very well attended establishment which caters for pupils from a wide area of the district.

The name Drumlithie is thought to be derived from the old meaning of a Drum, being the ridge of a slope or hillside, and Lithie could possibly mean "Grey Place".

Close to Drumlithie is the land of Mondynes, and here again springs the history of Scottish kings and their battles. It was here that King Duncan the Second is thought to have been slain, and the spot where he fell, in a field at Mill of Mondynes, is marked by a large standing stone which, legend has it, must be kept whitewashed at all times.

Across the dual carriageway from Mondynes is the road which leads over the Hill of Gyratesmyre and Alpity to Arbuthnott.


Drumlithie lies close to the East Coast Main Line and was served by a railway station from 1849 to 1956. The number 26 bus service runs north to Stonehaven and south via Auchenblae to either Laurencekirk or Luthermuir.

Local Radio

Alongside the commercial enterprise of the local newspaper, The Mearns Leader, Drumlithie has a Local Community Radio Station in Mearns FM.[3] Broadcasting from nearby Stonehaven in the Townhall, Mearns FM helps to keep Drumlithie up to date with local and charity events, as well as playing a wee bit of music. Staffed completely by volunteers, Mearns FM is run as a not for profit organisation, broadcasting under a Community Radio licence, with a remit to provide local focus news events and programming. Jointly funded by local adverts and local and national grants. Mearns FM has one of the largest listening areas of any Community Radio Station owing to the Mearns' distributed population, Mearns FM was set up to try to bring these distant communities together.[4]

See also


  1. United Kingdom Ordnance Survey Map Landranger 45, Stonehaven and Banchory, 1:50,000 scale, 2004
  2. C.Michael Hogan, Fetteresso Fieldnotes, The Modern Antiquarian (2008)
  3. http://mearnsfm.org.uk/
  4. Mearns FM launch release

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