Work to restore the famous white stag of Mormond Hill is on course to finish this weekend.
However, as the historic north-east landmark re-emerged from the hillside, the man at the helm of the restoration project called for volunteers to help keep it pristine for future generations.
It had been obscured by heather, bracken and trees, and the fear is that without regular maintenance, it will soon become overgrown.
Doug Simpson, who set up the Mormond Hill Stag group, said the stag really needs to be cleaned and cleared once a year to save it from disappearing into obscurity.
And he made an impassioned plea to any local businesses willing to donate white chippings – which would help to stop weeds and fill in any gaps.
When did the Mormond Hill stag first appear?
Created out of quarried quartz rock, the huge white stag was carved into the Fraserburgh-facing side of the hill in 1870 to mark the wedding of the local laird.
At 240ft wide and 220ft high, it can be seen for miles around and is considered one of Buchan’s treasures.
Records suggest it has been cleaned a handful of times since the 1930s, but this summer, an army of volunteers have been heading up the hill every few days to sweat it out and get it cleared.
They have been working alongside LAM Forestry, who cleared a path to the stag and sprayed it with weed killer.
Doug, who has been at the helm of the restoration project since 2018, said the stag “really re-emerged” in 2018 after 20 years of no maintenance.
“At that time, he was very nearly lost forever,” he said.
“This latest period of maintenance was after five years which we think on reflection was too long.
“We hope the work will be finished this weekend and we’re very grateful to everyone who’s given up their time to come out and help – especially the hard-working and amazing local group, the Strichen Staggers.
“It takes a lot of time and effort. We’ve ripped out heather, weeds, bracken and even some young trees that were up to 10ft high.”
Doug is hopeful that a “conscientious and generous” contractor might come forward and donate several truck loads of white chippings.
This would help keep the stag free of weeds and stop seeds getting a grip quite so easily.
“White chippings would look great and would help cut down maintenance periods,” he said.
“We’re not sure how many we’d need, but we’d be very keen to hear from anyone who might want to get on board with us to help save the stag for future generations.
“It would a terrible shame if this unique figure were just to disappear from view.”
It’s believed that the white stag is the only monument of its kind in the world.
- For more information, and to enquire about future volunteering opportunities, see the Facebook page of Mormond Hill Stag.