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Mormond White Horse

Also known as Strichen White Horse

Strichen, Aberdeenshire

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Mormond or Strichen white horse is the only white horse in Scotland, is constructed of quartz on Waughton Hill which is contiguous with Mormond Hill, overlooking Stricken. From the map it would appear to face SW. Mormond Hill also has another hill figure, a stag cut in 1870, also filled with quartz. The Stag is said to be on the opposite, seaward side of the hill.

Probably best viewed from Strichen or the roads around. The surrounding landscape is very flat, much of it peat bog, the hill and the horse are a significant presence in the landscape for some miles around.

The exact date of construction is unknown but is around the late 1790's.  It is 162' long by 126' high. The slope is not steep but the design offers good views of the horse.

There are a number of different stories relating to why the horse was cut including, two very similar,

  • Cut by Captain Fraser, a relation of the laird of Strichen whose horse was shot from under him in a Dutch battle in 1794. A Sergeant Henderson offered him his horse but he was shot dead during this and upon his return Captain Fraser cut the horse as a memorial to him.
  • The horse was "commissioned" by Captain Fraser who succeeded to the estate in 1775. It was to be a memorial to a selfless act that had inspired him during his service for King and Country during the bitter years of the French Revolutionary wars. He gathered the local populace on Mormond Hill and set them the task of creating a horse. The horse is 164ft/50m from nose to tail and 146ft/44.5m from head to hoof, filled with white quartz and is now a well known Buchan landmark. While on campaign with the British Army in Holland Captain Fraser was involved in a battle near the town of Gilzen, south of Rotterdam. (The town is now known as Gilze). He was unfortunate to have his horse shot from beneath him which left him vulnerable during the fight. His faithful Sergeant, James Hutcheon, of New Pitsligo, dismounted and offered his white horse to his captain saying, "Never mind Sir, I shall soon find another riderless mount." Having uttered these words he was shot dead. There was no time to mourn his loss during the heat of battle but the memory of actions that day stayed with Captain Fraser until his return to Strichen in 1820/1.
  • Captain Fraser saw the Uffington White Horse and on his return to Strichen he cut the horse.
  • Cut in early 19th Century by the tenants of Strichen Estate to commemorate the war horse of Lord Lovat (Scottish gazetteer).

The Mormond Hill Stag was created 1869-70 by a Mr W. F. Cordiner of Cortes, and decorates the east side of Mormond overlooking the village of New Leeds on the A92. It is bigger than the horse.

On one of the highest ridges are ruins of a Hunting Lodge, built in 1779 by the same Captain Fraser. This was a two storey building with the gamekeeper occupying the upper floor. Read more ......

Partway up the hill between the White Horse and the Stag lies a flat stone. It is said to have been a spot for resting coffins in distant ages when there was no consecrated burial place at Strichen, and the dead had to be borne over the hill to the graveyard at Rathen. Philologists translate the farm name --Dencallie-- above which the stone lies as "the den of rest", giving this some credence.

See Larger Image Click on images on the right to see larger versions

Top two images are of the white horse, the bottom one shows the surface of the white horse in the foreground.

See Larger Image by Ken Fitlike

See Larger Image by Ken Fitlike

See Larger Image by Ken Fitlike


Further information Grid



Mormond  White Horse, Strichen, Aberdeenshire

Ceremonial County: Aberdeenshire

Grid Reference:


Map Link:

Ordnance survey NJ961566

Aerial photo: Google aerial photos are not good enough scale to show



Best Times to Visit:






Other useful websites:


Scottish Gazetteer


Very long gazetteer description on Strichen

More to see locally

Nearby Locations:

Recumbent Stone Circle Click for images at NJ936545

Wreck - Stricken House click for images

Towered Town House  click for pictures

Other Relevant pages:

Introduction to hillside figures

How to photograph hillside figures

Listing of hillside figures



Planning Grid


Mormond  White Horse, Stichen, Aberdeenshire

Grid Reference:

NJ 961566

Getting there:

Visible from Strichen, but see map for local layout of lanes.


No apparent footpaths to horse. There is a track along the top of the hill.


Country roads, probably no problem



Things To Do, See and Photograph:

White horse, stag, stone circle and interesting buildings nearby.

What to take:


Nature highlights:

Country location







Opening times:




Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions: None known
Special Needs Access: Unknown, but will be able to be easily seen from the road
Special Needs Facilities: None
Children Facilities:  
Dogs Allowed: None known

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Keith Park Section: White Horse & Hillside Features Key:
Page Ref: Mormond Topic: Hillside Last Updated: 01/2012


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