THE ANNUAL commemorative service marking Hillside’s connection to the national Bard took place on Sunday, with the laying of five red roses.
A plaque in the village marks the site where, on September 13, 1787, Robert Burns stopped to water his horse during a journey to visit relatives in Kincardineshire.
Now in its third year, the simple ceremony was carried out by a group of Burns enthusiasts including members of the Stonehaven (Fatherland) Burns Club, Arbroath Burns Club and the Glenbervie Memorial Association which maintains memorials and plaques dedicated to Burns and his ancestors.
Montrose Burns Club was also represented by president Graeme Newton, who gave a speech to mark the occasion.
Light was shed on the sandstone plaque’s origins, which had been shrouded in mystery, more than two years ago after research by the Father of the Bard project. It bears the poet’s name, the date of his visit and the year 1930, when it was placed in the wall at Rosemount Estate.
Frustrated by the lack of documentary evidence, the research team placed an appeal in the Review which attracted the attention of 90-year-old Harry Harris, who claimed the stone had been carved by Adam Christie, a well-known former Sunnyside Hospital patient and artist. Mr Harris also said his father Joseph, a ward orderly at the hospital, helped set the plaque along with superintendent C.J. Shaw and colleague Willie Herd.
Jim Smith, of the Glenbervie Memorial Association, said: “This is an important part of the story of the Mearns and Robert Burns, and we intend to keep September 13 as a day to remember the four men who first commemorated Burns’ visit to Hillside.”