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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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There is no regular body of stone in the neighbourhood exactly similar in substance to Johnnie Moat, and it has engaged the attention of men of science for a long time past to learn not only how and when he came there, but whence he was imported.=
There are those who say the great stone must have been conveyed thither during the glacial ages. Some have even gone the length of localising the district whence he came. These speculators might easily have gone a step further and said it was a very sensible iceberg that conveyed them thither, for it had planted the three, Johnnie Moat and his twin children, all so nicely in a row.
But why should these stones have been brought here at all by an iceberg, and especially from a foreign country? If an Almighty hand could form and fashion them in Norway, Sweden, or anywhere else, why should power fail that Hand to form and fashion such stones just as easily in the neighbourhood of Prestonpans?
The theory that there is no rock in the immediate neighbourhood of and almost similar in substance to Johnnie Moat, is perhaps not just so very conclusive either after all. Johnnie is a very dark blue whinstone.
There are the Hattle Rocks in the Forth, a little to the north of Johnnie, of a very dark whinstone colour, and there is also a Trap Dyke of very dark blue whinstone just a little to the south of him. This latter may be seen fully exposed at the south end of the Cockenzie plantation, it runs east into the German Ocean, and west through Prestongrange Harbour into the Forth. Thus then is Johnnie situated directly between two great ranges of whinstone.
Johnnie Moat is no doubt a little different from an outside point of view to either the Hattle Rock or Trap Dyke material; but exposure to sunshine and hail, salt wind and salt waters, one after another for centuries, might account partly for this. He has a "burned dander-like appearance—on a near view almost indeed suggestive of one of those occasional heavenly messengers an " aerolite "; but it would not surprise us in the least to learn that Johnnie and his two friends are neither more nor less than a triplet of bastard boulders wrenched from the sides of the Hattle Rocks out in the depths of the Forth, and planted where they are found by the force of the raging waves. Or they may have been lifted, as thousands of other whinstone boulders have been, from the fields adjoining the Trap Dyke to the south of them, and conveyed thither by the fishermen of old
simply for tethering their boats to, for stones a deal larger than these did not seem to give much trouble to the ancients.
Again, between the Firth of Forth and the Lammermoors he thousands of whinstone boulders, not only of various colours but of every size and shape conceivable. Even the Lammermoors themselves are composed for a great part of whinstone. Surely an iceberg did not convey the everlasting hills there! Moreover, if this was, according to geologists, an arctic region millions of years ago, the icebergs had long ago taken to flight, and in their going it seems quite as reasonable to suppose that they conveyed these boulders from the Lammermoors to where we find them, as to suppose they conveyed them from Norway, Sweden, or anywhere else to the Firth of Forth. If Johnnie Moat did not come out of the depths of the sea, perhaps he came down from the •Lammermoors.
Geologists may continue to suppose, and antiquarians to confirm their suppositions, but it will be a hard thing indeed for any speculator to disprove that Johnnie Moat does not still occupy, in a measure, the very position on which he was originally planted by the Hand that made him, and that he is a genuine native of the ancient hamlet of Althamer.
Of course the reader will understand that the foregoing remarks do not pretend to be a scientific explanation of the presence of these boulders on the shore, but simply the unsophisticated meditations of a non-scientific observer.
From end to end along the shore of the village lie quite a host of semi-detached and scattered rocks, nearly every one of which has from time to time been christened, receiving as a rule the name of the man who lived opposite, or any singular individual who happened to take an interest in them. But some received their names from very different causes.
At the east end near Preston Links lie the " Black Rocks. " These almost adjoin the great range of rough grey rocks which extend from Cockenzie harbour, and take their name from their dull forbidding colour. Next come
The Hattle rocks are an exceedingly rugged range, of very dark whinstone. They almost adjoin the Black Rocks, which again almost adjoin the Cockenzie rocks, run straight along
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