Bite-About is a ruined probable bastle house situated on the edge of a field on Printonan Hill.
When Bite-About was built is unknown, however a date of the 16th century has been suggested. It was a property of the Trotters of Prentannan and may be represented on Robert and James Gordon’s 17th century map as Prentoning, and on Blaeu’s Atlas as Primtanno Hill.
As it is now surrounded on three sides by woodland its good defensive position isn’t immediately obvious, however it is situated near the summit of Printonan Hill which rises between a burn to the north and another to the south.
Aligned approximately east-north-east by west-south-west the building is rectangular in plan, measuring around 17.8 metres east to west by around 5.0 metres north to south with walls up to 1.1 metres thick. The majority of the walls have fallen with the footings of the east side just about visible under a pile of rubble, while the west gable still stands to a maximum height of around 2.0 metres.
At the better-preserved west end of the building the springing of a barrel vault can just be identified.
Unusually for a bastle house it appears to have the remains of an external stair tower projecting from the north wall near it’s north-east end. A wall extending to the east has been interpreted as being an extension containing a fireplace.
Legend has it that the building received its name when the occupants ran short of food while being besieged by the English and were forced to share their rations “bite about”. However the name may actually derive from two old Scots words related to the land. A “bite” was a small area of pasture while a “bout” was the length a labourer could clear with a scythe going straight forwards.
Little seems known about the fate of this castle however given what happened to so many castles in this area it seems entirely likely that it may have been destroyed by the Earl of Hertford in 1544 or 1545.
Alternative names for Bite-About
Bite-a-bout; Bite-About Pele; Prentoning; Primtanno Hill; Printonan Hill