The Modern Antiquarian. Ancient Sites, Stone Circles, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic Mysteries

Highland (Mainland): Latest Posts — Folklore

Previous 10 | Showing 31-40 of 65 folklore posts. Most recent first | Next 10

Baile Mhargaite (Broch)

[There is a tradition] regarding the Sandy dun at Bettyhill, where an old woman hid a croc of cold previous to the dun being attacked, and measured the distance from it with a clew of thread.
A disappointingly brief mention in 'Notes of Cromlechs, Duns, Hut-Circles, Chambered Cairns and other remains, in the County of Sutherland' by James Horsburgh, in PSAS v7 (1866-8).

Information about the broch can be found here.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
28th October 2009ce

Lochan Hakel (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

To the west [is] Loch-an-Hacon, or as it is generally called Loch-an-Haalkal, in which is an island with the remains of a castle on it, said to have been built by Hacon for a hunting seat [...] it is said that a causeway ran from the island to the mainland, a distance of 20 or 30 yards; the water is now, however, 6 or 7 feet deep. On the edge of the preciptious bank of the loch, and exactly opposite the island, there is a large boulder with a flat top, and on this there are a number of cups and rings. The people say they were made by the high heels of a fairy who lived in the castle. This stone is not generally known. Old Ross, the gamekeeper at Tongue, first told me of it, and he and I scraped off the moss and exposed the whole. He thought it was for playing some game. On the left of the stone, on a bit separated by a crack, there is a sort of a figure which appears to have been formed by cutting away the stone around it and leaving it in relief, and also some artificial cutting on the right, a sort of circular groove.
From 'Notes of Cromlechs, Duns, Hut-Circles, Chambered Cairns and other remains, in the County of Sutherland' by James Horsburgh, in PSAS v7 (1866-8).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
28th October 2009ce

Isle Maree (Sacred Well)

Another legend connected with the island is a Romeo and Juliet-esque yarn, of a local girl and a Viking Prince. They got married and lived in a tower on the island. They were very happy but the prince's Viking friends needed him back on the longboat. The couple hatched a plan involving black and white flags that would be displayed on his return to indicate whether they were dead or alive. When the prince sailed back he flew his white flag. But his princess had devised some daft method of testing his feelings, involving pretending to be dead. You can guess the rest. They're supposed to be buried on the island.

Told at length in 'Gairloch in North west Ross-shire' by John Dixon (1886).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th July 2009ce

An Dun (Stone Fort / Dun)

When you walk to the dun from the road, you may well go through a little dip in the ground called 'Leabaidh na Ba Baine' - the bed of the white cow. It's said to have been scooped out by Fingal himself to provide a comfy spot where his white cow could calve.

Mentioned in 'Gairloch in North-west Ross-shire' by John Dixon (1886).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th July 2009ce

Ben Loyal (Rocky Outcrop)

Regarding the Parish of Tongue:
A semicircular chain of mountains passes nearly through the middle of the parish, the principle of which are Knoc-Rheacadan, (The Watchman's Hill), Ben Laoghal, and Ben Hope. Ben Laoghal is almost a perpendicular rock, deeply furrowed, and about half a mile high. As it declines towards the west, it is broken into several craggy points, on one of which are seen the remains of a building, called by the country people Caistal nan Druidhich, the Druid's Castle.

...

Ben Laoghal is famed, in the songs of the bards, as the scene of the death of Dermid, a young man of such extraordinary beauty, that no female heart, of that age, could resist; and withal of such prowess, that even Fingal, whose wife he had seduced, would not himself attack him, but found means to get him slain by a boar. He and the lady, or the boar, (it is not yet determined which), lie buried at the foot of the mountain.
From v3 of the Statistical Account of Scotland of the 1790s.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd March 2009ce

Craigiehowe (Cairn(s))

Here at the mouth of Munlochy Bay there are the traces of more than half a dozen cairns. And at the end beyond them, on the tip of the land, a cave, about which the RCAHMS record says:
Craigiehowe Cave is traditionally inhabited by the Fingalians.
At the mouth is a dripping well which is resorted to as a cure for deafness.
W J Watson 1904. (Place Names of Ross and Cromarty).
The Statistical Account of the 1790s mentions that:
There is one large cove in this parish, at a place called Craig-a-chow (a name given it for its famous echo) at the entrance of the bay of Munlochy, it is very large and reaches far into the rock, so far indeed that the farmers in the neighbourhood were obliged to shut it up toward the hill with rubbish; for, when their sheep and goats strayed into it, they were never again seen nor heard of. The mouth of the cave was made up with stone and lime several years ago, by traders who secured and secreted smuggled goods in it; but since that contraband trade has been abolished on this coast, the mason work is fallen to decay. The cave could easily contain, I am told, a whole ship's cargo.

In this cave, there is a spring of water to which the superstitious part of the people attribute a medicinal effect, and still repair to it on the first Sunday of every quarter, for a cure to any malady or disease under which they happen to labour. The water is said to be particularly famous for restoring the sense of hearing, by pouring a few drops of it into the affected ear; but this, in my opinion, must be owing to the cold and piercing quality of the water forcing its way through the obstructions of the ear. The coldness of this water is greater than any I ever tasted, and no wonder, for the sun never shines upon it, and it oozes through a considerable body of rock.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th February 2009ce

Carn Glas (Chambered Tomb)

This relates to many of the monuments in the area:
There are evident marks of a battle's being fought in this parish. It is said to have been between the people of Inverness and the McDonalds, and to have happened in the 13th or 14th century. The plain on which this battle was fought, is to this day called Blair-na-coi; a name given it from this particular circumstance, that as one of the contending parties was giving way and flying, a tenant and his son who were ploughing on that field, had taken off the yokes with which the oxen were fastened together, rallied the routed troops, and with them recommenced the action and carried the day.

It would appear the battle was bloody, and desperately fought, from the vast number of cairns of stones that are still to be seen there, covering the dead. These the people still hold so sacred, that though the place was in tillage when the battle was fought, the marks of the ridges being still visible there, and though a great deal of the adjoining moor is now cultivated, not one of these cairns has ever een touched.

Another circumstance that strengthens this opinion is, that the heights and adjacent places go by the name of Druim-na-deor, "the height or the Hill of Tears." To the E. of where the battle was fought, are to be seen the remains of a Druidical temple, called James's Temple; and to the W. of the filed of battle, are to be seen the traces of a camp, and a similar one to it on the S. on the hill of Kessock, the highest hill in this parish, where there is also a pretty large cairn of stones, called Cairn-glas.

..
From the Statistical Account, v12, 1794.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th February 2008ce

Clach-na-Cudainn (Rocking Stone)

A seer declared from this seat that Inverness would be safe as long as they had this stone, which survived an assault on the town by Donald of the Isles. After Bannockburn a Highlander was hanged from an apple tree in the neighbourhood. Latterly women coming up with river water would rest their stoops on it. wideford Posted by wideford
5th February 2008ce

Eagle Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

From the Statistical Accounts (see link):

There is another stone between Castle Leod and the spa with an eagle cut upon it, and called in Gaelic Clach an Tiom-pan. It stands close to the old line of road, and is supposed to mark the place where a number of the Munroes fell in an affray with the Mackenzies of Seaforth. The tradition is as follows:
The Lady of Seaforth dwelt at that time in a wicker or wattled house at Kinellan. A party of the Munroes came upon her by surprise, and carried off the Lady, house, and all that it contained. They were overtaken near Castle Leod, defeated with great slaughter, and the Lady of Seaforth rescued. Clach-an-tiompan was set up by the Munroes over the remains of their fellow-clansmen. Kenneth Oure is said to have prophesied that in course of time ships should be seen moored to this stone.
nickbrand Posted by nickbrand
25th August 2007ce

Carn na Croiche (Chambered Cairn)

From The Statistical Accounts (see link):

On the summit of a wooded hill called Knock Navie, there is a cairn called Carna na Croiche, i.e. the cairn of the gallows. The tradition connected with it is, that some men who were travelling, being weary and faint with hunger, as they passed Achnacloich, stopped and asked the woman who had charge of the laird's dairy for some cheese and milk to allay their hunger, offering at the same time to pay for it. She, however, refused to give it; upon which, the men took it, laid down money for it, and went away. The woman immediately informed the laird of the circumstance, who being a man of a fierce and savage disposition, sent after the travellers, brought them back and hanged them on the spot now marked by the cairn.
nickbrand Posted by nickbrand
25th August 2007ce
Previous 10 | Showing 31-40 of 65 folklore posts. Most recent first | Next 10