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

Port na Faganaich

Natural Rock Feature


"Not far from Ardvasar is tiny Port na Faganaich, the Port (or Bay) of the Forsaken Ones. Here some great stones stand in the sea. One story tells how they were thrown there by the Fiennes when they were exercising in Knoydart: another makes them pagans who, having 'hearts of stone', would not repent at St. Columba's preaching, nor be baptized, and so became in time 'all stone like their hearts'. But the third story goes better with the Gaelic name. It tells how one night a party of young fishermen returning late from their fishing saw something splashing in the phosphorescent water. They approached quietly and found a number of seal-maidens who had sloughed off their seal-skins and were disporting themselves in the sea. So lovely were they that the youths stood entranced, all but one who ran away with their skins. As the first shafts of dawn light pierced the sky the maidens made for the rock, only to find themselves skinless. They wept and lamented and the boys, in honest ignorance of the skins' whereabouts, comforted them as best they coult. To cut a long story short, each seal-maiden married a young fisherman and they lived together in much happiness for a year, then the youth who had hidden the seal-skins had it 'laid upon him' to return them. That night came the call of the sea and the seal-maidens obeyed it. They could do no other. Their husbands, trying to hold them back, were turned into stones when they entered the sea with their wives. But the seal-maidens never forget and can be seen, by those who have the eyes to see, in the soft sea moonlight, each keeping tryst with her own stone."

- Otta F. Swire, Skye: The Island and its Legends, 1961, pp. 203-4.

There is no sign of the name "Port na Faganaich" on the OS map of the area. There is, however, an ancient cairn marked on the seashore at Ardvasar, and since this is the only ancient monument that the map records in the vicinity of Ardvasar, I have used its national grid reference as the location of Port na Faganaich. I must admit, however, that I have my doubts as to whether or not this is the site Swire describes. The Port na Faganaich stones sound very much like they are actually in the water, and this cairn appears to be on dry land. The national grid reference given here, then, should be taken as a rough guide to the vicinity of the Port na Faganaich Selkie stones.
TomBo Posted by TomBo
28th June 2004ce
Edited 30th June 2004ce

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