|The Drake stone gets a mention in a few places, most recently on climbing websites. It merits a mention and a photo in the Bords' 'The secret Country'. In this book, and in other local histories, the Drake Stone is reported to have the ability to cure sick children who are passed over it. Tomlinson (1888) even goes so far as to comment that although he has seen no direct evidence of this, ""Harbottle is an exceptionally healthy place ........and mortality among children almost unknown"
It's possible that Tomlinson took his information from a slightly earlier source, Murray's Northumberland: handbook to durham and Northumberland (part II London 1873, p 324.) where it is stated that:
"Half a mile from Harbottle is the Drake Stone, a very interesting relic, being the Draag stone of the druids. By a small tarn near it is a druidical rock basin. The custom which still prevails in harbottle, of passing sick children over the drake stone may be a relic of druidical times, when they were probably passed through the fire on the same spot."
Other folklore associated with the stone tells of a plan to drain the lough, which was abandoned after the workmen ran away afer hearing a disembodied voice cry:
"Let alone, let alone
Or I'll drown Harbottle
And the Peels
And the bonny Holystone"
Which could of course just have been a good way to get out of what would have been an unenviable task. Folklore also has it that disembodied cries for help emanating from the stone were not unusual, with passing travellers spending the night in safety at the top but unable to descend in the morning.
Posted by Hob
22nd January 2006ce
Edited 22nd January 2006ce