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Ben Loyal

Rocky Outcrop

<b>Ben Loyal</b>Posted by GLADMANImage © Robert Gladstone
Also known as:
  • Ben Laighal

Nearest Town:Thurso (58km ENE)
OS Ref (GB):   NC571485 / Sheet: 10
Latitude:58° 24' 5.99" N
Longitude:   4° 26' 44.06" W

Added by Rhiannon


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<b>Ben Loyal</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Ben Loyal</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Ben Loyal</b>Posted by GLADMAN

Folklore

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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

Janet and Colin Bord give a very strange tale for this mountain in their 'Atlas of Magical Britain', but as usual don't reveal their sources, so perhaps a reader will know if this story is still current, or from where it originates.

The mountain is said to be magnetic and distorts compass readings, confusing hikers. There is supposed to be a large smelting furnace at its heart, where iron ore is smelted by dwarves. A standing stone somewhere on the mountain is called 'the Stone of the Little Men' and if you leave a silver coin and a drawing, the dwarves will make you your object and leave it on the stone for you.

The mountain does actually contain veins of the unusual earth elements La and Ce.

So, is this a recent romantic view of the mountain? or a weird memory of iron toolmakers and their newfangled technology?!


This story (or essentially a similar retelling of it)
http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/post/55818
is also attached to the mountain, according to
p159 of
The Folk-Lore of Sutherland-Shire
Miss Dempster
The Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. 6, No. 3. (1888), pp. 149-189.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th October 2003ce
Edited 3rd April 2007ce

Miscellaneous

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That Ben Loyal has generated such copious folklore over the years is perhaps hardly surprising considering the dramatic profile it displays to the north, the mountain possessing a visual impact out of all proportion to its relatively modest height.

Arguably the finest viewpoint for taking in the full grandeur is the shattered drystone walls of the broch Dun Mhaigh - see:

http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/img_fullsize/85352.jpg

The picture I've posted, however, was taken during the dying embers of a fine May day, 2009 CE, the OS co-ordinates given for the site approximately highlighted as the twin summits of Sgor a' Chleirich, 2nd right.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
13th December 2009ce
Edited 5th January 2015ce