13/07/2013 - It's been a while since our last time on Ben Newe. A lovely hill in the heart of Strathdon. Always very quiet. I guess not many folk apart from locals would have heard of it. Small carparks on east and west sides of hill, we started from the east. Good paths through trees lead to the top, very nice at this time of year. Worth the climb just for the view up Glen Buchat.
The well is found on the north side of the summit tor. A few coins could be just made out through the murky water.
Go on a warm summer day with a book or just your thoughts. It's a place that should not be rushed.
Bad Rhiannon, adding an allegedly ~holy~ well. But this isn't just any holy well, oh no. This holy well is right on the top of a mountain. Ha! a reckless contributor wouldn't know whether to add it as a sacred well or a sacred mountain. Is it justifiable. Possibly. Read on.
BEN NEWE WELL.
There is a big rugged rock on the top of Ben Newe in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. On the north side of this rock, under a projection, there is a small circular-shaped hollow which always contains water. Everyone that goes to the top of the hill must put some small object into it, and then take a draught of water off it. Unless this is done the traveller will not reach in life the foot of the hill. I climbed the hill in June of 1890, and saw in the well several pins, a small bone, a pill-box, a piece of a flower, and a few other objects.*
The RCAHMS record says the OS visited in 1968, and 'offerings of coins [were] still made'.
From p69 of
Guardian Spirits of Wells and Lochs
Folklore, Vol. 3, No. 1. (Mar., 1892), pp. 67-73.
*try not to think of it as Victorian geocaching.
The RCAHMS record also mentions WJ Watson's 1926 'History of the Celtic place-names of Scotland' in which he proposes "The well may be the sacred place (the Celtic 'nemeton') preserved in the 'Newe' element of Ben Newe".