Some water spirits were less than benevolent. A man desperate to reach his sick wife but despaired because the Luib Bridge over the Don had been swept away in a flood, accepted an offer from a very tall individual to carry him across. In the mid-river the kelpie, for such the stranger was, tried to drown the man, who only escaped after a fierce struggle. When he reached the bank the fustrated creature threw a boulder at him. Passers-by added stones to the boulder until it became known as Kelpie's Cairn.
The Witch. (Stories From Congarff)
'A large rock called St Moluag can be seen to east of the path up Tap O Noth. St. Moluag was a famous Celtic missionary and a contemporary of St. Columba. Sent to Pictland in AD562 he founded several churchs in the area including one at the nearby village of Clatt. The great rock Clochmaloo (stone of St. Moluag) was probably used as a retreat whilst he worked in the area.'
From the notice board at the car park.
The Battle Of Barra
The battle was fought on May 23rd, 1308. The army of King Robert The Bruce routed that of John Comyn, Earl Of Buchan. Bruce's victory marked the turning point in his bid to become king.
The battle is believed to have taken place on the lower slopes (Oldmeldrum side) of Barra Hill.
This chair shaped stone had previously lay higher up Barra Hill. Legend has it that Bruce, who was ill at the time, watched the battle from it.
Meldrum and Bourtie Society.
A small mound or hillock hollowed out in the centre. It is now partly filled up and defaced by a ditch cut through it. The local tradition is that it was made and used by a person called 'Tam' during the time of religious persecution in Scotland. It is also a well known point on the boundary of Marnoch and Forglen.
Name Book 1866.
'McConnochie states that the natural boulder called the Wolf Stone, in Scare Wood, was thrown by Mr Satan at Mrs Satan, but it fell short. The alternative legend, that a wolf had littered there and was killed by a woman throwing a girdle at it, is found in several places in Scotland. the stone may have been the site of land-courts in the Middle Ages. In MacPherson's Primitive Beliefs gives the case of James Smith, reported to the Aberdeen Synod for 'casting knots at marriages for unlawful ends'. This would have been magical ill-will, intended to foment disharmony in the newly married couple, or prevent them from having children.'
Mysterious Aberdeenshire - Geoff Holder.
'A very large cairn west of Luther Water was called Katie's Cairn because it supposedly marked the spot where Katie the witch was burnt. This is probably the same cairn described as the Witch Knap in Watt's Highways ans Byways, in which it was placed just east of the burn. Every schoolboy knew to contribute a stone to the when passing-or else the witch would get them. The cairn evaporated during the stone-hungry years of the mid-nineteenth century.'
Mysterious Aberdeenshire - Geoff Holder
In a story told by Patrick Will, confirmed by RCAHMS, the woods next to Shethin have a horrible tale.
'Three sisters were hunted down, why nobody knows. Sadly they were killed and the cairn at Lindsayhill Wood used as their burial place.'
Sadly, for me, I'd ran out of time but I will go back and have a look to see if there are any remains of this cairn.
Whilst visiting this stone I was lucky enough to meet a local lady walking her dog. She came from nearby Pepperhillock and told me two local myths.
This stone was used a marker to lead to another standing stone down on the banks of the River Dee. The stone pointed to a place were the Dee could be crossed. Unfortunately the stone was taken down years ago.
The standing stone at Standingstones farm is known locally as the husband. Slightly to the west is smaller stone known as the wife. It is said that as long as they stand together then the local residents will enjoy many happy days especially if they are married.
(It is aligned to Bennachie.)
'Monk's Cairn is so-called solely because it marked the boundary of the land owned by the Abbey of Kinloss. The legend of its marking the spot where the monk of Grange was killed in a duel, is unfounded.'
W. Crammond, 1895.
'Kenneth the 2nd of Alba, King of Scotland was the son of Malcolm 1 of Alba, King of Scotland. He died at Finella's castle, Fettercairn, Scotland, possibly murdered. He is buried on the Isle of Iona, Argyllshire.
Kenneth the 2nd, of Scotland, gained the title Kenneth of Alba. He succeeded to this title during 971.
He was possibly killed by Finvela, a noblewoman, whose son was killed by the king. She is said to have lured Kenneth into her home promising to unmask traitors. In one room a statue connected to several hidden crossbows which were set to fire bolts from every side when a golden apple was lifted. After a great feast, at which wine flowed freely, Finvela took her guest to the fatal room and offered him a golden apple as a gesture of peace. As he lifted the apple, he was struck by a hail of bolts.'
In a saft summer gloamin,
In yon dowie dell,
It was there we twa first met,
By Wearie's cauld well,
We sat on the brume bench,
And look'd in the burn,
But sidelang we look'd on,
Ilk ither in turn.
The corn craik was chirmimg,
His sad eerie cry,
And the wee stars were dreaming,
Their path through the sky,
The burn babbled freely,
Its love to ilk flower,
But we heard and saw nought,
In that blessed hour.
We heard and we saw nought,
Above or around,
We felt that oor love lived,
And loathed idle sound,
I gazed on your sweet face,
Tull tears filled my e'e,
And they drapped on your wee loof -
A warlds wealth to me.
Now the winter's snaw is fa'ing,
On bare holim and lea,
And the cauld wind is drippin,
Ilk leaf aff the tree,
But the snaw fa's not faister,
Nor leaf disna part,
Sae sune frae the bough, as
Faith fades in your heart.
Ye've waled oot another,
Your bridegroom to be;
But can his heart love sae,
As mine luvit thee?
Ye'll get biggings and maulings,
And monie braw claes;
But they a' winna buy back,
The peace o' past days.
Fareweel and for ever,
My first luve and laist,
May the joys be to come -
Mine lies in the past,
In sorrow and sadness,
This hears fa's once;
But light, as thy live, may
It fleet over thee.
Whistle - Binkie
The Piper Of The Party.
'The farmer then removed a stone circle nearby and paid a great price. All his cattle died of disease. Several cairns about 100 paces to the west were removed entirely.'
McPherson's Primitive Beliefs
(It is believed that the circle involved was Druidstones.)
I would think this is story between Bennachie and Tap O Noth Rhiannon is looking for.
'It is easy to see how this elemental landscape has generated legends. The causeway and the fort were built by the Devil or by Sir Andrew Leslie of Balquahain as a secure rape-camp for the local girls he abducted. In reality the causeway could be early medieval or prehistoric route to the fort. The giant Jock O Bennachie lived here. Little John's Length to the east of Craigshannoch is his bed; assuming he slept full-length he was 600ft 9183m) tall. North-west of Craigshannoch a shirt shaped surface is where he dried his clothes. The Giant threw boulders at TAP O NOTH, especially after its resident guardian stole his girlfriend Anne. Jock then met a strange woman he mistook for the Lady Anne; when they kissed he sank into an enchanted sleep beneath the mountain. Only when a certain woman finds the magical key will he be released. A man once found the key, but couldn't turn it in the great lock. He put his hat on the key to mark the place and went to get help. When the party returned, key, lock and hat had all vanished.'
Not to be outdone this prophecy became legend:
'Scotland will never be rich, be rich,
Till they find the keys of Bennachie,
They shall be found by a wife's ae son, wi ae e'e,
Aneath a juniper tree.'
Thomas The Rhymer
(3rd line translation "ae" means one and "wi ae e'e" is with one eye. Seems perfect english to me ye ken!)
"Quite often the offerings were of some foodstuff, particularly milk. Some of the stories were named after gruagach - supernatural beings who watched over cattle and dairy work - and offerings of milk were left at these stones in return for good harvests and other agricultural benefits. Offerings of milk were left at the Clach Na Gruagach on Colonsay. Marks on the stone were said to have been caused by ropes used to tie the gruagach to it."
Magic and Witchcraft In Scotland.
"Cup marks on the Rothiemay recumbent stone represented the Pole Star, the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and the brightest stars such as Artacus, Bootes, Aldebaran, Capella, Vega and Altair."
Revd. G. F. Browne.
On Some Antiquities in the Neighbourhood of Dunecht House.
"A ley-line runs from, or at least an alignment, runs from the RSC west of the castle (Fraser) through a pair of standing stones close to the road and onwards east to the single menhir at Lauchentilly. The first two monuments can only be visited when the field is not in crop."
The New View From Over Atlantis.
"The magnificent Stone of Morphie sits next to the road through the farm where George Beatties ill fated romance took place. (he committed suicide after his betrothed dumped him) The 11ft monolith was once used as the core of a grain stack, and in that guise was blown down - along with the stack - by a hurricane in 1850. Six years later, digging prior to re-erection unearthed a skeleton. Folklorically, it marks the grave of the mythical Danish leader Camus.
The stone's surface bears the fingerprints of the local kelpie, who was also enslaved by the local laird to build the now-vanished Morphie Castle. This kelpie lived in the Ponage Pool in the (river) North Esk and achieved lasting fame in the poem John o 'Arnha', a kind of Kincardinshire version of Tam o' Shanter written by the tragic George Beattie. John Findlay, John o 'Arnha' was a boastful and authoritarian Town Officer whom Beattie knew well. The poem was turned into a play and performed at the Theatre Royal in Montrose in 1826, with the principal actor wearing Findlay's own red coat. The action concerns the fearless John who works his way up the supernatural food chain, besting the kelpie, a group of witches, and finally Old Nick himself."
Mysterious Aberdeenshire - Geoff Holder
'Stand aff, ye fiend, and dread my wraith,
Or soon I'll steek your een in death:,
Not you nor a' the hounds of hell,
Can my undaunted courage quell.'
John O' Arnha - George Beattie (1883 edition)
"The irregularly-shaped Court Stane is one of those standing stones which attracts folkloric jetsam. The name could come from the site of an old feudal court of the Barony of Mondynes (which may mean there was a stone circle here - just like at Old Rayne); or perhaps it was emblematic of the authority of a Steward or Thane. More theatrically, it is said to mark where Duncan II was killed in 1094. In 2004 the stone was a bright white, courtesy of a tradition of unknown purpose maintained by the estate. In recent years the paint has not been renewed and the stone has reverted to its native grey."
This also has the name of "Tuam-an-fhamaire". Translated as the "Grave of the Giant".
The Place Names Of West Aberdeenshire
"The persistent tradition is that witches were executed here; this maybe a memory of the fact that a court did judge a witch at the stone. 1595 had a case from 'This Court of ye Burgh of Kintore, holden at ye Cloven Stone'. In this instance the court acquitted two men of striking Isobel Cockie, on the self-defence grounds that she was 'in ane distemper, and they were forced to put her out of doors'. This was at least a year before she was investigated for witchcraft."
Extracts From The Record Books Of Kintore 1864
Still doing the music, following that team, drinking far to much and getting lost in the hills! (Some Simple Minds, Glasvegas, Athlete, George Harrison, Empire Of The Sun, Nazareth on the headphones, good boots and sticks, away I go!)
(The Delerium Trees)
Protect your heritage!