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


Sacred Hill


Turn we now to [..] that curiously conical hill sticking up alone in the centre of the Crinan moss. This, taking its name from the river which winds round its base, is called Dun-Add, and from which time immemorial has been the favourite haunt of the witches and fairies of Glassrie [..]
A farmer laird of Dun-Add had the second sight. One night he was lying in bed with a churn of cream placed before the fire (yes this is a bit of a set up but it's for the story). He saw the fairies enter the room with a child they'd stolen - they washed it with the cream as part of their Strange Rites. When the cock crowed, they dashed off, leaving behind a little bag. The farmer, much to his wife's disgust, poured the cream away in the yard. As it turned out, the dogs that lapped it up fell dead - so that gave some credibility to the farmer's bizarre story.

When he checked the bag he found the following articles:
.. a little stone spade, something like the stone arrowheads which are frequently found and known by the name of elf shots, a little stone pot for making the fairy porridge, some stone balls, and other affairs. Each of these was possessed of different virtues [..]

The spade was laid beneath the pillow of a sick person, and by the subsequent appearance or non-appearance of perspiration the recovery or death of the invalid was to be discovered. The round balls were to be immersed in a pail of water which afterwards was given as a drink to cattle, who thereby were cured of any disease that might have befallen them; and all the other articles had each a virtue which I have now forgotten, if I ever heard of them [..]
p67 of 'The Royal Route' by Rusticus (1858).
Well who knows if this is tradition or not. But it's the right sort of thing.

On p74, he mentions that the fort of Dunadd possesses "the rare advantage of a good well of water, springing out of the rock almost at the crest of the hill. As everything about this singular place was supposed to have a supernatural character, this well, according to popular belief, rose and fell with the sea tide."

also that:

"On the farm of Rudale, but a short distance from Dunadd, there is a singular cavity in the face of a steep rock, bounding one side of a tiny and secluded dell amongst the hills, with sloping grassy banks opposite to the rock, which is known by the name of Fingal's pulpit."

Because Fingal and his friends often hung out at Dunadd, you see. The pulpit is 8ft by 2 and a half, covered overhead, and containing "two low but comfortable seats formed of the solid rock".

Higher up on that hill (Rudale Hill) there's the impression of a foot - well, that's because Fingal's son, Ossian was out hunting when a boy, and was attacked by a huge stag. So he leapt away - once, onto Rudale Hill - twice, to Dunadd, where there's more impressions: one of a foot, and then "he fell upon his knee, forming the circular cavity, and saving himself by grasping with both hands the rock.." (the latter are on an upright rock, if you want to look. Rudale seems to be 'Rudle' today).

Elsewhere, someone is being rational about the Rudall / Rudle marks: With respect to the 'footmarks' about Rudall, I once heard that such a thing or things existed; and on going to examine them found them in abundance; but they were natural marks in the rock. in some of these rocks there are concretions of various sizes, and of a long, oval shape, composed of several layers or coats half worn through, and lying flat in their longest diameter, they have a very close resemblance to a footmark. This may have given rise to the legend of the footmarks on or near Rudall. - Rev. R J Mapleton, Handbook for Ardrishaig p41.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th September 2007ce
Edited 5th April 2015ce

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