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Houstry Broch (South)


Nearest Town:Wick (26km NE)
OS Ref (GB):   ND155346 / Sheets: 11, 17
Latitude:58° 17' 31.29" N
Longitude:   3° 26' 29.47" W

Added by Paulus

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Another story about the Broch.

"In Houstry, Dunbeath, Caithness, about the year 1809 or 1810, David Gunn, a crofter, in the course of making a kail-yaird, interfered with one of those prehistoric ruins known as Brochs which are so numerous in that northern region. Now it was well known that this Broch was a fairy habitation, and, in any case, it was well known that to tamper with a Broch or to carry away any of its materials was extremely uncanny."

But Mr Gunn didn't take any notice, and unfortunately a plague broke out that decimated the cattle of the whole district. Thanks a lot.

The was a meeting of local important types, and they decided on a Teine-Eigin as the best step forward. So they got a branch and stripped off its bark, and purified it by popping it on a little island in the Houstry Burn, so it was separated from everydayness by the flowing water. Everyone put out any fires that were burning. Then someone made a fire with the purified wood, and all the other fires were kindled from it anew.

The contributor of this story actually sent in a photo of one of these special bits of wood. It's got round dips in it as though it's been used (maybe) for making fire by a bow/drill method. But it hasn't got little v-shaped notches like wot Ray Mears would recommend.

Sacred Fire
R. C. Maclagan
Folklore, Vol. 9, No. 3. (Sep., 1898), pp. 280-281.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th April 2007ce