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Odin's Hall (Broch)

'According to one local legend, it was said that the area was inhabited by a giant called Etin or Edin. He had three heads and was blamed for the loss of cattle, sheep and people. Many tried to kill him, only to fail miserably. Eventually three brothers attempted to try to kill the giant, but they each decided to try separately. As the first brother left, he gave the others a knife which he said would shine if all was well but would rust if he was in danger. The lad set off and came to the giant's broch. The giant decided to ask the boy questions about Scottish history- none of which he could answer. The giant then turned the boy to stone. The second brother noticed the knife had rusted and set off to find him. The outcome was the same for him, and he was turned to stone. Then the third brother decided he had to find the other two. On the road, the third lad met a poor old woman, with whom he shared his food. She told him many stories about Scottish history, and from a bag she took out a large bundle which she told the boy to use if he was in danger. When the lad arrived at the broch, the giant pulled him in and before eating him asked him questions about Scottish history. This time the brother was able to answer the questions. The giant, somewhat surprised, was going to kill the boy anyway. But the lad pulled out a double-headed axe from the old woman's bundle. Bringing it down on the giant, he severed all three heads at once. The two brothers were then restored, as were all the other missing people.'
From 'Myth and Magic: Scotland's Ancient Beliefs and Sacred Places' by Joyce Miller 2000.

Cairnpapple (Henge)

The country around Cairnpapple isn't only a UFO hot-spot, there has also been sightings of a strange being called 'The Silver Runner'. Here's the story taken from 'Haunted Scotland' by Norman Adams (1998, 5);

'Cairnpapple is steeped in ancient mystery and magic. Its bleak, rounded summit, three miles north of the Lothian town of Bathgate, was sacred to early man, and on clear day you can see why. The view from the hilltop is spectacular, extending from Goatfell on Arran in the west to the Firth of Forth in the east. On the summit Stone Age people erected a ring of upright stones, later used by Bronze and Iron Age man to construct tombs for the cremated bodies and funeral pottery. No wonder it has been described as one of Scotlands most important prehistoric sites. But the Bathgate Hills conceal a baffling modern mystery- 'The Strange Case of the Silver Man'. This being, entity or elemental, call it what you will, was encountered in the summer of 1988 on a forest road to the south-east of Cairnpapple by a family out for a let-night drive. At the wheel of the Fiesta was David Colman, father of three, and at the time a 33 year-old mature student. His front seat passenger was his wife Kathleen, while their two sons and a daughter, aged between six and 14, were in the back. The strange encounter took place on a starry night on a road running parallel to Ravencraig Wood, popularly known as the Knock Forest, less than a mile from their home in Bathgate. The jaunt was unplanned, the youngsters having persuaded their father to take them for a ride in the new car. As he headed for a small but steep incline topped with a dangerous right-hand bend, Davids attention was instantly drawn to his right side. In a split second he saw a glowing figure, in classical running posture, moving extremely fast, possibly between 50 and 70 miles an hour! The figure was bulky and well over six feet tall. 'As it ran in the opposite direction from the car it had its head turned back towards us and appeared to be scowling' David told me. Silence gripped the occupants of the car. Then Kathleen asked her husband: 'You did see that, didn't you?' David replied: 'See what?' The children shouted in unison: 'You saw the silver man, daddy!' Although the youngsters had unwittingly christened the bizarre creature, David said: 'The figure was white, not silver, but I suppose it appeared that way to the children. When I questioned them more closely they said the figure was crouched at the side of the road. As we approached, it took off through the forest.' Kathleen supported Davids account. 'There was complete silence until I asked David if he had seen the figure,' she said. 'The expression on his face told it all.' Kathleen, who saw the figure disappear into the forest, went on: 'It was a human shape, and I thought it was a male. I had a feeling it was not happy. It was not silver, more like a negative image. I remember the children were very excited.'

So- when visiting Cairnpapple in the evening, be sure not only to keep an eye on the skies above, but also watch out for beings on the roads.

Loths Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

This is the supposed burial site of the legendary King Loth who gave his name to the Lothians. A shepherd had previously fallen in love with Loths Daughter and Loth was so enraged by this that he ordered his daughter killed by being thrown from the top of Traprain Law. The shepherd took revenge by killing him with a single arrow through his heart. In 1861 Professor Sir James Young Simpson (he of Simpsons Memorial hospital and anaesthetic fame) made a discovery of a stone cist 40 foot east of the original site of this stone (was moved last century 160 foot north to the edge of the field).

Traprain Law (Hillfort)

Somewhere in the vicinity lived the Pictish king called Loth (around 518). He had a daughter called Thenew who fell in love with a local shepherd. This didn't please Loth and he condemned his daughter to death by having her thrown form the top of Traprain Law. She survived though and still unconscious was carried to a coracle and set afloat on the Firth of Forth. The tide carried her to Culross, where the still unconscious princess was taken ashore by shepherds. Sometime after, she bore a son called Kentigern, who trained as a holy man and was later called Mungo. When he grew up he travelled west and set up a monastery in a small village called Cathures- this grew into the great city of Glasgow- of which Mungo is the patron saint.
The shepherd who fell in love with Thenew took revenge on Loth and killed him with an arrow through his heart and legend has it he was buried at the foot of Traprain Law.
In 1861 Professor James Young Simpson (he of anaesthetic fame) examined the stones around the Law in the hope of discovering Loths grave. Forty foot east of the original site of Loths Stone a stone cist was discovered.

The Great Sacred Monuments of Stenness

"The Stones of Stennis have a perfect setting of wild moorland and loch. There are two main groups- the Ring of Brogar, or Temple of the Sun, and the smaller Ring of Stennis (which is strictly a semi-circle or crescent), or Temple of the Moon."
From "The Silver Bough Volume 1: Scottish Folklore and Folk-Belief" by F.Marian McNeill, 1957 page86.

The Standing Stones of Stenness (Circle henge)

"The belief is found throughout the Celtic territories that certain Standing Stones, set in motion by the spirits which animate them, sometimes go to drink in river or lake. In Orkney, one such Stone was said to walk from the Circle to the Loch of Stennis regularly on Hogmanay, dip it's head into the Loch, and return to its old position. The story goes that a sailor once seated himself on the Stone some time before midnight in order to test the truth of the legend, and the next morning his dead body was found half-way between the Circle and the Loch"
From "The Silver Bough Volume 1: Scottish Folklore and Folk-Belief" by F.Marian McNeill, 1957 page 87.

"The stone circles of the Orkneys had similar traditions:in 1703, Martin Martin wrote that the stone circles at Stenness and Brodgar were 'believed to have been Places design'd to offer Sacrifice in time of Pagan Idolatry; and for this reason the People called them the Ancient temples of the Gods.' An engraving made in 1823 of the Ring of Stenness, known then as the Temple of the Moon, shows a woman hallowing her promise of betrothal at the stones."
From "Celtic Sacred Landscapes" by Nigel Pennick 1996, page 53.

Stone of Odin (Holed Stone)

"One of the Stenness stones was particularly noteworthy. This was the Stone of Odin, a six-metre high, one-metre wide and forty centimetre thick monolith destroyed in 1814, through which there was a hole. Through this hole, lovers would clasp their hands and enter into marriage. (This is a variant on the time-honoured custom of handfasting, a form of marriage by public declaration. Couples who wished to divorce could do so by leaving through seperate doors of a church after the service.)"
From "Scotland:Myth, Legend and Folklore" by Stuart McHardy 1999, pages 107-108.

"Before 1814, when it was destroyed by a farmer, the Odin Stone, a holed stone at Croft Odin, Orkney, was used for oath-taking. In 1791, a young man was arraigned by the Elders of Orkney for 'breaking the promise of Odin', that is, breaking an oath sworn on the stone. When visiting the stone ceremonially, it was customary to leave an offering of a stone or a piece of bread, cheese or cloth."
From "Celtic Sacred Landscapes" by Nigel Pennick 1996, page 53.

The Caiy Stane (Standing Stone / Menhir)

"There are many evidences of Roman occupation round the Pentland Hills, and the Caiy Stone of Kelstane or Battle stone near Fairmilehead marks the place of a traditionary battle between the Romans and the PictsÉ..Evidence of the Danish occupation was seen in the Camus Stone, from which Comiston gets its name. This stone has disappearedÉ(?). The Camus Stone was probably erected by or for a Danish commander named Camus"
From "The Call of the Pentlands" by Will Grant, 1927 pages 207-208.
I think the 'Caiy Stone of Kelstane' is maybe a mis-print and should read 'or'. I was also interested in the part re the disappearance of the Camus Stone as I was sure this was just another name for the Caiy Stane. I had another look at my Edinburgh map and there are five streets round about the Caiy Stane named after Camus, some of which join Comiston Road. Was there another stone nearby that has been confused with the Caiy Stane over the years???

"In an adjacent field, close to the quadrilateral of trees that are supposed to mark the line of a Roman camp, is the Kel or Kat Stone- translated 'Battle Stone'- a cup-marked monolith seven feet in height, which, if legend speaks true, marks the grave of a chieftain who fell in fight. It certainly was raised for a purpose; and the gray and lichened landmark, standing where it does on a ridge and near a cross-road, looking across to the Pentlands and down upon Swanston catches the eye and challenges the fancy"
From "The Fringes of Edinburgh" by John Geddie (date unknown) pages 102-105.

Clachan An Diridh (Stone Circle)

"On Fonab moor rather more than half way between Pitlochry and Strathtay and sixty yards to the north of the path connecting those places there are two fine standing stones and the remains of two others called "Clacnah an Diridh" or "Stones of the ascent (or brae)". Some people call it the remains of a circle, but there is no appearance whatever of there having been any other stones or of the remaining stones ever having been in a circle. On the contrary, they more resemble a large oblong dolmen such as we have described and the appearance of their site is quite consistent with there having originally been a mound of earth over them which was afterwards scattered around. But they are not near enough to each other to be a dolmen. Another theory about the "Clacnah an Diridh" is that the stones marked the scene of some periodical religious meeting or ceremonial of which nothing is now known."
From "Pitlochry Past and Present" by John Dixon 1925 pages 56-57.

Na Carraigean (Stone Circle)

"Mention must also be made of a Stone Circle by the old path to Loch Tummel. There are four stones, on a magnificent site, and they are named na Clachan Aoraidh, the Stones of Worship. That fairies had their home here is shown by the place-name given to the wooded knoll south-west of the Mains of Fincastle. This is still named an Sithean, the Fairy Hill, and west of it is Edintian, which in reality is Aodann an t-Sithean, Face of the Fairy Hill."
From "Highways and Byways in the Central Highlands" by Seton Gordon 1947, page 152.

"At the head of Glenfincastle is the famous stone circle known as "An Carrigean" which was visited on the first of May, and supposed to bring good fortune to those who walked round it. It consists of four stones of no great size, set on a raised earthen platform, which seems at one time to have been causewayed. The circle is probably of Neolithic origin, from the small size of the stones and the veneration in which it was held. An avenue lined with small stones leads to it, through which cattle were probably driven when they underwent the baptism of fire, and there is a large hut circle on one side. An extensive view is got from the platform, and at no great distance on the same moorland plateau is Grenich, with its burial mounds and evidences of Sun worship."
From "Pitlochry District" by Hugh Mitchell 1923, pages 60-61.

Clachan An Diridh (Stone Circle)

"The once celebrated Clachan an Diridh ('stones of the ascent') lie, now almost forgotten, to the south of Pitlochry near the ridge of Carra Beag ('little rock') and An Suidhe ('the seat'), which together are popularly known as Fonab Hill. At the begining of the twentieth century, the Clachan an Diridh stones would have stood majestically on bare hill and are now half hidden in a clearing, within forestry, but there are signs that after the Second World War trees were planted as close as a metre to each stone. Originally a four poster, although only three stones now remain, this site was visited on the first day of May each year, the religious rite being to go round the stones deiseil ('sunwise'-that is, clockwise)."
From "Pitlochry-Heritage of a Highland District" Colin Liddell 1993.

In an old guide book of the area I found the following in reference to the standing stones of the district;
"Now there won't be heard the song of my fame,
The stranger will not know of my grave,
He will see a grey stone with ragweed o'ergrown,
And he will ask 'whose grave is this',
'We know not', the children of the glen will say,
'The song of his fame has not lived to our day'"
From "Pitlochry District" by Hugh Mitchell 1923.
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