Sacred Nature: Rocks, Hills, Lakes

Students of anthropology, comparative religion, folklore and other academic arenas, have long been aware that many mountains, hills, rock outcrops, rivers and other features on the Earth have been imbued with particular sanctity – i.e., are sacred. Some are deemed as the abodes of spirits (good and bad), gods & other transpersonal qualities. Most mountaineers and travellers will talk of similar living qualities in Nature’s various forms. So it is that we also find sites across the British Isles with great myths underscoring them. Examples that immediately spring to mind are Pendle Hill (Lancs), Schiehallion (Perthshire), Beinn na Cailleach (Perthshire), Simon’s Seat (N.Yorks), and many rock outcrops which we see on modern OS-maps dedicated to such mythical characters as the Devil, Robin Hood, fairies, Thor, Grim and other deities. The myths, histories & other folklore of these sites is here included.  Although these places aren’t generally thought of as important in the lives of our pre-christian ancestors, such places were primal: imbued with similar animistic qualities found at standing stones, megalithic rings and other human constructions; although we can be damn sure that the spirit-qualities (the genius loci) of Nature’s creations possessed much greater power than anything created by humans. Whilst people may try emulating the feats of the gods around them, Nature is always the governor when it comes to such things!

SACRED ROCKS & HILLS: Bibliography & References

  1. A’ Chailleach, Braemore, Ross & Cromarty
  2. Alcomden Stones, Stanbury Moor, West Yorkshire
  3. Almscliffe Crags, North Rigton, North Yorkshire
  4. Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, Midlothian
  5. Ashlar Chair, Burley Moor, West Yorkshire
  6. Basin Stone, Todmorden, West Yorkshire
  7. Beinn Dearg bad Chailleach, Drumchork, Ross & Cromarty
  8. Beinn na Cailleach, Ardtalla, Islay, Argyll
  9. Beinn na Cailleach, Broadford, Skye, Inverness-shire
  10. Beinn na Cailleach, Kinlochmore, Inverness-shire
  11. Beinn na Cailleach, Knoydart, Inverness-shire
  12. Beinn na Cailleach, Kylerhea, Skye, Inverness-shire
  13. Bell Stane, Queensferry, Midlothian
  14. Ben Ledi, Callander, Stirlingshire
  15. Blue Stane, St. Andrews, Fife
  16. The Bodach and Cailleach, Ardminish, Gigha, Argyll
  17. Boggart’s Chair, Elland, West Yorkshire
  18. Boggart Stone, Midgley, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire
  19. Boggart Stones, Heptonstall Moor, West Yorkshire
  20. Boggart Stones, Saddleworth Moor, Lancashire
  21. Boggart Stones, Widdop Moor, West Yorkshire
  22. Bogle Bush, Collace, Perthshire
  23. Bride Stones, Todmorden – see Great Bride Stones
  24. Brimham Rocks, Hartwith, North Yorkshire
  25. Brow Grains Rocking Stone, Meltham Moor, West Yorkshire
  26. Bull Stone, Crook of Devon, Kinross-shire
  27. Busky Dike Druidical Altar, Fewston, North Yorkshire
  28. Carlie Craig, Blairlogie, Stirlingshire
  29. Carlinghow Hill, Batley, West Yorkshire
  30. Carlin Stone, Balfron, Stirlingshire
  31. Clach mo-Luchaig, Fortingall, Perthshire
  32. Clach na Ba, St Fillans, Comrie, Perthshire
  33. Clach na Glaistig, Iona, Argyll
  34. Clach na Gruagach, Balnahard, Colonsay
  35. Clach na Gruagach, Barra, Outer Hebrides
  36. Clach na Gruagach, Bennan, Mull
  37. Clach na Gruagach, St. Kilda, Outer Hebrides
  38. Clach na Gruagach, Tiree, Argyll
  39. Clach na Gruagach, Trodda, Skye
  40. Clach na h-ealea, Clachan, Lismore, Argyll
  41. Cnoc a’ Chiuil, Weem, Aberfeldy, Perthshire
  42. Cock Crowing Stone, Hollow Meadows, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
  43. Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley, West Yorkshire
  44. Creag an t-Sithean, St. Fillans, Comrie, Perthshire
  45. Creag na Cailleach, Killin, Perthshire
  46. Deil’s Cradle, Dollar, Clackmannanshire
  47. Devil’s Blue Stane, Crail, Fife
  48. Devil’s Stone, Addlebrough, Bainbridge, North Yorkshire
  49. Dove Law Stones, Cragg Vale, West Yorkshire
  50. Dove Stones, Widdop Moor, West Yorkshire
  51. Dragon’s Wood, Alderbury, Shropshire
  52. Druid’s Altar, Bingley, West Yorkshire
  53. Druid’s Stone, Bungay, Suffolk
  54. Eagle Stone, Todmorden, West Yorkshire
  55. Echo Stone, Mugdock, Stirlingshire
  56. Elbolton Hill, Thorpe, Burnsall, North Yorkshire
  57. Fairy Dell, Denton, North Yorkshire
  58. Fairy Crags, Shap, Westmorland
  59. Fairy Holes, Whitewell, Lancashire
  60. Fairy Loch, Arrochar, Argyll
  61. Fairy Stone, Clunbury, Shropshire
  62. Fairy Stone, Fourstones, Northumberland
  63. Fairy Stones, Wharram Percy, East Yorkshire
  64. Fairy’s Chest, Embsay Moor, North Yorkshire
  65. Glen Cailleach, Fortingall, Perthshire
  66. Goose Oaks, St. Fillans, Comrie, Perthshire
  67. Great Bride Stones, Todmorden, West Yorkshire
  68. Great Dove Stones, Saddleworth Moor, Lancashire
  69. The Great Stone, Downham, Lancashire
  70. Great Stone of Fourstones, Lowgill, North Yorkshire
  71. Gray Stone, Burley, Leeds, West Yorkshire
  72. Hitching Stone, Keighley Moor, West Yorkshire
  73. Hood Hill Stone, Kilburn, North Yorkshire
  74. Jenny Twigg and her Daughter Dibb, Lofthouse, North Yorkshire
  75. Kelpie’s Stane, Corgarff, Aberdeenshire
  76. The Kirk, Steeton, West Yorkshire
  77. Kirk Stones, Morton Moor, West Yorkshire
  78. Leac na Gruagaich, Kinlochleven, Inverness-shire
  79. Loch Carlin, Gruinard, Ross & Cromarty
  80. Loch Derculich, Dull, Perthshire
  81. Loch Glassy, Weem, Aberfeldy, Perthshire
  82. Loch Nell, Argyll
  83. Lochan Uaine, Arrochar, Argyll – see Fairy Loch, Arrochar
  84. Lon na Cailleach, Fortingall, Perthshire
  85. Maiden Castle, Glendevon, Perthshire
  86. Maiden’s Oak, Abernethy, Perthshire
  87. Man Stone, Whitworth, Lancashire
  88. Meall an t-Sithe, Loch a’ Bhroain, Braemore, Ross & Cromarty
  89. Nursery Knot, Appletreewick Moor, North Yorkshire
  90. Old Man at Mow, Mow Cop, Cheshire
  91. The Old Man of Storr, Skye, Inverness-shire
  92. The Old Woman, Cornholme, West Yorkshire
  93. Old Wife Ridge, Heyshaw Moor, Dacre, North Yorkshire
  94. Ossian’s Stone, Sma’ Glen, Fowlis Wester, Perthshire
  95. Pendle Hill, Lancashire
  96. Ponden Kirk, Stanbury Moor, West Yorkshire
  97. Pots and Pans Stone, Greenfield, Oldham, Lancashire
  98. Queen of the Fairies Chair, Lowgill, Lancashire
  99. Ringstone, Torrisdale Bay, Farr, Sutherland
  100. Robin Hood’s Bed, Blackstone Edge, Littleborough, Lancashire
  101. Robin Hood’s House, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire
  102. Robin Hood’s House, Berry Brow, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
  103. Robin Hood’s Pennystone, Midgley Moor, West Yorkshire
  104. Robin Hood’s Seat, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire
  105. Robin Hood’s Stone, Riddlesden, Keighley, West Yorkshire
  106. Rocking Stone, Bordley, North Yorkshire
  107. Rocking Stone, Golcar, West Yorkshire
  108. Rocking Stones, Kirriemuir, Angus
  109. Rocking Stone, Meltham Moor, West Yorkshire
  110. Rocking Stone, Rishworth Moor, West Yorkshire
  111. Rocking Stone, Warley Moor, Halifax, West Yorkshire
  112. St. Austin’s Stone, High Hunsley, East Yorkshire
  113. St. Canna’s Stone, Llangan, Carmarthenshire
  114. St. Fillan’s Chair, Dundurn, Comrie, Perthshire
  115. St. Palladius’ Footprint, Camusvrachan, Glen Lyon, Perthshire
  116. Samson Stone, Kilmahog, Callander, Stirlingshire
  117. Samson’s Stone, Crieff, Perthshire
  118. Serpent Wood, Clackmannan, Clackmannanshire
  119. Sharp Haw, Flasby, North Yorkshire
  120. Simon’s Seat, Skyreholme, North Yorkshire
  121. Sith Tromaidh, Fortingall, Perthshire
  122. Sleepy Lowe Rocking Stone, Warley Moor, West Yorkshire
  123. Smoo Cave, Durness, Sutherland
  124. Staing Calliche, Fortingall, Perthshire
  125. Stone of Mannan, Clackmannan, Clackmannanshire
  126. Thor’s Stone, Thurstaston, Cheshire
  127. Tom na Gruagach, Torridon, Ross & Cromarty
  128. Two Lads, Withens Moor, Cragg Vale, West Yorkshire
  129. Uaimh Shianta, Fearnmore, Applecross, Ross & Cromarty
  130. Wart Stone, Eccleshill, Bradford, West Yorkshire
  131. Well of the Whooping Cough, Killin, Perthshire
  132. Weeping Stone, Fladaigh Chuain, Skye, Inverness-shire
  133. West Nab Rocking Stone, Meltham Moor, West Yorkshire
  134. Whetstone, Hergest Ridge, Herefordshire
  135. White Rocks, Luddenden Dean, West Yorkshire
  136. White Stane of Tam Baird, Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire
  137. Whole Stone, Golcar, West Yorkshire
  138. Whooping Cough Stone, Kenmore, Perthshire
  139. Whooping Cough Stone, Rannoch, Perthshire
  140. Whooping Cough Stone, Struan, Perthshire
  141. Whooping Cough Well, Killin – see Well of the Whooping Cough
  142. Witch’s Knowe, Craigie – Legendary Hill
  143. Witch’s Stane, Craigie – Legendary Rock
  144. Witch’s Stone, Craigs of Kyle, Coylton – Rocking Stone
  145. Witch’s Stone, Crossford, Dunfermline, Fife
  146. Wizard’s Stone, Dollar, Clackmannanshire
  147. Wolf Stones, Oakworth Moor, West Yorkshire
  148. Worm Rock, Fatfield, Durham

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian