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

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian