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. Loch Carlin, Gruinard, Ross & Cromarty
  87. Loch Derculich, Dull, Perthshire
  88. Loch Glassy, Weem, Aberfeldy, Perthshire
  89. Loch Nell, Argyll
  90. Lochan Uaine, Arrochar, Argyll – see Fairy Loch, Arrochar
  91. Lon na Cailleach, Fortingall, Perthshire
  92. Maiden Castle, Glendevon, Perthshire
  93. Maiden’s Oak, Abernethy, Perthshire
  94. Man Stone, Whitworth, Lancashire
  95. Meall an t-Sithe, Loch a’ Bhroain, Braemore, Ross & Cromarty
  96. Nursery Knot, Appletreewick Moor, North Yorkshire
  97. Old Man at Mow, Mow Cop, Cheshire
  98. The Old Man of Storr, Skye, Inverness-shire
  99. The Old Woman, Cornholme, West Yorkshire
  100. Old Wife Ridge, Heyshaw Moor, Dacre, North Yorkshire
  101. Ossian’s Stone, Sma’ Glen, Fowlis Wester, Perthshire
  102. Pendle Hill, Lancashire
  103. Ponden Kirk, Stanbury Moor, West Yorkshire
  104. Pots and Pans Stone, Greenfield, Oldham, Lancashire
  105. Queen of the Fairies Chair, Lowgill, Lancashire
  106. Ringstone, Torrisdale Bay, Farr, Sutherland
  107. Robin Hood’s Bed, Blackstone Edge, Littleborough, Lancashire
  108. Robin Hood’s House, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire
  109. Robin Hood’s House, Berry Brow, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
  110. Robin Hood’s Pennystone, Midgley Moor, West Yorkshire
  111. Robin Hood’s Seat, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire
  112. Robin Hood’s Stone, Riddlesden, Keighley, West Yorkshire
  113. Rocking Stone, Bordley, North Yorkshire
  114. Rocking Stone, Golcar, West Yorkshire
  115. Rocking Stones, Kirriemuir, Angus
  116. Rocking Stone, Meltham Moor, West Yorkshire
  117. Rocking Stone, Rishworth Moor, West Yorkshire
  118. Rocking Stone, Warley Moor, Halifax, West Yorkshire
  119. St. Austin’s Stone, High Hunsley, East Yorkshire
  120. St. Canna’s Stone, Llangan, Carmarthenshire
  121. St. Fillan’s Chair, Dundurn, Comrie, Perthshire
  122. St Giles’ Stone, Mosstowie, Elgin, Moray
  123. St. Palladius’ Footprint, Camusvrachan, Glen Lyon, Perthshire
  124. Samson Stone, Kilmahog, Callander, Stirlingshire
  125. Samson Stone, Waltonhill, Craigrothie, Fife
  126. Samson’s Stone, Crieff, Perthshire
  127. Serpent Wood, Clackmannan, Clackmannanshire
  128. Sharp Haw, Flasby, North Yorkshire
  129. Simon’s Seat, Skyreholme, North Yorkshire
  130. Sith Tromaidh, Fortingall, Perthshire
  131. Sleepy Lowe Rocking Stone, Warley Moor, West Yorkshire
  132. Smoo Cave, Durness, Sutherland
  133. Staing Calliche, Fortingall, Perthshire
  134. Stone of Mannan, Clackmannan, Clackmannanshire
  135. Thor’s Stone, Thurstaston, Cheshire
  136. Tom na Gruagach, Torridon, Ross & Cromarty
  137. Two Lads, Withens Moor, Cragg Vale, West Yorkshire
  138. Uaimh Shianta, Fearnmore, Applecross, Ross & Cromarty
  139. Wart Stone, Eccleshill, Bradford, West Yorkshire
  140. Well of the Whooping Cough, Killin, Perthshire
  141. Weeping Stone, Fladaigh Chuain, Skye, Inverness-shire
  142. West Nab Rocking Stone, Meltham Moor, West Yorkshire
  143. Whetstone, Hergest Ridge, Herefordshire
  144. White Rocks, Luddenden Dean, West Yorkshire
  145. White Stane of Tam Baird, Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire
  146. Whole Stone, Golcar, West Yorkshire
  147. Whooping Cough Stone, Kenmore, Perthshire
  148. Whooping Cough Stone, Rannoch, Perthshire
  149. Whooping Cough Stone, Struan, Perthshire
  150. Whooping Cough Well, Killin – see Well of the Whooping Cough
  151. Witch’s Knowe, Craigie – Legendary Hill
  152. Witch’s Stane, Craigie – Legendary Rock
  153. Witch’s Stone, Craigs of Kyle, Coylton – Rocking Stone
  154. Witch’s Stone, Crossford, Dunfermline, Fife
  155. Wizard’s Stone, Dollar, Clackmannanshire
  156. Wolf Stones, Oakworth Moor, West Yorkshire
  157. Worm Rock, Fatfield, Durham

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian