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 Foinne, Glen Lochay, Perthshire
  41. Clach na h-ealea, Clachan, Lismore, Argyll
  42. Cnoc a’ Chiuil, Weem, Aberfeldy, Perthshire
  43. Cock Crowing Stone, Hollow Meadows, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
  44. Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley, West Yorkshire
  45. Creag an t-Sithean, St. Fillans, Comrie, Perthshire
  46. Creag na Cailleach, Killin, Perthshire
  47. Deil’s Cradle, Dollar, Clackmannanshire
  48. Devil’s Blue Stane, Crail, Fife
  49. Devil’s Stone, Addlebrough, Bainbridge, North Yorkshire
  50. Dove Law Stones, Cragg Vale, West Yorkshire
  51. Dove Stones, Widdop Moor, West Yorkshire
  52. Dragon’s Wood, Alderbury, Shropshire
  53. Druid’s Altar, Bingley, West Yorkshire
  54. Druid’s Stone, Bungay, Suffolk
  55. Eagle Stone, Todmorden, West Yorkshire
  56. Echo Stone, Mugdock, Stirlingshire
  57. Elbolton Hill, Thorpe, Burnsall, North Yorkshire
  58. Fairy Dell, Denton, North Yorkshire
  59. Fairy Crags, Shap, Westmorland
  60. Fairy Holes, Whitewell, Lancashire
  61. Fairy Loch, Arrochar, Argyll
  62. Fairy Stone, Clunbury, Shropshire
  63. Fairy Stone, Fourstones, Northumberland
  64. Fairy Stones, Wharram Percy, East Yorkshire
  65. Fairy’s Chest, Embsay Moor, North Yorkshire
  66. Glen Cailleach, Fortingall, Perthshire
  67. Goose Oaks, St. Fillans, Comrie, Perthshire
  68. Great Bride Stones, Todmorden, West Yorkshire
  69. Great Dove Stones, Saddleworth Moor, Lancashire
  70. The Great Stone, Downham, Lancashire
  71. Great Stone of Fourstones, Lowgill, North Yorkshire
  72. Gray Stone, Burley, Leeds, West Yorkshire
  73. Hitching Stone, Keighley Moor, West Yorkshire
  74. Hood Hill Stone, Kilburn, North Yorkshire
  75. Jenny Twigg and her Daughter Dibb, Lofthouse, North Yorkshire
  76. Kelpie’s Stane, Corgarff, Aberdeenshire
  77. The Kirk, Steeton, West Yorkshire
  78. Kirk Stones, Morton Moor, West Yorkshire
  79. Leac na Gruagaich, Kinlochleven, Inverness-shire
  80. Loch Carlin, Gruinard, Ross & Cromarty
  81. Loch Derculich, Dull, Perthshire
  82. Loch Glassy, Weem, Aberfeldy, Perthshire
  83. Loch Nell, Argyll
  84. Lochan Uaine, Arrochar, Argyll – see Fairy Loch, Arrochar
  85. Lon na Cailleach, Fortingall, Perthshire
  86. Maiden Castle, Glendevon, Perthshire
  87. Maiden’s Oak, Abernethy, Perthshire
  88. Man Stone, Whitworth, Lancashire
  89. Meall an t-Sithe, Loch a’ Bhroain, Braemore, Ross & Cromarty
  90. Nursery Knot, Appletreewick Moor, North Yorkshire
  91. Old Man at Mow, Mow Cop, Cheshire
  92. The Old Man of Storr, Skye, Inverness-shire
  93. The Old Woman, Cornholme, West Yorkshire
  94. Old Wife Ridge, Heyshaw Moor, Dacre, North Yorkshire
  95. Ossian’s Stone, Sma’ Glen, Fowlis Wester, Perthshire
  96. Pendle Hill, Lancashire
  97. Ponden Kirk, Stanbury Moor, West Yorkshire
  98. Pots and Pans Stone, Greenfield, Oldham, Lancashire
  99. Queen of the Fairies Chair, Lowgill, Lancashire
  100. Ringstone, Torrisdale Bay, Farr, Sutherland
  101. Robin Hood’s Bed, Blackstone Edge, Littleborough, Lancashire
  102. Robin Hood’s House, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire
  103. Robin Hood’s House, Berry Brow, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
  104. Robin Hood’s Pennystone, Midgley Moor, West Yorkshire
  105. Robin Hood’s Seat, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire
  106. Robin Hood’s Stone, Riddlesden, Keighley, West Yorkshire
  107. Rocking Stone, Bordley, North Yorkshire
  108. Rocking Stone, Golcar, West Yorkshire
  109. Rocking Stones, Kirriemuir, Angus
  110. Rocking Stone, Meltham Moor, West Yorkshire
  111. Rocking Stone, Rishworth Moor, West Yorkshire
  112. Rocking Stone, Warley Moor, Halifax, West Yorkshire
  113. St. Austin’s Stone, High Hunsley, East Yorkshire
  114. St. Canna’s Stone, Llangan, Carmarthenshire
  115. St. Fillan’s Chair, Dundurn, Comrie, Perthshire
  116. St Giles’ Stone, Mosstowie, Elgin, Moray
  117. St. Palladius’ Footprint, Camusvrachan, Glen Lyon, Perthshire
  118. Samson Stone, Kilmahog, Callander, Stirlingshire
  119. Samson’s Stone, Crieff, Perthshire
  120. Serpent Wood, Clackmannan, Clackmannanshire
  121. Sharp Haw, Flasby, North Yorkshire
  122. Simon’s Seat, Skyreholme, North Yorkshire
  123. Sith Tromaidh, Fortingall, Perthshire
  124. Sleepy Lowe Rocking Stone, Warley Moor, West Yorkshire
  125. Smoo Cave, Durness, Sutherland
  126. Staing Calliche, Fortingall, Perthshire
  127. Stone of Mannan, Clackmannan, Clackmannanshire
  128. Thor’s Stone, Thurstaston, Cheshire
  129. Tom na Gruagach, Torridon, Ross & Cromarty
  130. Two Lads, Withens Moor, Cragg Vale, West Yorkshire
  131. Uaimh Shianta, Fearnmore, Applecross, Ross & Cromarty
  132. Wart Stone, Eccleshill, Bradford, West Yorkshire
  133. Well of the Whooping Cough, Killin, Perthshire
  134. Weeping Stone, Fladaigh Chuain, Skye, Inverness-shire
  135. West Nab Rocking Stone, Meltham Moor, West Yorkshire
  136. Whetstone, Hergest Ridge, Herefordshire
  137. White Rocks, Luddenden Dean, West Yorkshire
  138. White Stane of Tam Baird, Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire
  139. Whole Stone, Golcar, West Yorkshire
  140. Whooping Cough Stone, Kenmore, Perthshire
  141. Whooping Cough Stone, Rannoch, Perthshire
  142. Whooping Cough Stone, Struan, Perthshire
  143. Whooping Cough Well, Killin – see Well of the Whooping Cough
  144. Witch’s Knowe, Craigie – Legendary Hill
  145. Witch’s Stane, Craigie – Legendary Rock
  146. Witch’s Stone, Craigs of Kyle, Coylton – Rocking Stone
  147. Witch’s Stone, Crossford, Dunfermline, Fife
  148. Wizard’s Stone, Dollar, Clackmannanshire
  149. Wolf Stones, Oakworth Moor, West Yorkshire
  150. Worm Rock, Fatfield, Durham

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian