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

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian