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

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian