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

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian