We were an eclectic bunch. Most, including Druids Jaime and Linda, were some version of pagan. Those who were not, like my husband and Caroline, our single traveler, were open-minded and curious. I mean, if the tour says “Sacred Scotland” and travels with an in-house tarot reader, you kinda have to expect an interest in neo-pagan sites and worship.
I’ve always wanted to spend a night in a castle, and I got my wish! Our group spent the first night in Tulloch Castle in Dingwall.
Day 4 – We all got better acquainted the next morning on the bus ride to the Fairy Glen, in Rosemarkie on the Black Isle We completed the mile and a half hike through this magical woodlands in silence so we could soak in the atmosphere of the glen. Birches and rowan trees, luscious ferns, babbling streams on each side, deep pools and fossilized trees, ending in a series of amazing waterfalls.
The Fairy Glen was once the scene of well-dressing ceremonies, where the children of the village decorated the pool with flowers, to ensure that the fairies kept the water supply clean.
Modern visitors have embedded thousands of coins in the fallen trees around the falls.
I filled a tiny bottle from the waterfall to bring home for my altar.
Each cairn is surrounded by massive standing stones, and the entire complex is circled by the most amazing ancient trees.
The central chamber is large enough for a small group to gather, and works as an echo or resonance chamber for chanting. Yes. Of course we tried it. Gave me shivers.
The Clava Cairns date from the Bronze Age, about 4,000 years old. Cup-marks within the chambers, as well as on the north cairn, look like a stargazer’s map.
This was one of my favorite sites, and the feel of the whole complex was
extraordinarily calm and welcoming.
However, in 1999, a Belgian tourist took a rock from the site. The next year, he mailed it back to the Inverness tourist board (Guardian newspaper, 19 January, 2000, BBC News) after suffering several family misfortunes, so beware….
At this point, I thought we’d seen the best of the tour. But then, we went to Orkney. But that’s a story for next weekend. See you then!