Dreaming Stones: Myth and Magic on the Minch…

We were finally leaving Skye. Not, as we had feared, attached to a tow truck or in the wrong direction. We were en route for the Isle of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides…and that really was a dream come true! Okay, we would have just a single day there, nowhere near enough time to see all that we might have wanted to see… but all being well, we would finally get to Callanish and that, after all, was the main reason for this adventure. We didn’t know it at the time, but as it turned out, we were going to see more than we could have imagined of the islands…

lewis and harris

As the ferry pulled away from the jetty, I felt the all-too familiar queasiness… I had always been horribly sea-sick in the past and was expecting the worst, but I was hoping that time would have worked its magic. And, apparently, it had. It helped that the Minch was as calm as the proverbial mill-pond… and that, in spite of lashing rain for most of the journey, we could spend much of the crossing on deck once we had found a sheltered spot. It helped too that I was so excited at the prospect of finally getting to the Outer Hebrides… and that I love the salt spray and the wind in my face. After that first lurch, I was fine all the way. Mind you, I still won’t be booking a cruise if I ever win that lottery I don’t do…

We watched Skye disappear into the mists, remaining as just a hint of blue on the horizon. We glimpsed some of the islands of the Inner Hebrides peeping through the mist. One of them in particular caught our attention. It has long been uninhabited except by the seals and puffins, and later research revealed that it was called Fladaigh Chùain. Legend has it that the isle was once a sacred place, thought by many to be Tír na nÓg, the land of youth, where death may not enter. It is the Otherworld, inhabited by the Tuatha Dé Danann and ruled by Manannán mac Lir, the deity whose name means ‘son of the sea’. The stories say that people would visit the island after meeting Manannán in his guise as Trickster. Thinking about the antics of the Old Man of Storr, the amount of rain we had been hit with and all the other tiricksterish events, I have to wonder if we had been invited…

Perhaps its reputation as an Otherworldly place was why a chapel was built here in St Columba’s day, the ruins of which still remain, along with the grave of its founder. On its altar, a black stone was placed, known as the Weeping Stone because it was never dry. It was thought to have once been the altar stone of a very much older worship. Fishermen would visit the isle and pour a triple libation of seawater on it in return for favourable weather. But the stone has long since gone and few now visit the inaccessible isle. For the reasons outlined earlier, a boat has never been on my wish list, but I would love to explore these remote islands… and there are so many of them.

Continue reading at France & Vincent

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
This entry was posted in adventure, albion, Ancient sites, Don and Wen, france and vincent and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.