Scotland's Witch Trail
I am delighted that Strathspey Storywalks is included in Visit Scotland's brand new Witch Trail Map, for Scotland's Year of Stories.
The map is a good mix of people and places, celebrating a love of nature as an invite for a more thoughtful perspective on what and who a 'witch' is, witchcraft in general, and historical as well as present injustice.
My approach on Storywalks is very much to honour the memory of so-called witches by tuning in to the quiet voices within the landscape - we have many stories of 'witches' here in the Cairngorms, and places where they lived, worked and died.
Looking at Scotland, there are important things being driven forward at the moment: Witches of Scotland is pushing for a legal pardon for all those accused and killed of witchcraft - follow them to stay up-to-date with the campaign. Due to their work, Nicola Sturgeon gave a formal apology this year on International Women's Day, noting the "egregious historic injustice" to all those accused of witchcraft.
Also follow Remembering the Accused Witches of Scotland, who secured an apology from the Church of Scotland for its central role in the persecution in June this year.
There remains lots of work to do! In the meantime, download the map of trail locations:
The Birth of the Highland Midge
Here's June's story Scotland's Year of Stories. Another favourite and a must-watch for all who live, visit and love the Highlands! Where do midges come from? What ARE midges?!
This is my version of folklorist, musician and storyteller Bob Pegg's brilliant story in his book, Highland Folk Tales. Buy it (or borrow it from the library)!
#strathspeystorywalks #yearofstories2022 #applecross #norway
The Makers of Dreams
Here's a short story for May, for Scotland's Year of Stories. It's one of my favourites from the Isle of Skye, somewhere in the Cuillin mountains...
First heard from storyteller Beverley Bryant at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival a few years ago.
#strathspeystorywalks #yearofstories2022 #isleofskye #skye
The Giant of Kinveachy Woods
Here's a short story for March, for Scotland's Year of Stories... be careful where you lay your hat if you're in Kinveachy Woods near Boat of Garten!
Adapted from Otta Swire's version in her excellent book 'The Highlands and Their Legends,' published in 1963.
#strathspeystorywalks #yearofstories2022 #cairngorms
The Cats' Den
Outlaws, thieves and a president - here's my February story for Scotland's Year of Stories, up Òrd Bàn today in glorious weather!
Featuring Kennapole Hill, the Cats' Den, the Thieves' Road, and Loch Gamhna - all at Rothiemurchus, just south of Aviemore.
The main story is from 'Guide to Aviemore & Vicinity,' a treasure trove from 1907 by A McConnachie.
This story has unpleasantly familiar 'she asked for it' vibes, symptomatic of the patriarchal society we live in: women must amend their behaviour, dress, etc - or be amended - rather than men amending their behaviour.
(Sorry for the wind noise, and suspect Gaelic. It was all unplanned and off the top of my head! Kennapole actually means head of the pool or pit, whoops.)
The Green Fairy Dogs of Kingussie
It's Scotland's Year of Stories! Every month I’m going to share one of my favourite stories from the Cairngorms and Badenoch & Strathspey.
Here's a wintry story for January from Kingussie. It's my version of the story told by Otta Swire in her excellent book, ‘The Highlands and Their Legends’, published in 1963.
The wonderful image of Loch Gynack and Creag Dhu is by Kingussie-based photographer and writer David Lintern. He is fond of slow adventure and human powered travel - and he runs workshops and trips on low-impact photography. Have a browse!
Sarah Hobbs - read more on the About page.