Was out in Colonsay last week, in stunning September weather, so wanted to share something from there! What could possibly link Rothiemurchus with a farmhouse on Colonsay? Why, brownies of course!
The Highlands is full of fairy and spirit creatures of many kinds, including the helpful but mischievous sprites, brownies. They're also known as broonies in Scots and brùnaidh in Gaelic. Brownies live in large estate and farmhouses all over the Highlands and, while everyone sleeps, they help out with chores and general fixing jobs, including at Baile na h-Àirde farmhouse, above (now home to Colonsay Wool Growers, have a look! They dye yarn with plants picked from the island, including the by-products of the Colonsay Gin's distilling process). There's a stone nearby with a cavity where milk, or sometimes cream, is poured to feed and keep the brownie happy - though I didn't find it!
Once you've poured in the cream for the brownie, you must not look back... This brownie was fed regularly right up until the early 1900s.
Closer to home in Strathspey, the old Doune of Rothiemurchus also had a resident brownie, who made such a racket through the night, clattering pots and pans, that the laird became angry and shouted at the brownie, who took a huff and was never seen to help out again. Some years later the new Doune was built, a short distance from the old house. But, if you put your ear to the mound where the old Doune was, you may still hear the faint sound of clattering pots and pans.
If you'd like to hear more stories and folktales of Aviemore and the Cairngorms, join an upcoming short guided walk!