Completely forgot about #FolkloreThursday last week, so here's a special snippet!
Cú Chulainn was a mighty warrior with seven toes on each foot, seven fingers on each hand, and seven pupils in each eye. He lived in northeast Ireland around the 1st century AD and travelled to Scotland to learn the art of war under the famous warrior woman Sgàthach (linked to the Isle of Skye). He was known for his superhuman strength and exploits, as well as wielding a terrible barbed spear during frenzied rages where he would become terribly deformed and disfigured.
The only thing that would return him to his usual form (and calm him down!) was bathing in meadowsweet, and because of this the plant is know in Scottish (and Irish) Gaelic as Crios Chú Chulainn - Cú Culainn's Belt - 2,000 years after he's said to have lived. Pretty impressive!
(It's also worth mentioning that Áine, a goddess of Munster and protector of the earth, is said to have given meadowsweet its perfume. She was pretty amazing too.)
There's plenty of meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) out just now so go hunting for it and give it a sniff! You're likely to find it in verges and damp places; it has quite distinctive red-ish stems and the cream flowers look quite fluffy from a distance.
If you'd like to hear more stories and folktales of Aviemore and the Cairngorms, join an upcoming wee guided walk!
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Sarah Hobbs - read more on the About page.