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TITLE
A Speyside Tale
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_SYDATKINSON_05
PLACENAME
Boat of Garten
DISTRICT
Badenoch
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Duthil and Rothiemurchus
DATE OF RECORDING
1991
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Syd Atkinson
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1796
KEYWORDS
folklore
stories
supernatural
hauntings
legends
audio

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In this audio extract, Syd Atkinson tells the story of an inscribed stone in the River Spey, near Boat of Garten. The extract is from Moray Firth Radio's 'Recollections' series.

If you happen to be a little north of the bridge over the River Spey at Boat of Garten, when the river is running rather low, you may see lying on the river bed several pieces of a stone slab, and on them are the remains of an inscription. How that came about is like this. Many years ago, there was a woman from Tulloch who was on her deathbed and she expressed a wish to be buried in Duthil churchyard, which is across the river. Her relatives told her it wouldn't be possible because the river was in flood, but she said, 'God will find a way' and she told them exactly where the crossing should be made. She died soon afterwards and her relatives after some discussion decided that they would carry out her wishes.

Now when the funeral procession reached the spot that she had specified, the river's flood waters parted and the funeral party crossed the riverbed dry shod. Immediately afterwards, the waters closed back together again. The mourners were so impressed they set up a signpost near the farm of Gartenbeg where the miracle had taken place, but it disappeared. So on March 9th, 1865, William Grant, who was the leader of a religious sect called 'The Men', erected a suitably inscribed stone slab. He prophesied that broom would flower to the right and the left of the stone as a sign to unbelievers but he also carefully ensured that the stone was set between two broom plants. Immediately, the Free Church denounced the story of the crossing as an abominable lie and for some time controversy raged. On February 19th, 1867, the slab was found broken and pieces of it flung into the river. For years people took fragments of the slab as souvenirs and part of it was taken as a doorstep for Knock farmhouse nearby. Now when this was done, almost immediately the farmhouse got the reputation of being haunted. Its occupants were plagued in mid-summer by hailstones as big as cricket balls; turnips were thrown down their chimney; and furniture and kitchen utensils would fly about the rooms. The occupants of the farmhouse all died in a short space of time. When the new tenant of the farmhouse took possession, his first action was to return the stone that had been used as a doorstep to its former resting place in the river, and from that moment on, all the curious happenings at the farmhouse ceased.

From time to time stories of the stone's evil power have been revived. Some years ago, five boys uncovered the stone in the river bed and it's reported that within months, all five were dead. In 1940, a bomber returning from a raid, crashed nearby on the riverbank and it was claimed that one of the crew had meddled with the stone when he was a youth. So, if you are near Boat of Garten bridge and you see parts of a stone slab lying on the river bed, leave it alone!

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A Speyside Tale

INVERNESS: Duthil and Rothiemurchus

1990s

folklore; stories; supernatural; hauntings; legends; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: Miscellaneous

In this audio extract, Syd Atkinson tells the story of an inscribed stone in the River Spey, near Boat of Garten. The extract is from Moray Firth Radio's 'Recollections' series.<br /> <br /> If you happen to be a little north of the bridge over the River Spey at Boat of Garten, when the river is running rather low, you may see lying on the river bed several pieces of a stone slab, and on them are the remains of an inscription. How that came about is like this. Many years ago, there was a woman from Tulloch who was on her deathbed and she expressed a wish to be buried in Duthil churchyard, which is across the river. Her relatives told her it wouldn't be possible because the river was in flood, but she said, 'God will find a way' and she told them exactly where the crossing should be made. She died soon afterwards and her relatives after some discussion decided that they would carry out her wishes. <br /> <br /> Now when the funeral procession reached the spot that she had specified, the river's flood waters parted and the funeral party crossed the riverbed dry shod. Immediately afterwards, the waters closed back together again. The mourners were so impressed they set up a signpost near the farm of Gartenbeg where the miracle had taken place, but it disappeared. So on March 9th, 1865, William Grant, who was the leader of a religious sect called 'The Men', erected a suitably inscribed stone slab. He prophesied that broom would flower to the right and the left of the stone as a sign to unbelievers but he also carefully ensured that the stone was set between two broom plants. Immediately, the Free Church denounced the story of the crossing as an abominable lie and for some time controversy raged. On February 19th, 1867, the slab was found broken and pieces of it flung into the river. For years people took fragments of the slab as souvenirs and part of it was taken as a doorstep for Knock farmhouse nearby. Now when this was done, almost immediately the farmhouse got the reputation of being haunted. Its occupants were plagued in mid-summer by hailstones as big as cricket balls; turnips were thrown down their chimney; and furniture and kitchen utensils would fly about the rooms. The occupants of the farmhouse all died in a short space of time. When the new tenant of the farmhouse took possession, his first action was to return the stone that had been used as a doorstep to its former resting place in the river, and from that moment on, all the curious happenings at the farmhouse ceased. <br /> <br /> From time to time stories of the stone's evil power have been revived. Some years ago, five boys uncovered the stone in the river bed and it's reported that within months, all five were dead. In 1940, a bomber returning from a raid, crashed nearby on the riverbank and it was claimed that one of the crew had meddled with the stone when he was a youth. So, if you are near Boat of Garten bridge and you see parts of a stone slab lying on the river bed, leave it alone!