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TITLE
Healing Wells and Springs in the Highlands & Islands (2 of 3)
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_CARD_0935_A
PLACENAME
Isle Maree
DISTRICT
Gairloch
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Gairloch
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
32857
KEYWORDS
wells
wishing wells
rituals
rites
trees
folklore
Healing Wells and Springs in the Highlands & Islands (2 of 3)

Below is a list of some of the springs, lochs and wells in the Highlands and Islands which were, and for some still are, believed to have the power to heal. (The image shows St. Maelrhuba's Well, otherwise known as 'The Sacred Well', on Isle Maree in Wester Ross.)

There are many more wells which have local superstitions attached to them. "The Records of the Meeting of the Exercise of Alford" (New Spalding Club, 1847 p. 415) mentions six hundred wells in Scotland. Many were not "holy" or healing wells. Some were thought to control the weather and some were even "cursing" wells.

Well worship goes back to the time of the earl Celts but the Scottish Church was very much against it, so much so, that it was prohibited by the Kirk Session in the seventeenth century. It was ordained that "Whosoever shall be found guiltie of the premises that they mak ther publick repent-ance in sack cloth befor the congregaône" (Northern Notes and Queries vol IV 1890 pp. 27-8)


INVERNESS-SHIRE (CONTD)

DOCHGARROCH - Fuaran Dearg (red spring).This well is situated on Caplaich Hill four miles west of Dochgarroch. It is a chalybeate spring. A stone basin was erected here in 1822 by a Maclean of Dochgarroch after a Laird of Grant suddenly took ill while hunting but recovered after drinking the water.

GLEN ELG - Tobar Bhan (white well).This is a well for all ailments, guarded by a sacred trout.

INVERMORISTON - St. Columba's Well. The water from this well was said to have been blessed by St Columba in order to baptise the local druids whom he had converted. Believed to be good for fertility; the water is also supposed to cure rheumatism and hangovers.

INVERNESS - Fuaran a Chreigain bhreac (well of the spotted rock ) This well is situated above the old hospital at Craig Dunain. A "clootie" well with offerings of shell and white pebbles as well as rags, it was supposed to have diuretic properties. It was also believed to be a fairy well and that a weak child, believed to be a fairy changeling, if left overnight with an offering of a bowl of milk, would by morning have been exchanged for the mother's own healthy baby.

INVERNESS - General's Well
On west bank at south end of the Ness Islands. Said to cure rickets.

KINGUSSIE - Here, beside the burn which runs from Loch Guinach, was a wishing well but near to it was supposed to be a well which gave immortality, hidden except to those who deserved it.

LEYS CASTLE - Keppoch Well. Three miles south east of Inverness was a well, now covered over, removed from Lochaber when the attending spirit took umbrage. The water, whether drunk or applied, was supposed to be a cure-all although it was especially effective for diarrhoea. The well was also supposed to have the power to tell a patient's fate. A stone was placed on a piece of wood and put on the bottom of the well. If it bobbed up the prognosis was good and if not the patient would die.

RAIGMORE - This well is situated in the grounds of Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. The water was used to treat whooping cough.

URQUHART BAY - St. Ninian's Well. This "clootie" well is beside St Ninian's Church in Drumnadrochit. It was in use at least until the beginning of the twentieth century and said to cure several diseases.

FUARAN GLAIC AN AMAIR - A well in Glaic an Amair (glade of the rocky channel), a deep ravine which falls abruptly in to the River Farigaig on the south side of Loch Ness, was said to have medicinal and magical properties. It was the haunt of a water sprite. Ribbons and coins left as offerings.

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Healing Wells and Springs in the Highlands & Islands (2 of 3)

ROSS: Gairloch

wells; wishing wells; rituals; rites; trees; folklore

Highland Libraries

Highland Libraries' Postcard Collection

Below is a list of some of the springs, lochs and wells in the Highlands and Islands which were, and for some still are, believed to have the power to heal. (The image shows St. Maelrhuba's Well, otherwise known as 'The Sacred Well', on Isle Maree in Wester Ross.)<br /> <br /> There are many more wells which have local superstitions attached to them. "The Records of the Meeting of the Exercise of Alford" (New Spalding Club, 1847 p. 415) mentions six hundred wells in Scotland. Many were not "holy" or healing wells. Some were thought to control the weather and some were even "cursing" wells. <br /> <br /> Well worship goes back to the time of the earl Celts but the Scottish Church was very much against it, so much so, that it was prohibited by the Kirk Session in the seventeenth century. It was ordained that "Whosoever shall be found guiltie of the premises that they mak ther publick repent-ance in sack cloth befor the congregaône" (Northern Notes and Queries vol IV 1890 pp. 27-8)<br /> <br /> <br /> INVERNESS-SHIRE (CONTD)<br /> <br /> DOCHGARROCH - Fuaran Dearg (red spring).This well is situated on Caplaich Hill four miles west of Dochgarroch. It is a chalybeate spring. A stone basin was erected here in 1822 by a Maclean of Dochgarroch after a Laird of Grant suddenly took ill while hunting but recovered after drinking the water.<br /> <br /> GLEN ELG - Tobar Bhan (white well).This is a well for all ailments, guarded by a sacred trout.<br /> <br /> INVERMORISTON - St. Columba's Well. The water from this well was said to have been blessed by St Columba in order to baptise the local druids whom he had converted. Believed to be good for fertility; the water is also supposed to cure rheumatism and hangovers. <br /> <br /> INVERNESS - Fuaran a Chreigain bhreac (well of the spotted rock ) This well is situated above the old hospital at Craig Dunain. A "clootie" well with offerings of shell and white pebbles as well as rags, it was supposed to have diuretic properties. It was also believed to be a fairy well and that a weak child, believed to be a fairy changeling, if left overnight with an offering of a bowl of milk, would by morning have been exchanged for the mother's own healthy baby.<br /> <br /> INVERNESS - General's Well <br /> On west bank at south end of the Ness Islands. Said to cure rickets.<br /> <br /> KINGUSSIE - Here, beside the burn which runs from Loch Guinach, was a wishing well but near to it was supposed to be a well which gave immortality, hidden except to those who deserved it.<br /> <br /> LEYS CASTLE - Keppoch Well. Three miles south east of Inverness was a well, now covered over, removed from Lochaber when the attending spirit took umbrage. The water, whether drunk or applied, was supposed to be a cure-all although it was especially effective for diarrhoea. The well was also supposed to have the power to tell a patient's fate. A stone was placed on a piece of wood and put on the bottom of the well. If it bobbed up the prognosis was good and if not the patient would die.<br /> <br /> RAIGMORE - This well is situated in the grounds of Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. The water was used to treat whooping cough.<br /> <br /> URQUHART BAY - St. Ninian's Well. This "clootie" well is beside St Ninian's Church in Drumnadrochit. It was in use at least until the beginning of the twentieth century and said to cure several diseases.<br /> <br /> FUARAN GLAIC AN AMAIR - A well in Glaic an Amair (glade of the rocky channel), a deep ravine which falls abruptly in to the River Farigaig on the south side of Loch Ness, was said to have medicinal and magical properties. It was the haunt of a water sprite. Ribbons and coins left as offerings.