One of the best things about travelling Scotland is the number of stories you come across. Whether it’s true history or mythological tales, there’s always something to learn and discover, no matter where you are.
With this in mind, in a continuation of our “Secrets Of Scotland” series, we’re taking a look at the Highlands. For the unenlightened amongst you, you might think of the Highlands as a beautiful expanse of hills, mountains, lochs, and wildlife. But those in the know understand there’s much more to it than that.
Over the years, countless stories have emerged from this part of Scotland, including monsters, ghosts, ghouls, fairies, even mermaids – and not the “Little Mermaid” type of mermaids, either!
Before you set off on your motorhome hire journey, we think it’s right that we let you in on a few of these secrets, ensuring that you’re always prepared for the unexpected. After all, if these stories teach us anything, it’s that you never know what Scotland is going to throw at you. So let’s get started and find out:
The Fairies On The Hill
We’ll start off with something a little light. Fairies. Fairies aren’t scary, right? Well, hopefully not, because Scotland has got loads of them. According to legend, a good few live on the outskirts of Inverness, in a place called Tomnahurich. One of the most famous stories involves a couple of fiddlers, who were invited to perform at one of the annual “fairy feasts”. Be warned; this one rather rains on our earlier statement that this story would be light.
Apparently, while the fiddlers entertained the fairies, everything seemed to go by in a flash, and by the time they returned home, they discovered that a whole century had passed. Everyone they knew and loved were gone, and in their despair, they crumbled into dust. Needless to say, they didn’t get a tip either. Now we know what you’re thinking: these fairies don’t sound like the tooth fairies I was told about when I was a kid! And yes, we’d agree with you. But we also beg you to ask the question: why were all those fairies collecting human teeth in the first place…?
The Amphibious Monster
We’ve all heard about the Loch Ness monster, so we don’t have to bore you with the details. But for anyone who is unfamiliar, there’s a massive loch in Scotland called Loch Ness, and a large plesiosaur seems to have found a home there for the last few millions of years. Up to date? Good. Because that might be entirely wrong.
We know, the story sounds so solid! But the account of a single couple completely changed everything around thirty years ago. According to the couple, they were driving along a small stretch of road in Inverness when a large, rubbery beast came out from the forest and walked straight in front of them. They stopped the car, shocked, and then they watched as the beast slumped its way over toward the shore and into the loch.
The story has been on the down-low ever since, but is that because it’s ludicrous, or because it’s being hushed up? We may never know. But you might when you go to visit there! That’s right, in our opinion, Loch Ness is one of the must-sees on any Scottish motorhome trip. Not only is it beautiful, but the story of the Loch Ness monster simply radiates along the shores, making it feel truly unique – and wonderfully eerie too! Of course, there are plenty of things to do during a day in Loch Ness, but seeing the monster should be at the top of your priority list!
The Maighdean Mhara
Do you know what sailors used to mistake for mermaids back in the eighteenth century? Manatees. That’s right, those giant, rubbery creatures were mistaken for beautiful women who were half human, half fish. Granted, some of those sailors had been on the sea for a good few years before making that mistake, but the mistake was still made!
Today, however, we know that manatees are just another member of the aquatic family, herbivorous marine mammals that inhabit the shallow, marshy areas of the Caribbean and West Africa. But despite this fact, the Scottish belief in mermaids still lingers. In Highlands folklore, they exist in a place north of Inverness, named Kessock. Known as the Maighdean Mhara, these are less Ariel from “Little Mermaid” and more the sirens from Homer’s Odyssey. In other words, if you hear them singing, it won’t be a Disney tune. Although you should probably react in the same way and cover your ears…