The Fairies of Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye, located on Scotland’s west coast, is an amazing landscape of grassy knolls, scenic hillsides, rock formations, and castles, where fairy folklore abounds. Almost everywhere you turn, there is a place that looks as if it were a secret gathering spot for magic creatures, and there is usually a bit of local folklore to back that up. The sheer number of places named for Fairies should give an indication of how important folklore is on the Isle of Skye.

THE FAIRY POOLS  
The Fairy pools are a series of waterfalls, popular with hikers and “wild swimmers.” The pools are crystal clear and surrounded by large rocky cliffs and walls, waterfalls, and lush foliage.

DUNVEGAN CASTLE AND THE FAIRY FLAG
Dunvegan Castle is the home of the infamous Fairy Flag. There are several tales explaining how the Fairy Flag came to the MacLeod Clan, though most claim that it was a gift from fairies. We proposed an alternate origin of the Fairy Flag’s origins recently on FairyRoom.

The flag is on display for visitors to view, along with other historic items such as the Dunvegan Cup, which is said to have come to the MacLeod’s possession through fairies, and Sir Rory Mor’s Horn, a MacLeod family heirloom used by each chief as a sign of their manhood.


THE FAIRY BRIDGE
The somewhat modest Fairy Bridge, located three miles from Dunvegan Castle, is the site where some tales place the final moments between a MacLeod Chief and his fairy wife before she left him to return to Fairyland. As the story goes, she gave him the Fairy Flag before her departure, promising that it had the power to relieve him of danger and distress when he waved it.

FairyRoom’s interview with New York Times bestselling author Monica McCarty includes a snapshot of her on the bridge, and talks some about writing the Fairy flag and the MacLeod Clan into works of fiction.


THE FAIRY KNOLL
The Fairy Knoll is said to be a stomping ground for fairies. One legend tells of a fiddler playing music for a fairy party one night, only to go home and discover that 100 years had passed. Many local tales about the Fairy Knoll insist that music can still be heard coming from the knoll. The knoll is small and the vegetation is dense, making it difficult for visitors to access.

THE QUIRAING
The Quiraing is an intense, magical landscape on the Trotternish Ridge, created by a series of landslips. There are many hidden delights to be found here; pinnacles, plateaus, peaks, and hidden meadows, all said to be meeting places for fairies.

SORNAICHEAN COIR’ FHINN
This massive pair of stones, located in Loch Eyre, is said to have been built by the giant Fingal to suspend a pot of stew over a campfire. Fingal’s Cave, located on the Scottish mainland, was featured in our article about the Giant’s Causeway.

THE FAIRY GLEN
The Fairy Glen is a series of miniature grassy hills, popular among tourists. A handsome rock tower known as Castle Ewen can be climbed fairly easily, and the grassy top is a a great spot for a picnic.

THE OLD MAN OF STORR
The Storr is a majestic rocky cliff located on the very popular Trotternish Ridge. Legend has it that Old Man of Storr was a giant who had lived in Trotternish. When he dies, he was buried with his finger left sticking out, creating the ridges.

MORE ABOUT THE ISLE OF SKYE:

  • Portree, the largest town on the Isle of Skye, is the hometown of the fictional Quidditch team “The Pride of Portree,” mentioned in J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series.
  • Howling goat-like creatures called Glaistigs (in some cases quite similar to a Banshee) appear in some Skye folklore.

VISITOR RESOURCES:

  • Walking Highlands – walking path routes, terrain info, and maps
  • Skye – the official isle of skye site, including trip planning, accommodations, and attractions.
  • A Guide to the Isle of Skye – local transportation and attractions, sortable by different area maps of Skye.