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Clootie Well and Brahan the Seer

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 13 & 14 May 2017

Saturday 13 May, Clootie Well and Brahan the Seer

Clootie Well on the Black Isle Clootie Well on the Black IsleI had some problems with my throat but that only gets worse and I do not feel very well. Yet we go out again and how coincidental is it that we pass Clootie Well on the Black Isle. A Clootie Well is a source or well next to a tree where people hang garments in the tree or trees as part of a healing ritual. You first dip the clothing in the source and ask the spirit or saint of the source for healing. This source at Munlochy is dedicated to Saint Curetan and had the special power to heal sick children who were left here one night.
It is best to hang a garment in the tree that is related to the disease, so why have not I dipped a handkerchief in the well and hung it among the thousands of other clooties? A clootie is Scottish for a garment. If only I had done it...
The road between the golf course of FortroseFrom Munlochy we drive to Fortrose hoping that this time we might be more fortunate to spot dolphins at Chanonry Point. Chanonry Point is at the end of a headland which is the entrance to the Moray Firth, and dolphins like to catch fish here when low tides are over and the high tide starts. To get there you have to drive over a single track road that runs through a golf course, hence the sign that you have to watch out for flying golf balls. We do not encounter any golf balls but we do not see any dolphins either. We have been her no numerous times but never saw one dolphin.
Monument to Brahan the Seer in Fortrose Information board about Brahan the Seer at Chanonry PointOn this spot there is also a memorial for Brahan the Seer and an information board about this clairvoyant from the 17th century. His real name was Coinneach Odhar or Kenneth Mackenzie and his prophecies were (almost) all fulfilled and mainly concerned clans in the Highlands but he also foresaw the last battle on the British island (battle at Culloden), the Clearances and even the the rise of numerous whiskey shops. Most of the predictions came out within a century, but he would have predicted the 2nd world war as well. But all his predictions, which he made with the aid of a blue stone with a hole in it (a socalled addre stone), have a link with Scotland. A fascinating man. Although, some think he is a myth, invented by the writer Alexander MacKenzie.
Unfortunately, one of his predictions also provoked his death and according to legend, he was barbarously murdered in a burning tar barrel on this very spot.
Lighthouse at Chanonry PointTo be able to spot dolphins, we walk past the lighthouse that has been here from 1846 onwards. There are many people walking around, but of course we have not paid attention to the tides again. The best time to see them is on an afternoon when the low tide is just over and the flood starts to rise again. In addition, it is also better if the difference between low and high tides is the greatest. Now that I write this, I find out that nowadays there are cheap guides to help you choose the right date and time.
Rachel and Elisabeth in the kitchen of Iain and Cathy Elisabeth and Rachel cannot stop laughingWe do not make a very long trip today and are back in Beauly early in the afternoon.
Now that Iain and Cathy are no longer running the hotel, we also play our tole in the housekeeping and Elisabeth and Rachel are working hard here in the kitchen to prepare dinner. Well, hard at work, they mostly have a lot of fun and regularly can't stop laughing. Also in the evening, when we all sit together in the lounge, we have a lot of fun, chat and do crossword puzzles.

Sunday 14 May 2017, to Dornoch Firth and beyond

Flowering broom at Meikle Ferry Flowering broom at Meikle FerryThe next day I feel even worse, but we still go out. We drive a bit further north yesterday, over the Dornoch Firth and then on the north side along the water to Meikle Ferry. From there the ferry left for the crossing to the south of the Firth. In 1809, one of the biggest ship disasters in Scottish history took place here when the overloaded ferry sank and 99 people lost their lives. They decided then to build a bridge at Bonar Bridge, but the ferry would remain in operation until 1957. In 1991 the Dornoch Bridge was opened which is now part of the A9 that goes north.
A boring camper place at Embo The beach of DornochI find here some more roads where we have not driven yet (according to my map) and that's how we get to Embo, a place that in 1988 became independent for 1 day from the United Kingdom. It gave out its own currency with which a special Clynelish malt whiskey could be bought. In this way money was collected for the conversion of a school into a community centre. Prior to the day, permission had been requested from the Queen and the Prime Minister (Thatcher). There was even a customs post.
Somewhat outside the village we see a dull row of caravans on a motorhome park. We can not imagine that it would be nice to have a holiday there. But there are so many in England and Scotland like this, they have quite a different idea of camping here than we do in the Netherlands. We prefer to go to the beautiful beach of Dornoch where we take a short walk.
Heather landscape at Rogart in the Highlands Heather landscape at Rogart in the HighlandsWe drive a bit further to the north, inland where there is less and less habitation and heathland and grassland alternate with each other. It is a very beautiful area, as the whole Highlands really do, but I can appreciate it less than I used to because of the pain in my throat and ears that just does not go away. So we return to Beauly quite early and I even skip dinner to go to bed early. I really should have left a garment at the Clootie Well at Munlochy!


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