Scotland's Stories

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Scottish storyteller, writer and travelblogger, sharing the stories of Scotland with the help of a tireless labrador.

Helping people get more out of their journey through Scotland!

Graeme & Molly

Location Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom
Member Since JULY 23, 2022
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Competition Time! Hopefully, that caught your attention because it's now less than a week until the Scotland's Stories book is published (1st October.) Inside you'll find incredible stories behind some of Scotland's most amazing places! I'm giving you the chance to win a signed copy, which I'll ship anywhere in the world. All you have to do is be following me, like this post and comment with the word Scotland! Nice and simple... Entries close at 8am on Wednesday 27th September and then I'll pick a winner! Even if you've already pre-ordered a copy, I'm sure you can think of somebody who might want one (I hear signed versions are worth 20 pence more), so get an entry in! *This competition is in no way sponsored or associated with Instagram* #Scotland

There isn't a whole lot left of Lordscairnie Castle in Fife, but I'm always impressed by its big, rugged presence. You won't find this on tourist maps and just a warning that you might need to hop a wall to get up close. The castle has been abandoned since the 17th century and there are lots of unknowns when talking about its history. I'm going to add a few "maybes" of my own that I think fit with the story. Lordscairnie was built by the powerful Earls of Crawford in the 15th century, but there's debate about whether it was the 4th Earl or one of his younger sons. This son wasn't due to inherit the Earldom, so it would make sense that the castle was at least built for him to support his small estate, replacing a residence already in use. The 4th Earl was known as Earl Beardie or the Tiger Earl and he had a bit of a rebellious streak. More specifically, he formed an alliance against King James II along with the equally powerful Black Douglases and the Lord of the Isles. This is where the rumour of a horde of buried treasure at Lordscairnie seems to fit into the story. The Stewart Kings had been struggling with powerful magnates for decades and were known to be vengeful monarchs. If the Earl was worried that he might be stripped of his titles and fortune at any moment, then it makes sense to hide an emergency stash of gold somewhere. Where better than a little known holiday home in a place of no real importance to him. On top of this, Earl Beardie is said to be seen here every Hogmanay at midnight, playing cards with the Devil. The story ties in with a Glamis Castle legend, where the Earl was tricked by the Devil into playing cards on a Sunday and doomed to play the game forever. Surely, he would have confided in somebody that he was burying his treasure, but if the Earl was suddenly captured by the Devil at Glamis, then he wouldn't have been able to reveal exactly where. Maybe as a treat, the Devil lets Earl Beardie visit here to check on his heirs once a year. Or maybe he appears to see if anybody is brave enough to ask him where his buried treasure is... #visitscotland #welcometofife #scotlandisnow #scottishcastle

On this day in 1745, the first major action of Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite rising took place - The Battle of Prestonpans. The Jacobites had marched through the Highlands right around the government army under General Cope, taking the city of Edinburgh with ease. Of course, Cope wasn't going to just give up. He wanted to force a battle, so sailed 2,500 men south to Dunbar, blocking the easiest route to the border. With Charles marching his men out of Edinburgh and up to a high ridge, the two evenly numbered sides faced each other here at Prestonpans. However, there was a problem. A seemingly impassable marsh lay between them and either army would surely be annihilated if they attempted to charge across. Then, a local man came to Charles with important information. There was a little known path that would lead them through the marsh. Setting off in darkness, by dawn the Jacobites had miraculously appeared to the east of Cope's army. The government had just enough time to reset and wheel their line to face their opponents, but not to redeploy their artillery properly. That didn't matter much since after the cannons were loaded, the gunners ran away, leaving their officers to fire the single shot at the rapidly advancing Jacobites. It didn't take long for the government army to break in the face of the Highland Charge. Their musket fire barely slowed the stampeding Jacobites who let off one volley before dropping their guns and smashing in with swords, shields, knives and anything else they had brought with them. Of the roughly 2500 government soldiers, around 4-500 had been killed and the same number now prisoners. More important than that though, the Jacobites had captured their muskets, ammunition and artillery. What had been an ill-equipped but passionate army was now a force to be reckoned with and had only lost around 50 men in the process. The song "Hey Johnnie Cope" is said to have been written right after the battle by Adam Skirving, the farmer who owned the fields that were trampled by the armies! #Scotland #ScotlandIsNow #ScotlandIsCalling #VisitScotland #Jacobites

Now I've got my hands on an early copy of the Scotland's Stories book, it's time to share with you one of the stories from it! Every tale you'll find inside relates to a place in Scotland, like Doon Hill in Aberfoyle. The spot that I'm standing on is where Robert Kirk, the minister of Aberfoyle in the 17th century was found after one of his evening strolls up this notorious fairy hill. He was fascinated by folklore and instead of scolding parishioners for old-fashioned beliefs, he interviewed them and collected the stories. He wrote his thoughts down in a book that would become known as the Secret Commonwealth, but would never see it published. At only 47 years old and with no known health issues, Robert was found dead in a clearing atop Doon Hill. Whispers spread that the fairies were angry at Robert for sharing their secrets and they took him into their Hill, leaving a changeling behind to be buried. You can find that grave in the churchyard not far away. Some believe that Robert lives on still and his spirit is contained within the tree I'm standing next to. All I know is that I felt very nervous climbing Doon Hill amongst the carved fairy houses, but I guess Molly must have protected me from the Wee Folk's wrath! The book is released on the 1st October and then you can use it to find locations with stories just like this! You can place pre-orders now online at most UK booksellers and (search for Graeme Johncock and it should appear) or just pop into your local bookshop and request that they order in some copies! #Scotland #VisitScotland #StirlingAlive #ScotlandIsNow #ScotlandsStories #bookstagram #StoryBook #ScottishFolklore #Folklore #ScotlandIsCalling

The Reekie Linn isn't just one of Scotland's most fantastic waterfalls, it's also a haunt of the Devil. Autumn is the best time of year to see this powerful double waterfall, when heavy rain swells the river. It's so deep in one of the Angus Glens that it's practically Perthshire, with dozens of Highland streams feeding this raging torrent. The name Reekie Linn means Smokey Pool and as the water crashes down, a fine smoke-like mist rises out of the gorge. If you've got good eyes, then through that mist, you might spot a large cave down far below. That's the Black Dub and a man on the run once decided to make use of the hidden cavern. Some stories say it was the local laird, others that he was a notorious, cattle rustling outlaw. Either way, this character had just killed a man and now he was on the run. Hiding behind the spray and the roar of the Reekie Linn, the killer was already dealing with a heavy conscience, but what he saw next changed his life. A figure was padding towards him out of the gloom. It was a big, black, devil of a dog. One thing about hiding next to a waterfall this powerful - nobody can hear you scream. The man was in no doubt that this was a visit from the Devil because of his crimes. He was so terrified by the dog that he immediately chambered out of the cave, up the gorge and straight to the authorities to hand himself in. If you're looking for a short walk and an impressive view, then the Reekie Linn is perfect. It's fairly easy to access, not too far off the beaten track, but barely sees a fraction of the visitors other waterfals do. You can see the cave from across the gorge, but it's not accessible by any path and especially when the river is as high as this. A word of warning though, the drops are incredibly steep and there aren't many barriers. Keep yourself and especially dogs away from both the edge and the neighbouring field that's usually full of sheep or cows! #Visitscotland #scotlandisnow #visitangus

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