Europe,  Scotland

Legends of the Isle of Skye

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Like every other little girl I grew up on fairytales. Any story with a magical creature, princess, mermaid, or fairy had my complete and utter attention.
And if you want the truth, even now at the age of 24, very little has changed.
So you can imagine how excited I was when I read that my 3 day “Skye High” tour with Haggis Tours spent a full day sightseeing around this beautiful island, complete with famous folklore stories.
No sleeping on the bus for me that day!
We started off pulling alongside the road and taking a quick walk down to the river Sligachan beside the bridge.
“This water has magical powers” our guide, Andrew told us.
The group of us sat on the rocks and listened as his story of the fairy river unfolded.
According to the legend, two Scottish clans who were constantly at battle decided to make a deal. The most handsome man of one clan would wed the most beautiful woman of the other.
On the marriage day the beautiful woman set forth with a male servant on horseback, and travelled to meet her soon-to-be husband. But the horse was spooked and she was thrown off a bridge where she landed on the rocks below. She barely survived the fall, and the once beautiful woman was now horribly disfigured. For fear of not meeting her clan’s end of the bargain, her servant helped her hide her marred face under a veil with then intention of revealing herself only after the ceremony.
However, upon discovering that his ‘beautiful’ bride was hideously scarred, the handsome man went berserk. In his anger at being cheated, he beat his new bride, her servant, and even the horse and threw them out to die.
Bloody, beaten, with no place to go the three returned to the bridge where the woman fell and stared miserably at the water wishing for death.
Summoned by their distress, the fairy queen appeared. Seeing their pain and the goodness inside of them, she told each one to submerge their face in the water for 7 seconds each. For the water was magical, and would not only heal their wounds but restore their beauty…forever.
In turn, the woman, the servant, and the horse all put their faces in the water and as the fairy promised, each was healed and more beautiful than before. The beautiful woman and her now beautiful servant fell in love and rode off (on their equally beautiful horse) in the sunset to live happily ever after.
Which leaves us wondering whether the magical properties of the water still existed. There was only 1 way to find out and of course being the Canadian girl (Hey guys the water isn;t cold at all! I swear) I was the first to stick my face in the running water.
Of course that wasn’t the last time I stuck my face into freezing water that day.
As our afternoon continued on we stopped in the adorable town of Portree for a quick leg stretch and to grab some food from the best (and cheapest) bakery ever.(yes if you are here and there is a line up-it’s absolutely worth the wait!)
Our next stop was beside a small waterfall that we had to hike to the top of. Rain boots firmly attached I was the first to make it to the top, straddle the stream and take a sip that was supposed to ensure me a lifetime of good luck. Sadly my luck only lasted a minute because I slipped and fell on the way down, coating myself in wet, slimy, and stinky mud. Very lucky indeed.
The day wore on with more fairytales; stories of giants, fairies and a viking princess by the name of Saucy Mary who like to stand naked in the windows of her shore-side castle.
But I think my favourite was The Old Man of Stoor- a large, oddly shaped rock on the side of the mountain. Legend says that the large rock, and smaller rock beside it, were carved by a Brownie in remembrance of his human friend who died of heartbreak after the sudden death of his wife. The two rocks can be clearly seen from a distance away, silently watching over the island that the two lovers called home.


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