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Alastair's Holiday around Pitlochry
Day 17


Today I decided to go visit the clan lands of MacThomas and do a major photography session on all the lands where the clan could have lived.  I hope the clan and others will enjoy the results.

I am also indebted to Campbell of Glenshee who runs the Spittal of Glenshee just a few miles away for providing me with an account of the Cockstane at Finegand:-

There is a large rock surrounded by trees at Finegand which is called the “Cockstane”. (O.S. Sheet 43, Ref 141643) Stories handed down in the Glen through the Centuries have it that when the Clan MacThomas or what was then known as the MacOmish came to the Glen, they built their first settlement at Finegand. One night a cock was heard crowing from the top of the rock. Its cries were so loud that the clan was awakened. It being unheard of for a cock to call at night, it was taken that something was seriously amiss and the call to arms was raised, the men taking up defensive positions. As soon as this was done the cock fell silent.

After a while the men were beginning to get restive and think it was all for nothing when strange sounds were heard which were made by armed men approaching and bumping into objects in the dark. It was a raid. The attackers were taken completely by surprise when instead of a helpless sleeping village, they found they were attacking a company of well-armed and prepared people. The raiders were cut to pieces and few escaped.

The clan realised they owed their survival to the cock crowing from the rock and from that moment on the rock became the central point for the clan. At times of danger when the Glen was being raided or attacked the men would rush to the rock with their weapons and the chief or chieftains would organise them into cohesive fighting units and co-ordinate defence and counter attacks as required. The clan chief made counsel standing on the rock, judgements, tribunals and all serious clan business were conducted by the chief and lesser chieftains with the whole clan gathered around. Although long dispersed from Glenshee, members of the Clan MacThomas Society return each year on the third weekend of August to swear allegiance to their clan chief as he stands on the rock.

The Spittal of Glenshee is a gathering place for the clan and a fine coaching inn it is with excellent food and a warm welcome.

The Cockstane of Finegand

Whilst standing before
The Cockstane of Finegand
Surrounded by woods
With tall leafy bough
I heard in the days
Long ago gone before us
A legend so grand
Of the MacOmish clan

They tell of how when
One night ‘o so gloomy
When all of the town folk
Had called it a day
In middle of night
With no moon there ‘a showing
A rooster flew top
Of the rock and did crow

Was strange why this cock
Should be calling so early
The dawn of the day
Was so far away
But cock he did cry
And was so alarming
It woke all the village
In beds where they lay

Arise from your sleep,
'O village of Finegand
Arise from your sleep,
Can’t you hear the cock crow
Arise from your sleep,
'O clan of MacOmish
Arise from your sleep,
To the rock you must go

So grabbed they their weapons
Of warfare to carry
With dirk and the broadsword
To rock men did run
And gathered they near
To see this strange going
But cock stopped ’a crowing
When all had got there

They waited for hours
To see what was coming
Surely this cock
Had forewarned them of doom
Near to the point
Of calling an ending
When strange sounds they heard
From the deep darken wood

Arise from your sleep,
'O village of Finegand
Arise from your sleep,
Can’t you hear the cock crow
Arise from your sleep,
'O clan of MacOmish
Arise from your sleep,
To the rock you must go

A band was coming
To steal all belongings
Twas raiders to take
Everything in their sight
Bumping and tripping
Loud sounds they were making
Through forest they stumbled
With all of their might

Instead of a village
Asleep in the nighttime
They found all the town folk
To arms they had come
To fight off these villains
And send them ’a screaming
Cut down these raiders
And let their blood flow

Arise from your sleep,
'O village of Finegand
Arise from your sleep,
Victory is at hand
Arise from your sleep,
'O clan of MacOmish
Arise from your sleep,
To the rock you must go

From then till today
The clan they still gather
At rock where they came
The night the cock called
To vow their allegiance
To chief and to brothers
To thank the dear Lord
For the cock that did crow

So if you are ever
In bonnie old Scotland
To Finegand near Glenshee
You surely must go
Stand at the rock
All the town folk call Cockstane
By moonlight they say
You still hear the cock crow

Arise from your sleep,
'O village of Finegand
Arise from your sleep,
All ye ghosts of the land
Arise from your sleep,
'O clan of MacOmish
Arise from your sleep,
To the rock you must go

by Danny Elliott
copyrighted 2005@ Library of Congress


A picture on the way to Glenshee on the road from Pitlochry


Some more scenes on my way to Clan MacThomas land and then we arrive


I was told that if you visit the Cockstane late at night with no moon you can still see the stane as if it's daylight.  Certainly a magical experience.


A gravestone at the side of the woods

 


These are views of the surrounding area while stood at the Gate.

I am now going around the area roughly within an 8 mile radius of the "Cockstane" to let you see the lands of the Clan MacThomas including the Spittal of Glenshee where the clan gathers each year.

To start with I'll head to the Spittal at Glenshee where the clan have their annual meetings so the next set of pictures are on the road to there.

 

Now that we've arrived at the Spittal of Glenshee I figured you might like to see the place...


The Grave on the hillside also has a story as does the picture above and I'll add the stories later.


So now you've seen all around the Spittal of Glenshee I'm heading out to do a circuit around the area.


This was a wee pottery business on the road with a very friendly cat and a real potter working on a Sunday!


Findlater Castle


Another Internet Point!


And as evening was drawing in this is the completion of my travels around MacThomas country!


Return to our Pitlochry Page  |  Visit the Clan MacThomas Page

 


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