THE dreamy summer in the Western Isles which furnished
the notes for the following pages, was immediately succeeded by a
prolonged spell of most delightful wanderings in the Himalayas.
this,—my first journey to the Far East,—my attention was forcibly arrested
by many very striking analogies between many of the customs and legends of
Western Islanders, and those of Eastern Highlanders.
suggested such a multitude of unaccountable links between various
semi-obsolete customs in Christian lands of the West (which are
undoubtedly survivals of ancient pagan practice), and those which form
part of the daily religious life in Eastern lands,—that my volumes
attained dimensions somewhat forbidding to general readers.
therefore deemed it expedient to select such notes of my summer in the
Hebrides, as appear to me to possess most general interest, omitting all
These notes I now offer to all my kindred-wanderers on
our own romantic Western shores and Isles, trusting that they may therein
find some suggestions which may add interest to their own summer rambles.
C. F. GORDON CUMMING.
I The Mull of
Cantyre—Campbelton--The Scot-Dairiads--Kil-Kerran - Churches of early
Saints--St. Colomba in Cantyre at Kil-Coim-Keil-The Ocean—Cantyre's Dairy
Farms—The Monastery of SaddeilLegend of Dunaverty—Kil-Cousland—St.
Couslan's Weddings—KilKerran—St. Coivin's Divorces—Macnahanish
From Campbelton to Oban - Isles of Gigah and Islay—Meaning of Tarbert—Legend
of the Whirlpool— Isles of Elachnave, Oronsay, and Colonsay—Oban—Dunolly—Dunstaffnage—
Seals —Old Tombs—White Stones—A Lake VillageSerpent-shaped Mound—American and other
Reptile-shaped Mounds —Gaelic Serpent Lore.
Isles—The Druid's Holy Isle—Brighit, the Fire Goddess—Traces of Pagan
Customs—The 360 Crosses—Rude Stone Monuments-360 Sacred Stones at
Mecca—Black Stones—Magic Crystals—Solar Turns —St. Columba—His Work—His
Death—Tonsure—Book of Battles— Jacob's Pillow—The Reilig Orain—The
Nunnery—Massacre of the Monks—The Ruins—The Inn—Jackdaws—Hill of Dunii—Druidic
Circle—The Bay of the Boat—Pagan Baptism.
IV The Inner Hebrides -
Staffa—From Oban to Skye—Lismore—Mull—Legend of Castle Duart —Legend of
Lochbuy—Legend of Loch Awe—Isle of Canna—St. Michael's Eve—How observed in
Barra—Nordereys and Sudereys of Muck—Wild Boar of
Scotland—Wolves—Beavers—Isle of Rum—Scuir of Eigg—Proud Lords of the
Isles—The Isle of Mists.
Quiraing - Uig—A Terrible "Spate "—Gaelic Churches—Forms of
Worship—Island Homes—Timber—The Famine of 1883—Primitive Agricultural
Implements—No Frost—Dr. Johnson—Legend of Castle Tfstian—Glens of the
Conan and of the Rah—The Quiraing—Monkstadt-----Duntulm— Midges—A great
VI Afloat - A Music-Room—Duntulm
Castle—Fladda of the Ocean—Holy Stones - Schioch
Maddie Cave—Legend of McOrimmon—Water Kelpies - Brownies—Legends---The Kilt
Rock—Marine Forests—Flat-fishesti Basaltic Coast—The Storr Rock—The
Ross-shire Coast—Legends of St. Malruba—Sacrifices of Cattle—The
Need-Fire--Start for the Herring Fishing—Storms—King Haco's Fleet.
VII Modern Chips of the Old Blocks -
Holy Wells in the Hebrides and in the highlands—Prohibitory
Statutes —Wells for the Cure of Insanity—Pilgrims' Bags—Traces of Sun and
Fire Worship - Four great Festivals - Beltane - Midsummer in
Ireland, Isle of Man, Stonehenge—Hallow-e'en—All Souls—YuleChristmas—The
Burning of the Clavie—Dread of giving or taking Fire—Festivals in the
Pyrenees, the Alps, the Baltic, in Paris, in Edinburgh and London - Traces
of Moon Worship - An Owl's Question.
Footprints of the Past - Lonely Chapels—Blended Faiths—Sunwise Turns—East
and West Divination by Smoke--Touch of a Seventh Son—The Royal Touch, a
Cure for Scrofula—Burial of a Living Cock for Epilepsy—Legends of Isle
Raasay—Of Wild Deer—Of buying a Gale—Witchcraft--Drawing the Tether—A
Milk Charm from the Isle of Uist—Ancient and Modern Witches—The Evil
Eye—Making Images to injure a Neighbour—Cats—Belief in Transmigration —The
Luck of leaving a House unswept—lll-Luck of succeeding an Ejected Tenant.
The Outer Hebrides - The Long Island—Start for Harris—St Clement's
Cathedral —Tarbert Handmills - The Thamis - Fincastle - Stornoway— Loch
Maddy Market—North Uist—Machars—Shell-fish and Lobsters—Fords -
Driftwood—Cornish Blessings - Benbecula -South Uist - Dismal Homes—Wild
Fowl—Barra—Kisimul Castle—Eriskay—WreckeraSouth Bernera Lighthouse—Mingalay.
St. Kilda - The Sea-Fowl's Kingdom—Precious Fulmar— Population— Means of
Living—Accounts by Martin, Kenneth Macaulay, and Dr. Macculloch —Infant
Mortality—Mysterious Colds—" No English "—A Life of Exile - High Morality—
Primitive Customs - Traces of Heathen Worship—Rvages of Small-pox—Lack of
XII Legends and Folk-Lore -
Tidal Current off Vaternish—Scotch Bagpipes—Associations—Dunvegan
Castle—Legend of Somerled—MacLeods and MacDonalds—Ancestral Relics—Fate of
Lady Grange—Summer Nights—Seals—Cormorants —Star-Fish--Fish accounted fit
for Food—Eels—Turbot--Of Scaleless Fish—Forbidden Meats—Drawing the
Geese—Families who claim Descent from Seal-Maidens or Mermen—Corn-crakes.
on the Waters - Grey Rain—Portree Harbour—Becalmed—Whistling for a
Wind—Oil on the Waters—St. Kilda Puddings—Shetland Cods' Livers—Oily Fish—
Fishermen of many Lands —Wrecks averted by use of Oil— Mr. Shields at
Peterhead—Application of Oil to Life-buoys—Wreck Register.
XIV Farewell to the Isles -
Three Weeks alone in the Rock Wilderness—A Family of "Haavelings"
—Yachtsmen—Sligachan Inn—The Ouchullins—Divers Tourists— Loch Corruisk—A
Good Day's Deer Stalking—Old Boar Hunt—A Whale Ashore—"Blocs Perchis"—Giant Fossils on Isle of Eigg
- Legends of Clan Fights—The Grave of a
Viking's Daughter—Old Churchyards of Snizort, Nigg, &c.—Of Funeral
Feasts—The Skye Railway foreseen by Local Seers—Drive vid Balniacarra and
Loch Aish to Shiel - House Inn—Eileen Donan
Castle—Glen Quoich—Fort Augustus—Castle Urquhart.
Summer in the Hebrides Frances Murray's Sketches in Colonsay and
The Hebrid Isles
Wanderings in the Land of Lorne and the Outer Hebrides by Robert
See also by the same author...
The Land of Lone
Or A Poet's Adventures in the Scottish Hebrides including the Cruise of
the Tern to the Outer Hebrides by Robert Buchanan (1871)
A Voyage to the
Or Western Isles of Scotland with Observations on the Manners and
Customs of the Highlanders by L.A. Necker de Saussure (1822)
Islands of Stone - Stephanie Blankshein - ARP
Excavation of a Neolithic crannog in the Outer Hebrides has revealed a
complex and captivating site, answering some questions and exposing many
more regarding the construction of use of these enigmatic islet sites.
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