Standing Stone: OS Grid Reference – NO 10865 70201
Also Known as:
Take to A93 road, north, between Blairgowrie and Braemar, keeping your eyes peeled many miles on, to turn left along the minor road as you approach the tiny Spittal of Glenshee hamlet. Just as you go over the ancient bridge, park up on your left, below the church. Walk round the back of the church and you’ll see a large tree-covered mound. Walk onto its top.
Archaeology & History
This quiet, almost hidden, six-foot tall standing stone on what initially seems to be a large fairy mound or tumulus at the back of the rude church, has been occluded from general view (in my opinion, deliberately) by the construction of the more debased christian edifice right in front of it. But it detracts not from its gentle majesty once you reach its ancient body, atop of the old hill.
The stone is one in a cluster of prehistoric sites in and around this Glen of the Fairy Folk (as its name tells), where the rivers Shee and Beag converge. If the church didn’t obstruct the view, some of the other sites would have been visible from here.
Folklore tells that when the christians came into the Glen to build a church—initially a half-mile or so to the east—the little people were much annoyed at the actions of the incomers, as it intruded on one of their sacred rings of stone close by. By night they came out, and every stone that had been laid by the christians in the day was removed. Each day the insensitive christians came and built their church without asking, and each night the little people removed it. Eventually an agreement was made, and the fairies let them build the church next to this standing stone. So goes the tale….
A veritable cluster of stories about Fingal, Ossian, Dermid and Grianne scatter this area, with many of them relating to ancient sites, but I’ve not found one directly relating to this stone.
- Miller, T.D., Tales of a Highland Parish, Munro Press: Perth 1929.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian