We don’t know for certain the precise whereabouts of this long lost healing well, but it would seem to be the one highlighted here (right) on the 1855 OS-map. However, I think it equally possible that the small unnamed building, roughly halfway between the highlighted ‘Well’ and Spring Cottage, where the walling meets, could be the site in question. It’s one or the other!
When Thomas Blashill (1896) wrote of the Blind Well in his standard history work of the area, memory of it was already falling away. In discussing where local people could wash and look after their health, he told that
“There was one place in the parish where washing seems to have been practised as a curative measure. Down in the East Field, near to Spring Cottage Farm, was the Blindwell, to which the people had access. If they used its waters freely when suffering from sore eyes, their faith would probably be rewarded.”
Up the A9 past Blair Atholl, a few miles later there’s the turning for Struan. Scarcely a mile east of old Struan Church, head past the old farmhouse of Old Kindrochat and keep going eastwards along the edge of the trees for about 200 yards until you reach the sheepfold. There you’ll see a singular rock sitting alone by the fence. That’s it!
Archaeology & History
This little known healing stone was, at one time last century, of great repute in the Highlands. Today, very few people even know it exists. One of many rocks that were said to possess healing abilities, this one (obviously) was of great repute in the curing of whooping cough. But it wasn’t the rock alone that did the work here, for upon its edge was a small basin into which rainwater collected and this, when used correctly and in due accord with ancient ritual tradition, could enact the cure. Mr Duncan Fraser said of this fascinating healing stone:
“The grey water-worn stone is about 4ft 6in long, 2ft 6in broad and 2ft high, with a deep gash on top, where the water lingers even in long dry spells. When full it holds about half-a-gallon. People were still coming here with their sick children as late as 1860 — and bringing a spoon made from the horn of a living cow. There was no cure without that.”
The ritual “spoon made from the horn of a living cow” was an important ingredient at another site with the reputation for curing whooping cough about 50 miles south of here, near Balquhidder. (see Whooping Cough Well, Killin) What truly fascinates me is the origin of this stone and its medicinal virtues. When did the healing rites first start here – how long ago…?
Fraser, Duncan, Highland Perthshire, Standard Press: Montrose 1969.