Of fairies
and castles.


Bridget:
“There were a lot of castles in Scotland”

Finn: “Wike Disweywand?”
Bridget: “Yes…kind of like Disneyland.”
Finn: “And Tinkewbew? Tinkewbew fwies over the castle.”

Bridget: “No..no Tinkerbell. But there was a fairy flag…and a faerie glen…”
Legend has it, that one of the ancient chiefs of Clan MacLeod (pronounced McCloud. Yes..like Highlander) married a fairy maiden from the other world. Before she had to go back to the fairies, she bore him a son and wrapped him in a silken blanket. She told the chief that the fabric was magical, and if waved before a war it would save him. The fairy flag has been waved throughout the centuries and now Clan MacLeod is the longest surviving clan living in its fortress…nearly 800 years.

Dunvegan Castle, home of Clan MacLeod.
Doesn’t it look like the one we got for Finn?

During world war II Dame Flora McLeod, the 28th chief, (yes, a woman) offered to wave the flag over the cliffs of Dover if the Germans came to England. She cut off little pieces of the flag to give to soldiers going to war. Sigh…

We went to Dunvegan Castle, the home of the MacLeods and saw the Fairy flag, encased in glass. The experience was so absolutely surreal. The castle itself is a bit run down from centuries of wear, but you can tell the clan is working hard to restore it. (the 29th chief almost controversially sold the Black Cuillin Mountains to try to make money for the castle. When I read stuff like that I’m like, what? People own mountains? Yes.) The gardens are charming, the relics and paintings from medieval times fascinating, and the landscape of the property, perched on the same loch Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped dressed as a maiden, is beautiful.

The walled garden at Dunvegan Castle. (the secret garden!)

When you enter the castle, you are led by little white haired ladies with thick Scottish brogues and tartan skirts. The keepers of the Fairy Flag. They seemed to be hidden in the tapestries, they would appear so suddenly to answer questions. For example, I’d say, “I wonder if this is a picture of Flora MacLeod,” and out of nowhere a little old lady would appear suddenly and say, “No! This is no the 28th chief. She is in the Fairy rrroom if you’ll kindly come this away…”

Dan, Sarah, and Beau viewing the Fairy Flag.

One of the ladies led us down into the depths of the castle to view a video no doubt made in the seventies. We watched a bit about the fairy flag and were quoting it for the rest of our trip:

Of three things we are certain….

ONE. It has mystical powers.
TWO. It comes from the east. The holy land.
THREE. It wins battles.

So pretty much they don’t know much about it! Ha! Some people think it could have come from the crusaders but it is dated from before that time, about a thousand years old. Some think it could have come from from a viking who had plundered in the east. But I think it really did come from the fairies. Why not?

Faerie Glen is not too far away…. This place is otherworldly. It’s a glen surrounded by waterfalls and pools and perfectly conical shaped hills. Little sheep graze, mists swirl, and bunnies hop through the little tufts and rolls of the pasture. We were the only ones there save for a shephard who Dan named “Glen” …he said his wings were under his coat…get it? Fairy Glen? He he! I made a little stone circle to go with all the other little stone symbols others had made while there. Sarah and Dan got all kissy and swoony over the beauty. And Beau just stood around looking ruggedly handsome and pretending he was in Hyrule.

Sarah weeping, “I love Scotland!”

Now maybe this is a “had to be there” kinda thing…but I totally bit the dust and fell down the grassy slope and into the area where there were stone circles full of grass the sheep wouldn’t eat. (I know, right?!) Anyway..afterward Dan said “Oh no…you got a hole in your pants.” And I said, “No..that was already there. But wait a minute…weird. I thought it was on the other knee!” So the rest of the day we joked that I switched sides in Faerie Glen. Then later Beau and I were listening to the Travis (a band from Glasgow) song Writing to Reach You with the lyrics “My right side’s on the left side” and I was all like…woah. NO WAY. They’ve been to Faerie Glen.

2 thoughts on “

  1. dizzy with delight. did the video remind you of the dharma initiative? perfection. brogue. travis. ahhhhh.

  2. It was a little like that! So funny…we cut out of the video early and one of the little ladies came in and pressed stop on the VCR. So oldskoool.

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