Tuesday, 17 July 2012
An Sithean, Isle of Skye
I apologise for the very long delay in putting any new blog entries up, I haven't stopped my adventuring, I just found a new job so the adventuring has been a little less often and nearer to home lately. I did however make it across to the Scottish West coast in April to celebrate my 30th Birthday, and visited many fairy sites over that lovely sunny week, so i'll try and update my blog with those photos over the coming weeks and maybe we can try and convince the sun to come back out again :)
I'll begin with a lovely green grassy knoll on Skye known as Aant Sithe or An Sithean. According to Swine's "Skye: The Island and it's Legends' (1961): "This, as it's name implies, is a fairy place. On clear moonlight nights the fairies can be seen dancing on the grass that surrounds the central stone and anyone approaching quietly and with a receptive mind may hear the wonderful strains of fairy music issuing from the ground. What the mound was before it was a fairy dwelling is something of a mystery. In the centre of the summit stands a large stone, perhaps once a 'standing-stone' but not closely resembling a broken tooth. Round it is a ring of grass, and then a ring of stone much overgrown."
There are a great many magical places on Skye, but there are few more magical and mysterious than here. The scattering of grey rocks and boulders appear random, but have the definite feeling of a purpose about them, though long forgotten apart from on the OS map where it is marked as a 'chambered cairn'. I listened very carefully and peeked beneath the rocks but unfortunately didn't manage to catch a glimpse of fae, or hear any whispered notes of fairy songs. As I left a hooded crow took perch upon the central stone, a fitting guardian indeed for such a magical place.
An Sithean is easy to find, sitting just off the B8083 heading out from Broadford. The chambered cairn remains sit at the base of the hill marked on the OS map as 'An Sidhean', with the top of the hill being set much further back from the road. However from Swine's description it seems that the rocky part with the standing stone was once thought to be the fairy hill itself, so i'm not entirely sure which part the fairies are said to live in. The photos above cover the cairn hill itself and the surrounding stones and area.
Sources and Further Information
Skye: The Island and it's Legends, Swine (1961)
The Modern Antiquarian, An Sithean