Sunday, 19 April 2015

Fairy Wishing Well, Isle of Mull

On the road to Loch Buie near Ardura stands a curious little well, surrounded by a low stone wall. According to 'The Inner Hebrides' by Swire (1964) this is "Mull's wishing well, lined with pennies and other gifts to the Little People. A very modern wishing well indeed it has become with a concrete parapet". Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any further information about this well, but i'm hoping a reader out there may be able to shed more light on the history of the well.
On the streetmap.co.uk maps the well is named as "Tobar nan Ceann", I believe this is Gaelic for 'the Well of the Heads'. I haven't managed to find an explanation for the name  but according to 'The Isle of Mull placenames, meaning and stories' by Charles Maclean there is another well on Mull with the same name near Loch Na Keal (NM553383) and the well was given the name in 1586 when Maclean of Inverscardale and his men attacked a party of MacDonalds before the battle of Leac-li and were defeated. The victors washed the heads of the dead in the well. So perhaps there is a similar tale attached to this well too.
The well can be found opposite a stone seat dedicated to Margaret Elliot in 1924, but on the opposite side of the road (NM683300). The well can be seen here on google maps, or hopefully on the Google maps viewer below if it works, just click and drag on the image to explore. It's my first time trying it out so please let me know if you have any problems viewing it. If it's successful I'll try to include the viewer on future blogs too!


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Sources & Further Information
The Inner Hebrides, Swire
The Isle of Mull placenames, meaning and stories, Maclean

2 comments:

Jane De Jong said...


What a fascinating place!! I was in Mull four years ago...wish I would have known about this then!! Just wanted to mention when I click on google maps to view your picture, the area around the bench and the well seem to have a circle around them and are too fuzzy to see what they are. You can see the top of the bench and the very top of the well, but that is all. It's almost like the Little People (they don't like to be called the F word) don't want us to see this!! Thanks for posting!! :)

The Faery Folklorist said...

Hiya Jane, Mull is such a beautiful place isn't it! I see what you mean about the fuzzy area, try moving forward or back a bit on the road and you should be able to see it clearly then, I think google blurs out the area around the van that films the views, or indeed the little people are up to something :D