The Tailor-Made Top 11 Places in Scotland to Find Fairies



The ancient, mystical lands of Scotland have raised many legends and stories of magic and monsters. The landscape and the people themselves seem to encourage and foster these fascinating tales. One creature that seems to transcend every area of Scotland are the fairy folk. Often known as the Still Folk, the Wee Folk, or, in Gaellic, the Sìthe, fairies have captured the imagination, with fables and anecdotes being captured in the writings of such Scottish literary luminaries as Walter Scott, J. M. Barrie and Robert Burns.


But where can you find these enchanting, supernatural and sometimes mischievous spirits? Well, we can’t guarantee you any sightings, but we can certainly point you in the direction of some sites historically associated with the fairy folk, as well as some more contemporary locations that are fun to visit.



Don’t forget that at Tailor-Made Itineraries we delight in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting any of these fairy-inspired locations appeals to you, reach out to us by email. We would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the fairies of Scotland, or indeed, a general tour of this mystical land.



11. Fairy Flag (Dunvegan Castle)


Dunvegan Castle is the seat of the MacLeod of MacLeod, chief of the Clan MacLeod and can be found on the Isle of Skye. It is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the stronghold of the chiefs of the clan for more than 800 years.


The Fairy Flag, which resides in Dunvegan Castle, is treasured by the MacLeod clan, and has been used as a talisman during many of their battles. The legend behind the flag tells of how one of the chiefs of Clan MacLeod married a fairy; however, after twenty years she was forced to leave him and return to fairyland, but gave him the flag, promising that if it was waved in times of danger and distress, help would be given on three occasions. The flag has been successfully used in battle twice already – wonder if it will ever have to be used again?


Tailor-Made Top Tip: On the way to Dunvegan, make sure to stop at the Giant Angus MacAskill Museum and find out about Scotland’s very own real-life giant – indeed, Angus MacAskill is actually the world’s tallest-ever true giant (non-pathalogical)!



10. Fairy Bridge, Stein


It was at the Fairy Bridge, just off the road to Stein (a ten-minute drive from Dunvegan Castle, just after you leave the A850 road), where the legend of the MacLeod’s Fairy Flag states that the fairy bade farewell to the clan chief. Pull over and check out this well preserved bygone bridge.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: Carry on to Stein and enjoy a meal or drink at the Stein Inn. Skye’s oldest inn dates back to 1790.




9. Fairy Houses of Chapelton


The Chapelton Trail is a 4.5km walk taking in ancient roads, a magical forest and a babbling burn. The highlight though is the enchanted fairy village near Elsick House. Check out the fairy houses to see if there is anybody in!


Tailor-Made Top Tip: Enjoy a coffee and something tempting at Teacake, the café on Hume Square in Chapelton.


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8. Fairy Trail at The Loft


As well as having excellent glamping ‘wigwams’, The Loft, near Forres, has also created a little Fairy Trail. We recently stayed at their excellent facilities and enjoyed their little magical walk. You can make a wish in The Wishing Tree, create spells at The Witches Cauldron, and play in The Giants Play Ground!


Tailor-Made Top Tip: Collect a map and activity sheet at Reception (£1.50 per sheet) and go and explore.


Read on to find out which fairy location tops the list.



7. Puck's Glen, Dunoon


An other-worldly trail winds along a Victorian walkway up the dramatic rocky gorge that is said to be home to mischievous spirits. Pass several waterfalls beneath the towering Douglas firs, while keeping an eye open for the elusive Puck!


Tailor-Made Top Tip: The trail includes firm but uneven gravel paths, several steep slopes and long flights of rough steps. The trail is 1 ¾ miles / 2.8 km long, and you should allow 1 hour to walk it.



6. Bennachie


Bennachie is one of northeast Scotland's most recognisable landmarks. From its highest summit of Oxen Craig at 528 metres to Millstone Hill and its most popular peak, Mither Tap, history abounds in this ancient landscape.


It is said that two young ploughmen came upon a group of Fairies dancing and singing on the slopes of Bennachie. Entranced at the sight, one of the young lads became transfixed and simply could not tear himself away. His companion however quickly left the scene assuming that his friend would follow on later. However, the transfixed ploughman failed to appear and was not seen again for an entire year and a day. It seems the enchanted ploughman had been stood on the same spot all that time!


Tailor-Made Top Tip: While hiking up to the Mither Tap, look out, not only for the prehistoric hill fort walls that surround the summit, but also for Jock o’ Bennachie, the reputed giant that stalks the hill!




5. Fairy Houses at Glassel Stone Circle


The ancient Glassel Stone Circle is an oval setting of five granite pillars, which were erected around 4,000 years ago, just outside of the modern-day village of Banchory. The stones are relatively short compared to other stone circles, with the tallest being a fraction under a meter in height. So, it is perhaps not surprising that other small structures can be found in the trees around the circle. How appropriate that there are fairy houses in such a mysterious location!


Tailor-Made Top Tip: If Glassel Stone Circle catches your imagination, then discover some of Aberdeenshire’s other stone circles in one of our previous travel blog posts.


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4. Fairy Pools, Glen Brittle


The Fairy Pools are a natural waterfall phenomenon in Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye. It seems that there are no particular fairy stories attached to the waterfalls, but the vivid blues and greens of the pools certainly suggest an unnatural origin. It may turn out that fairies don’t actually frequent the pools, but there are stories of selkies being attracted to the area. These mythological creatures, disguised as large seals during the day, would come to the beach at the foot of Glen Brittle where they would shed their skins and change into human form for the night, to bathe in the pools under the light of a full moon!


Tailor-Made Top Tip: The walk to the pools uses the same route there and back. The complete return distance to the first main waterfall and pool is 2.4km, with the average time to complete the walk being 40 minutes (with no stops). Most people will spend some time working their way up the river from the first waterfall exploring the different pools.



3. Schiehallion (Fairy Hill of the Caledonians)


Schiehallion is a 3,553-foot high mountain in Perth & Kinross which is one of the easiest Munros to climb in Scotland. It is said that Schiehallion used to be a favourite resort of the fairy folks, especially once a year, when all the various fairy tribes throughout Glenlyon, Rannoch, Strathtummel, etc. would congregate here. Their annual meeting would be presided over by the beautiful Queen Mab, who would be gorgeously arrayed in her favourite green silk robes, with her abundant crop of beautiful golden-yellow hair waving in long ringlets over her shoulder down to her waist. Maybe it was the wrong time of year, since we seem to have missed the party when we visited the mountain, however, there are a long series of mysterious caves, extending from one side of the mountain to the other, so perhaps the reunion was being held underground?


Tailor-Made Top Tip: The wide and rough footpath offers visitors superb views of the surrounding countryside on a hike to the summit that should take 3-4 hours in total. It takes the form of a broad ridge, with the famous conical appearance only apparent from across Loch Rannoch.


Have you guessed yet which fairy location tops the list?


Schiehallion

2. Fairy Houses of Latheronwheel


Latheronwheel harbour was built about 1840, which was at the height of the herring boom, and was even used as a filming location for the 1947 film “The Silver Darlings” (which is the nickname for herring). But the hidden attraction of the village is Fairy Glen which stretches along the Burn of Latheron. Lovingly kept by local volunteers, the attention to detail of these fairy houses is off the scale. Not only that, there are so many houses integrated in the trees, stumps and rocks of this forest. So much so that it is more of a fairy city than a village!


Tailor-Made Top Tip: On the road down to the harbour from the village, there is a tight bend in the road, where you will see a sign for the Latheronwheel Strath Path. Take this path and a few minutes into the walk, you will find the adorable fairy village.



1. Fairy Glen, Uig


It seems that the story of the Fairy Flag has been highly influential, since there is one other location on the Isle of Skye associated with the Wee Folk. Castle Ewen, also known as the Fairy Castle, in the Fairy Glen, sits above a fantastic wonderland of lumps and bumps and crazy pinnacles. Though it looks like a fortified tower, Castle Ewen is a natural rock formation. Geologists have one view about this up thrust of rock, but everyone around Uig swears it was created by fairies. Whomever you believe, the undulating glen is certainly an enchanting place and has an energy of its own. Let us know if you felt it too!


Tailor-Made Top Tip: Park near, or just beyond a small lochan (on the right) and explore this amazing landscape.


Fairy Glen, Uig
Fairy Glen, Uig

Conclusion


There is a certain romantic and beguiling quality to Scotland’s countryside, which you can’t quite pin down. Just spending a little time here allows you to easily understand how stories of the Wee Folk could have been spun by the superstitious country folk. Whatever the merits of these stories, these locations are always a joy to visit and explore. And maybe, just maybe, if you catch sight of something out of the corner of you eye, you may be lucky enough to spot these diminutive inhabitants of our magical country!


Comment below and let us know what is your favourite location associated with fairies.


Don’t forget that at Tailor-Made Itineraries we delight in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting any of these fairy-inspired locations appeals to you, reach out to us by email. We would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the fairies of Scotland, or indeed, a general tour of this mystical land.


Join us next time on our family adventures when we visit locations from the second series of Outlander. We post every two weeks and you can subscribe to our latest blog and newsletter here. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.


Barry


Contact Us: tailoritineraries@gmail.com


Tailor-Made Itineraries creates one-of-a-kind bespoke self-guided travel itineraries for adventurous and curious travelers.


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