Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
Just for fun, I thought I'd post about a different monster that haunts the depths of Loch Ness. While most of us immediately think of the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie as she is affectionately known the world over, when asked to recount the legends of the loch, there is another told that is perhaps less well known:
The Tale of the Water Kelpie's Wife.
A water kelpie is a dangerous, shape-shifting spirit thought to inhabit the rivers and streams of Scotland. Taking on the shape of a beautiful horse, it lures anyone incautious enough to try to ride it to their death. One in particular is said to have been banished from the River Ness by St. Columba, and became associated with the loch. This kelpie is the river horse of our story.
The water kelpie's wife hated living in the dank, dark, dismal depths of Loch Ness.. In an attempt to devise a plan to ease her plight, her husband went to the surface and took the form of a beautiful black stallion with a long, flowing mane and tail. A stone mason saw the stallion and, unable to resist, leapt onto its back, and found himself stuck fast. With a crack like thunder, the horse dove to the bottom of the loch, taking the stone mason with him. There, the water kelpie struck a deal with the terrified man. The stone mason agreed to build a fireplace and chimney that reached to the surface of the loch in exchange for fish for the rest of his life. To this day a patch of water on Loch Ness never freezes- it's where the chimney comes out.
I am fascinated with the history of Scotland, and, in particular, the ancient castles whose origins reach far back into time. On the banks of Loch Ness rests the impressive ruins of Urquart Castle.. Built over 1400 years ago, records tell us St. Columba visited in an elderly Pictish nobleman at Urquart in 580 AD, baptizing the nobleman on his deathbed. But
Urquart did not fare so well in the years to come. In 1296, it was seized by the English King Edward I, known as the Hammer of the Scots. In the following years, until 1332, Urquart was pulled back and forth between Scottish and English control. In the troubling days after King Robert Bruce's death, Urquart Castle remained the only Highland castle to hold out against the English.
After the English threat subsided, The MacDonalds invaded Urquart and the Great Glen many times. Their last, and most devastating raid was in 1545.
In 1644, a Covenator force captured the castle. The Covenators were those in Scotland who signed the National Covenant, confirming their opposition to the interference by the Stuart kings in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
To prevent the castle from falling into the hands of Jacobites, supporters of King James (Stuart), soldiers loyal to William of Orange and Mary (King James' daughter) blew the castle up.
The castle was never repaired and deteriorated further as its stones were used in other buildings. It was given to the National Trust for Scotland in 2003 and remains a tourist site today.
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