Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

Picture by The Library of Congress

The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking Basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It is located in County Antrim on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland.

The legend:
Finn McCool an Irish Giant lived on an Antrim headland and one day when going about his daily business a Scottish Giant named Fingal began to shout insults and hurl abuse from across the channel. In anger Finn lifted a clod of earth and threw it at the giant as a challenge, the earth landed in the sea.
Fingal retaliated with a rock thrown back at Finn and shouted that Finn was lucky that he wasn’t a strong swimmer or he would have made sure he could never fight again. Finn was enraged and began lifting huge clumps of earth from the shore, throwing them so as to make a pathway so he could face the Scottish giant and prove to him who the stronger fighter was.

However by the time he finished making the crossing he had not slept for a week and decided to rest for a while to refresh himself. Fingal however was impatient and decided to cross over himself and start the fight. Finn’s wife noticed him approaching and devised a cunning plan to fool him. She covered Finn up with a baby’s blanket and disguised his resting spot as a cot. When Fingal had crossed over and came to face his adversary, she told the giant that Finn was away but showed him his son sleeping in the cradle. The Scottish giant became apprehensive, for if the son was so huge, what size would the father be?

In his haste to escape Fingal sped back along the causeway Finn had built, tearing it up as he went. He is said to have fled to a cave on Staffa which is to this day named ‘Fingal’s Cave’.

Story researched and contributed by: Chitra Roy
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Fingal's Cave Photo by Marco Franchino


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Smoo Cave is a large combined sea cave and freshwater cave in Durness, Scotland.

Photo by 1969lucy @flickr

Fable:  Lord Reay of Scotland had encountered the Devil many times, but had always got the better of him, until one day when the Devil, in an attempt to snatch his soul, stole his shadow. For weeks, Lord Reay searched for his shadow in various caves he knew the Devil frequented. He was careful not to enter the caves after the sun had set, as in the darkness, he would be powerless against the Devil. Eventually, he approached Smoo Cave. It was just before dawn, so he thought he would be safe. Lord Reay was exploring the inner cavern, when his dog ran into the second cavern, but immediately returned, howling and hairless.

Lord Reay instantly realized that the Devil had him cornered in the cavern, and lay waiting for him so as to claim his soul. He knew he wouldn’t be able to outrun the Devil in the darkness off the cavern. He took a moment to compose himself and accept his fate, and had only just stepped into the opening of the second cavern, when the first rays of sunlight filtered in, and a rooster crowed, heralding a new dawn. The Devil and the three witches with him knew they would be weakened by the daylight and blasted through the roof in an effort to escape. The fury of the devil melted the snow that lay above the roof, causing water to pour down into the cave. To this day, the waterfall remains in Smoo Cave.

Fact:  The name ‘Smoo’ comes from the Norse word ‘Sumvya’, meaning creek or cleft. The cave is quite unique, as it has three distinct sections that developed independently of each other. The 20 meter high waterfall is formed by an abrupt drop in the Allt Smoo River, through what is essentially a sink hole in the roof of the cave.

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