Tales & Trails: Legendary Stories of Scotlands Great Glen

Tales & Trails: Legendary Stories of Scotlands Great Glen

The Enchanted River of Sligachan

The rental car sailed over a hill, and around the corner – there it was! Sligachan Hotel, no wonder I didn’t remember the name (I’m terrible with names). We waited for a spot, as many tourists wanted to partake in the photo op atop the picturesque bridge.

Long ago, in a town not so far away, lived a great warrior woman of Scotland. Her name was Scáthach. Tales of her bravery and strength spread across the Northern Isles and lands. The Irish warrior, Cúchulainn, knew he had to put an end to these rumors of Scáthach being able to beat him in battle. So he set sail immediately, arriving on Skye where he ran into one of Scáthach’s trainees and demanded that her mistress should come and face him.

The crowds gathered as Scáthach emerged, the fire of pride shown in both of their eyes. Everyone held their breath as these two warriors charged each other and when they struck their first blows, the earth shook the petals off of all the flowers in the surrounding valley. The ferociousness increased, and it was to be a fight to the death.

A Daughter’s Tearful Plea

Scáthach’s daughter ran, crying with worry and not wanting anyone to see that her weakness was the love for her mother. She fled to the river, she couldn’t bear to see her mother die and pled to the angels and fairies to save her. What she didn’t know, is that water is a gateway between the faerie world and ours. Her sorrow was so intense, combined with the battle not far away reached the ears of the faeries.

They came to Scáthach’s daughter, gently collecting her tears and poured them into the water as an offering to the Faerie Queen. Her tears, being full of love, moved the faeries and granted her wish. They asked her to wash her face in the river, and the faerie’s knowledge rushed into her of how she could stop the battle and save her Mother.

The Duel Turned Feast

Gathering the most fragrant herbs and nuts, the loving daughter threw her bounty into the fire. The delectable scents rose with the white smoke, caught by the wind, the scents wafted into the noses of the warriors. The ferociousness of the battle began to dwindle, as the stomach pangs of both the warriors won over their determination. At a brief pause in weapons clashing, a break in the battle was agreed upon and both warriors laid down their weapons to head to where the delicious meal surely awaited them both.

As Cúchulainn ate, awareness dawned on both of the warriors they were in fact under the roof of Scáthach’s. As was the custom in all the northern lands, when you dine under a roof – you are the guest and are compelled to do not harm to the guest, the host or anyone within.

The Gift of Eternal Beauty

It is said that because of the beauty of Scáthach’s daughter, and her tears of love being poured into the river, any who are brave enough to dip their face into the waters beneath Sligachan Bridge, you will be granted eternal beauty. To do this the right way, you must give yourself over wholly to the process.

You must believe that there is magic in Scotland and approach the river full of love for yourself and those who you travel with. The way to the water requires a bit of skill, as you must climb over rocks and crags being careful not to slip and taint the waters with blood and pain. Once you reach the waters, it isn’t just a matter of ‘washing your face’, you cannot use your hands. You must get on your hands and knees, just as Scáthach’s daughter did when she begged for her mother to be saved.

Think of someone other than yourself and pour love into your heart for them. Make sure that your heart is full of love, as you dip your face into the waters beneath Sligachan Bridge and hold it there for seven seconds. Every gift has a sacrifice, and the faeries need to know that you are committed in love and earnestness. After the seven seconds, remove your face with your eyes closed. Do not wipe away the water, but let it dry naturally. Say a quick thanks to the faeries for their kindness and reminding you of what is truly important in life. If your heart is sincere, you may just be granted eternal beauty.

Now the question remains, what is eternal beauty to you? Is it the radiant glow of self-confidence? The sparkle in your eyes when you’re truly happy? Or perhaps it’s the ability to see the beauty in every person and situation, no matter how challenging. Whatever it may be, the enchanted waters of Sligachan stand ready to bestow their gift, if you approach them with an open heart and a profound appreciation for the magic that permeates this remarkable corner of Scotland.

So the next time you find yourself in the Scottish Highlands, be sure to pay a visit to Sligachan Bridge. Gaze into the rushing waters, and let your spirit be moved by the timeless tales that echo through this enchanted glen. Who knows, you might just return home with a touch of that elusive, eternal beauty.

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