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Credit: © Louise Boulanger
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Supernatural Wester Ross


You can learn a lot about the society and culture of a community by hearing the myths and legends that have sprung up over the centuries. The northwestern seaboard of Wester Ross, from Applecross to Torridon, provides great stories as well as inspiring scenery.

On your journey, be responsible and respectful of local communities and wildlife and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.


This trail has been curated by the ‘The Coast that Shaped the World’ project. COAST worked with locals to gather stories celebrating the people, heritage and environment of the west coast and islands of Scotland: stories deeply rooted in place and community. The COAST website and app gathers almost 400 of these stories. Each story is geotagged so you can discover the stories when out and about and immerse yourself in the places where they occurred.

Applecross Visitor Centre - Clachan Church, Ross-shire
Image provided by © Louise Boulanger

Applecross Visitor Centre & Clachan Church

Start at the Applecross Heritage Centre to learn about the history and culture of the Applecross Peninsula, from the first settlers through to the present day. The heritage centre overlooks a church and graveyard that was the site of the original monastery established in 673 AD by St Maelrubha. According to one local legend the body of an early abbot brought back here for burial floated ashore on the large stone slab known as ‘The Abbots Stone’ just inside the churchyard gate.

Allt nan Corp

‘Allt nan Corp’, near the village of Culduie to the south of Applecross, translates as ‘the stream of the bodies.’ One theory behind the name is that the site was used to create ‘corp creadha’, clay effigies that could be used to inflict harm on an enemy. The full story is here.

Allt Nan Corp, Ross-shire
Image provided by © Louise Boulanger
Bruthaich a’ bhodaich bhig, Ross-shire
Image provided by © Louise Boulanger

Bruthaich a’ bhodaich bhig

According to local legend ‘Bruthaich a’ bhodaich bhig’, the slope of the little old man, south of Culduie, is named for the ‘bodach beag.’ This supernatural creature lived under a nearby bridge and, though harmless in itself, was a harbringer of doom. The full story is here.


Shieldaig was built in 1810 as a training village to raise soldiers to fight in the Napoleonic Wars, although the conflict ended before they could be deployed. An article from the newspaper Caledonian Mercury in 1851 describes how a group of women, alerted by a group of raucous seagulls, found a mermaid sitting on the rocks nearby. The full story is here.

Shieldaig, Ross-shire
Image provided by © Louise Boulanger
Annat Old Cemetery, Ross-shire
Image provided by © Louise Boulanger

Annat old cemetery

The ‘Annat skull’ is supposed to emerged from the ground near the cemetery and was used to perform supernatural rites. The full story is here.  

Uamh an Oir

According to legend ‘Uamh an Oir’ (The Cave of Gold) led to a fifteen-mile series of underground passageways containing gold. A party of 13, including a bagpiper, set out to retrieve the gold. The last that was ever heard of them was a lament set to pipe music coming from underground partway along the route, mourning the fact that they would never return home. The dog reached the other end but emerged with no hair on its body. 

Uamh an Oir, Ross-shire
Image provided by © Louise Boulanger


The Brahan Seer is a mysterious historical figure from the 16th or 17th centuries who made a series of predictions, which many believe have come true in the centuries since. One of these relates to the village of Torridon- read the full story here- and beware any women wearing a red dress! 

Beinn Ailligin

This is the recommended car park for those planning to climb Beinn Alligin. The mountain is one of five Munros on the Scottish National Trust Nature Reserve. It features a cleft ‘Eag Dubh na h-Eigheachd’ (the deep gash of the wailing), also known as ‘The Black Notch.’ According to legend the sound of crying would come from the cleft, only stopping when somebody investigating the noise fell to their deaths. If you are still feeling brave enough to attempt the climb then read this guide to Munro climbing from the National Trust for Scotland which outlines the necessary precautions.

Beinn Ailligin, Ross-shire
Image provided by © Louise Boulanger

Our many thanks extend to COAST for putting together this self-guided itinerary. To explore more of the fascinating stories which have shaped the coastal communities of the West Coast, please visit their website.

Keep up to date with COAST on social media:

Facebook: @coastscot | Twitter: @CoastScot | Instagram: @coastscot

To discover more information on the local area, including the sites mentioned here, make sure to plan your visit with Visit Wester Ross.

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