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Stories of Scotland is an award-winning Scottish history podcast. Join hosts Jenny and Annie as they unravel the rich tapestry of Scotland’s culture, nature and heritage. Prepared to climb into caves, cairns and chaos, Jenny and Annie travel around Scotland and investigate how stories of the past can help us make sense of modern life. Stories of Scotland celebrates Scottish history through traditional storytelling, archival research, museum objects and wandering in nature. It is recorded in ...
 
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Jenny and Annie explore the far edge of the Outer Hebrides, St Kilda. We look at the wonders of climbing the stacks of St Kilda, and the seabirds that create a symphony. We see through the eyes of Evelyn Heathcote, as she spends the night in a sea cave with a group of Gaelic psalm-singing St Kildans. We examine the folklore and landscape of this un…
 
With the 140th Anniversary of the Battle of the Braes, Jenny and Annie set out to try to understand this crucial fight for land reform in Scotland. We look back to March 1882, when crofters of the Braes area of Skye tried to petition Lord MacDonald to let them have common grazing on the hill of Ben Lee. Lord MacDonald refuses this request, condemni…
 
In this episode, Annie and Jenny continue their exploration of the women found in the margins of the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal. It’s Edinburgh in the early 1900s, and a climbing expedition up the Salisbury Crags is derailed when the public notice that there are women climbing alongside the men. Determined, the women keep climbing, but ar…
 
Slightly frog-throated Annie and Jenny interview Highland author Jennifer Morag Henderson about her new book, Daughters of the North. Daughters of the North explores the life of Jean Gordon, from the Far North of Scotland who lived from 1546 to 1629. We learn of the Far North of Scotland during the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, the industries of Su…
 
Join Jenny and Annie as they climb uphill on the West Coast of Scotland to explore the beautiful Beinn Sgritheall. We look at legends of the Glenelg brochs, Dun Telve and Dun Troddan, which reveal ancient folklore of giants, feasting women, revenge, and a very bad hair day. We adventure up the beautiful Scottish rural mountain of Beinn Sgritheall, …
 
Jenny interviews marvellous author Sue Lawrence and we learn about the women, castle and ghost that inspired her new book, The Green Lady. Jenny and Sue discuss Fyvie Castle in the 16th century and question how early modern women could try to gain control of their own lives. Sue, who has written multiple Scottish cookbooks gives us a cheeky variati…
 
Are the Scottish Borders a rebel stronghold? Join Annie and Jenny as they examine the often-overlooked stories of the Border Reivers: the families of raiding, plundering, land-burning, outlaws. Jenny explores her ancestry roots in the Scottish Borders, to discover she comes from a family of bloodthirsty brigands. We look at Border clans, curses and…
 
Jenny and Annie learn about the geology of the Scottish Lowlands, and travel as a wee grain of sand through half a billion years of geologic movement, ending up within the River Tweed. In more recent history, we unravel Arthurian legends to explore the story of Merlin, the wizard of the wilds. A real cornucopia of Celtic mythologies and folklore. T…
 
Join Annie and Jenny as they get in the festive mood and journey back to the Yuletide crimes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The reformation resulted in the banning of many celebrations, including yuletide festivities. Those caught celebrating were brought before the Kirk Sessions, and this resulted in strangely detailed records of the …
 
Annie and Jenny share some lighthearted folklore on the theme of tartans and plaids! Tartan eels, ghosts and fairies: this is a jolly voyage into rich Scottish mythology. This episode is sponsored by Scotland Shop. If you are tempted to check out some of Scotland Shop’s beautiful tartan garments and fabrics, please follow this link to Scotland Shop…
 
Do you want to know the secrets of the bees? So do we! In this bonus episode, Jenny and Annie speak to author Diana Gabaldon known for her bestselling Outlander series of novels. We are celebrating the highly-anticipated release of Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone on November 23rd 2021. Diana discusses her interest and research into Scottish heritag…
 
In this bonus episode, Jenny and Annie speak to Scottish actor Graham McTavish. Graham has had an incredibly successful acting career and is well-known for many of his roles including Outlander, the Hobbit films, Castlevania, and the forthcoming Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. While working on Outlander, Graham became good friends wit…
 
In this episode, Annie and Jenny tell some truly terrifying tales from the Borders of Scotland. We’ve all heard something go bump in the night that’s made the hairs on our neck stand on end, and while sometimes it’s as innocent as an open window in the attic, other times it can be as dastardly as the devil. These spooky tales from the archives expl…
 
Join Annie and Jenny as they go back to the witch panics of Early Modern Scotland. We examine the witch trial of Elizabeth Bathgate from Eyemouth, and look at what witchcraft trials reveal about superstitions and paranoia of times past. This episode is sponsored by Scotland Shop. If you are tempted to check out some of Scotland Shop’s beautiful tar…
 
Join Annie and Jenny on a trip to the Cèilidh house, as they discuss the magic of this old tradition. We blether about some old cèilidh lore, exploring how cèilidhs keep communities connected. We look at how the cèilidh house sometimes develops its own lore of ghosts, magic and wonder. Stories of Scotland is an award-winning Scottish history podcas…
 
Content warning: Discussion of death and funerals. Join Annie and Jenny as they explore the curious Highland beliefs of the second sight. In this second part on the glorious mountain of Schiehallion, we learn about the time Robert the Bruce sought sanctuary at Schiehallion, a piper tempted by the fairy hill, and the superstitions of second sight in…
 
Annie and Jenny hike up Schiehallion, one of Scotland’s most famous peaks. This astounding mountain is home to world changing history. This episode includes an oral history with a squeaky rocking chair. Located in the heart of Scotland, Schiehallion was the site of an intricate experiment that weighed the world. It’s unique conical shape drew astro…
 
Jenny and Annie learn about the MacMhuirich bardic family and the significance of bards in the Gaelic dominium. This tremendously fun episode takes us back to Medieval Ireland, to look at the time when the seeds of the MacMhuirich dynasty were sown in Scotland. We recite some English translates of MacMhuirich poetry and look at the stories behind t…
 
Jenny and Annie continue looking at Highland clan culture, exploring the sluagh-ghairm. Sluagh-ghairm is Gaelic and translates to ‘battle cry’ but it has multi-layered meanings. Sluagh-ghairm is also where we get the English word ‘slogan’ used in advertising. A Highland clan would choose a sluagh-ghairm to showcase their bravery, values, or very of…
 
Annie and Jenny start to explore the relationship between Highland clans and land. We begin by discussing the Gaelic concept of Dùthchas, learning more about how clans divided up their territories. We then move to the legend of Diarmuid Ua Duibhne and Gràinne. We glance at the connection between Ireland and Scotland, and how legends shape our clan …
 
Annie and Jenny explore spunkie-haunted bogs, the natural phenomenon that has long been regarded in Scottish folklore as a forewarning symbol of danger. In the Highlands, we call them Spunkies, but you may know them as the Will o the Wisps! These are thought to be caused by the spontaneous ignition of gas that has been produced by rotting marsh veg…
 
Join Annie and Jenny on a Wild Prince Chase as they follow the path of Bonnie Prince Charlie after the Battle of Culloden. We meet the wonderful and romanticised Flora MacDonald, the young islander at the heart of a scheme to support Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape. We read from a letter from Charles Edward Stuart sent on 28th April 1646, and use ac…
 
Jenny and Annie consider the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden and the brutalities committed by the Duke of Cumberland and the British Government forces on the people of the Highlands after 1746. We look into the events recorded in The Lyon in mourning; Jacobite Memoirs by Robert Forbes. Trigger Warning: this episode contains discussion of murder…
 
In the first episode of a new series, Jenny and Annie have a look at the Battle of Culloden, and the background politics that lead up to it. One of the most mythologised conflicts of all time, we try to piece together why so many raised their weapons to fight for Bonnie Prince Charlie. Now managed by the National Trust, Culloden Battlefield is of h…
 
Young fisher Mairi will do anything to return the sealskin to her almost-beloved selkie. The only problem is a few terrifying monsters stand in the way. In this final episode of a three-part miniseries, Annie and Jenny of Stories of Scotland Podcast retell classic Scottish mythology with a queer twist. Join Mairi on her journey into love & lore. Fu…
 
On the advice of an old fisher, young fisher Mairi and her old terrier make a journey across the Pentland Firth from Orkney to Caithness. Their destination is the land of the fairies, inside Bruan Broch. But how can they enter the supernatural underworld? And will they escape? In this second episode of a three-part miniseries, Annie and Jenny of St…
 
An unnaturally strong storm rolls over Orkney on Spring Tide. In the morning a young fisher and her old terrier stumble across a washed-up seal, or is it a washed-up woman? Or could it be both? In this first episode of a three-part miniseries, Annie and Jenny of Stories of Scotland Podcast retell classic Scottish mythology with a queer twist. Join …
 
In this episode, Jenny MacHaggis and Annie MacNeep explore the rich history of mythologies, legends and recipes of Scotland’s national dish: the haggis. We look at the ingredients in a Victorian haggis and blether about what folklore of the wild haggis tell us about Scottish identity. What is the old legend of how the haggis freed Scotland? Is that…
 
Jenny and Annie take a dance across the mythologies of the northern lights of Scotland. Upon finding their Scots legends of the aurora borealis, they end up rather unexpectedly in the Battle of Flodden: a battle said to have been written in the sky. For this episode, we used the books: Rock-bound: a Story of the Shetland Isles by Jessie Margaret Ed…
 
In this episode, Annie and Jenny take a festive Yuletide jaunt around Christmas time traditions in Scotland. We take a look at the almost completely lost highland tradition of the Clach an Groait stone, the world famous Orkney Ba tournament, and an old lady and her festive pig. This time of year is dark and cold, but these historic tales will warm …
 
The Scottish coastline is dotted with magnificent lighthouses. These bright beacons of safety have protected sea vessels for centuries, guiding them through the rough and rocky waters that surround the country. In this episode we take a look at Robert Stevenson and his lighthouse building dynasty, with a focus on Bell Rock Lighthouse, one of the gr…
 
References: We read an extract from the Shetland Times published on the 31st January 1903. For discussing the saga, we read Last of the Free by James Hunter and Caithness in Sagas by Edward J Cowan. These oral histories informed our stories of the Shetlandic trows: www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/68053 www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrec…
 
Jenny has just returned from a holiday to Orkney and shares her experiences of visiting Skara Brae, a beautifully preserved stone age village. Annie uncovers the early archaeology of the site, and Jenny imagines what the lives of people were like 5000 years ago. They find a light-hearted ghost neolithic ghost story and wonder about the beliefs and …
 
Read about the Baobhan Sith in The Gaelic Otherworld edited Ronald Black, which uses the text from Superstitions of the Highlands Islands by John Gregorson Campbell. Listen to more about MacPhee and his loyal black dog here: www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/5820 www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/25460 http://www.tobarandualchais.co.u…
 
Annie and Jenny take a gentle stroll through Chapel Yard Cemetery in Inverness and think about the stories that graveyards tell us. They encounter a succourer, a short snake, and a new perspective on the city they love. Have a look at Annie’s 1886 Visitors Guide to Inverness here: https://archive.org/details/visitorsguidetoi00unse/page/n1/mode/2up …
 
The majority of research for this episode came from original archival material. The front page of the newspaper discussing the missing livestock is the Inverness Courier from 28 November 1861. The court records of the assault and murder trial are held at the National Records of Scotland, under the references of AD14/62/144 or alternatively JC26/186…
 
For the Lùnastal or Lammas Day traditions, we used ‘Old Scottish Customs: Local and General” by Ellen Emma Guthrie published in 1885. archive.org/details/oldscottishcusto00guthuoft Listen to the oral histories which we retold from Donald Sinclair. They are available on Tobar an Dualchais/ Kist o Riches. www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/4430…
 
Jenny and Annie investigate real Scottish ghost stories as found in local newspapers in this light-hearted spooky episode. They begin in the town of Port Glasgow, where a family is being tormented by noises, spectral animals and some nasty phantom vegetables. The trusty journalist however suspects a hoax instead of a ghost. Next, they visit one of …
 
In the first episode of Season 4, Annie and Jenny take a wander around the magnificent ruins of Elgin Cathedral. Known as the Lantern of the North for, as you’ll discover, many reasons - the cathedral has a rich and dark history, and as much of it as possible is squeezed into this episode! From those dreadful fires that won’t stop being set to sink…
 
In this episode, Annie and Jenny travel back to 1913 Aberdeenshire, where the national insurance tax has just been introduced by then prime minister, Davil Lloyd George. Little does he know that this tax will cause uproar in the farthest reaches of Scotland. The small town of Turriff in Aberdeenshire becomes the epicenter of these frustrations and …
 
In this glittering episode, Jenny and Annie uncover the incredible 1869 gold rush in Kildonan, Sutherland in the Far North Highlands. Jenny explains the geology of how gold ended up deep in the Scottish Highlands. We have a look at the Victorian media hype that sent a lot of hopeful prospectors up to Helmsdale in search of treasure and find out abo…
 
In this episode, Annie and Jenny take a deep dive into some of the many mystical wells dotted all over Scotland. They visit the Munlochy Clootie Well, one of the largest of its kind in Scotland and unpick it’s past, while also looking at the continuation of age-old traditions in the modern-day. Many wells are believed to have magical properties and…
 
In this bonus episode we look at the traditions surrounding the longest day of the year in Scotland. From the borders to the Shetland islands, the people of Scotland have celebrated the summer solstice for thousands of years. Jumping fires, burning bones, and warding of fairies, trolls and ghosts - the solstice is a time of light and celebration - …
 
In this episode, Annie and Jenny enter the dark and mysterious world of the shebeen - the illegal Scottish whisky house! The shebeen was at the heart of whisky smuggling and illegal distilling in rural Scotland. We discover this almost-lost shadow of the whisky industry. We hear the intriguing tale of Eppie “Lucky” Thane, the hundred-year-old woman…
 
Enjoy two of the misfit legends found Jenny & Annie as they researched Scottish coasts and waters. Jenny recalls a story of a strange folktale of a ghost ship from the mysterious Blawhooly Bay in the Scottish borders. Ghosts, ghouls, fairies and sea-beasts anchor their ship one dark night in order to kidnap a midwife. Whereas Annie brings a story f…
 
In this episode, Annie and Jenny visit the magnificent Smoo Cave, a favourite on the North Coast 500 and a place that is dear to both. Join them in their expedition deep under the cliffs of the North West Coast to discover how love formed the caves, and evil has lived in them! From a dastardly murderer to a wee man in a box, Smoo Cave is packed wit…
 
This episode explores the relationship between witches and water in mythology, folklore and a historical witch trial. Annie and Jenny read the 1644 witch trial of Marion Peebles, a woman from Shetland accused of witchcraft. The trial of Marion Peebles gives a unique and intriguing insight into the superstitions of Shetland in the 17th Century. Next…
 
Jenny and Annie head to sea to explore the legends of the Blue Men of the Minch: supernatural men who are said to inhabit the strip of sea from the Outer Hebrides to the west coast of mainland Scotland. Jenny and Annie look at different tales taken from oral tradition and think about what these strange wee creatures from folklore tell us about the …
 
In this episode we explore deep time in an investigation into the geology and history of the Grey Mare’s Tail, a spectacular waterfall and nature reserve in Dumfries. Jenny looks into how creatures from 500 million years ago, found at the Grey Mare’s Tail, sent seismic waves through the geologic community. Annie uncovers a surreal tale of 17th cent…
 
Jenny and Annie find stories of Gruinard Island, a small island just off the West Coast of the Scottish. From this one little piece of land, they uncover harrowing and painful stories of the Highland Clearances. They discuss the kelp processing industry on the Western Isles and the impact it had on crofting communities. They learn about an unsympat…
 
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