The Faerie Pools are at the Back Cuillins, near Glenbrittle, in the South-West of the Isle of Skye. The River Brittle falls over the rocks into crystal clear, deep pools, which are wonderful, wild swimming spots for the more adventurous, albeit cold.
The name derives from folklore associated with the Clan MacLeod, the ruling clan on Skye, as one of its chiefs is believed to have married a Faerie Princess. Many of the most spiritual sites on Skye being named after the Faeries., and the Clan Macleod has the Faerie Flag gifted to the Chief and wrapped around a baby, which allows the Chief to flourish the flag and summon the Faeries in times of great peril. The Flag is still kept at Dunvegan Castle, on Skye, home of the Clan Chief.
For many hundreds of years Skye remained an island isolated from the rest of Scotland. It did not exist in a complete vacuum, as it was settled by both Celts and Norse, and probably by the Picts before them. There were always comings and goings by way of ships and boats from the mainland and abroad. Due to this sea access, Skye became a Viking hot spot, like so many of the other Scottish Isles. It is no wonder, then, that fairy lore lingered on after it had begun to erode elsewhere. The most common stories in Celtic-Pict Mythology are of a beautiful human child taken by the fairies and replaced by a sickly, ugly changeling.
Another Story came from a Church Minister’s family on Skye: a little boy and his sister had been left to stay with their grandmother while their mother went to nurse an ailing friend some distance away. A neighbour boy joined the pair to play. After a pleasant afternoon of playing in the sunshine, the children began to feel tired and a little ornery. An elderly woman happened to call on the children’s grandmother. Now, this woman was known to be a ‘wise woman’ and had an idea about how to cheer them up. Now, this wise woman took a liking to the children and asked if they would like to see something special. They replied that yes, they would, so she beckoned them to follow her. The children followed the old woman down a winding path through a glen and over to a little burn.
Following her instructions, the children held hands, the first with the wise woman and so on so that all four were connected. Then, they sat down beside the stream. Suddenly, on the other side of the brook the children beheld an iridescent re burning in twilight of the early evening. They couldn’t believe their eyes when fairies appeared around the re! The fairies were bedecked all in green and danced merrily about the flames. When the children arrived by the very same burn the next day to show their friends, the fairies were nowhere to be seen. K.M. Briggs reveals that the little boy was the husband of the woman who told her this story. According to his wife, the minister reckoned it was the presence of the wise woman that allowed the children to see the fairies. By holding the hand of the witch, and all children connecting together in a line, the minister thought each child was able to tap into the energy or extra sense that the wise woman carried. For it was said among the villagers that this woman possessed the famous Celtic ‘second sight.’