Glen Brittle Fairy Pool Magic

Deep in the heart of Glen Brittle, a crystal clear stream pours down from the Black Coullin, tumbling through pools of turquoise blue and pastel pink. The Allt Coir a Mhadaidh, Stream of the Foxes Hollow, has carved a stunning series of waterfall linked pools. The water is snowmelt for most of the year, and even in the height of summer it is ice cold despite its tropical colours. These are the now famous Fairy Pools, and if you look closely you might make out the speckled stone faces within and around the tumbling water.

All around the Glen stone faces watch unblinking from the earth. Speckled or dappled is considered touched by or owned by the sidhe, the fairy folk of Scotland, and this place holds a lot of speckles. The speckled folk was another name for these magical otherworld beings, and the pools of Glen Brittle, or Bhreatal in Gaelic, are just one of their haunts on the magical Isle of Skye. Their lichen dappled faces peep out from all around the rocks themselves, and they can shift shape into speckled trout or salmon, and swim as far up or down stream as they please.

These pools with their stone-faced guardians, were seen as places where gifts and divination could pass through from the magical otherworld, and into this world. Places where wild forces could snatch away life, or grant healing, and where wisdom could be sought. The speckled trout and salmon who inhabit the waters were holders of this wisdom, and could travel the waters between the worlds.

These waterfalls are on a truly large scale, despite being dwarfed by the towering mountains behind them. There is something utterly transformative about standing at the edge of tumbling water, feeling the spray damp on your skin, hearing your ears fill with the voice of the falls and your eyes held transfixed by the eternal motion. Nothing can remain static here, even the solid rocks of the riverbed are giving way and transforming in the unending flow from mountain top to ocean. It’s a place to let go and just be, and see what comes to you.

If you do chose to join the growing band of wild swimmers who come to the pools, swim with respect in the pools of the speckled folk. They were here long before we set foot on the earth, and will continue to flow once we have all passed through this life. Beneath these huge mountains, let yourself feel small and powerless, as you move through this landscape of elemental Giants. There is no need to change or fix or do anything here, just feel your breath in your warm soft body.

We dipped no more than our feet and hands on this occasion, and as we walked back, fresh snow was dusting the mountain tops. Cold doesn’t even begin to describe the water, but it left a sparkle.

You can see some other Fairy Pools here in a previous post.

About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home on the shores of Loch Ness deep in the Scottish Highlands with my husband, my son and a couple of dogs. I love art which is here now and gone food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist and Cancer Support Specialist in Maggies Highlands
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52 Responses to Glen Brittle Fairy Pool Magic

  1. Liana says:

    gosh gushing . . . so goooood, girl

    I am there, I am right there again

  2. I especially like the last two. The penultimate, because the person provides scale. And, the last, because it is simply beautiful. Bands of color and texture. A nice addition to your growing study of patterning in nature.

    • Yeah, I included that penultimate shot for a sense of scale…and that’s my husband providing the scale!๐Ÿ˜†
      Delighted you enjoyed the texture of that final shot David๐Ÿ’• I lugged my tripod all the way up, only to decide that it wasn’t the day for long exposures!! I felt it wasn’t needed, so I’m really happy to hear you like the captures๐Ÿ’ž

  3. The Fairy Pools are a very special place and there’s limitless potential for photography here. This, of course, is true for the whole of Skye! I definitely need to head over there later in the year. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. bluebrightly says:

    You take me away with your words! Yes, there’s something transformative about being beside a waterfall – the air is alive in a way that’s different from other places. No need to do anything except be, and maintain respect for the place, which you are privileged to be in.

  5. poppytump says:

    I believe … and I’ll HAVE to visit ๐Ÿ™‚ Utterly magical Seonaid !

  6. restlessjo says:

    Seeing the title, I couldn’t resist a little fairy magic on this rather grey morning. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glen Brittle and Stream of the Foxes Hollow- even the names are magical. I love the respect with which you honour them, Seonaid.

    • Thanks Jo…..I just find these landscapes so healing….they soften me๐Ÿ˜Š But then again, so do almost any fairly empty stretches of nature. I can breath out and let go of the demands of the world for a little while๐Ÿ’•

      • restlessjo says:

        We need the wild spaces, don’t we, Seonaid? ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s an initiative to bring more tourists to Northumbria and while it’s good for the economy I selfishly keep thinking, ‘please don’t. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Lol….I feel that same tug and pull about all my favourite places Sue….they are wonderful because they have not been crowded by people….let’s stay a little selfish shall we๐Ÿ’•
        Northumberland is another favourite of mine….the layers of history ripple just beneath the surface…..and the landscape is wild and open๐Ÿ˜Š

  7. What a wonderful place. Magical words! How long does it take to hike there?

    • The road takes you right into the Glen and you just follow the path…..about 20 mins to the first pool at a good pace……an hour or so all the way up the pools….however the road in is a one way track with passing places….and it’s quite far up into Skye. Maybe 40 mins drive from the bridge. But the journey is all part of it, and the scenery all the way is amazing๐Ÿ˜Š

  8. Gosh it’s beautiful Seonaid!!! I want to be there in the lushness of full summer ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Both pictures and words communicate the elemental force and wildness of this place…thanks for taking me there, Seonaid.

  10. LightWriters says:

    oh what a marvellous place to wander… amazing!

  11. momasteblog says:

    Oh wow. That is glorious! Your photos and words always stir something in me… You truly live in a fairy land and I wonder if you are not part fairy yourself for all the magic you bring to these photos and posts… xoxo!

  12. Too gorgeous .. And your words took me there. Thank you ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. adeleulnais says:

    Reblogged this on firefly465 and commented:
    from wonderful faery falls

  14. Lucid Gypsy says:

    A beautiful and magical place, it’s hard to tell the scale. I find the peak in the last photo fascinating!

    • The second last shot has my husband standing to the right, looking down into a pool….to give an idea of scale Gilly๐Ÿ˜Š
      And yes that conical peak is very attention grabbing. It has a real brooding presence….it’s name means water pipe, or stone pipeโœจ

  15. Trini Lind says:

    Oh, wow!! Magical! Love the fairy stories! ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฆ„๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ

  16. Maverick ~ says:

    Thank you for the magical tour. Lovely images. โค

    • Delighted you enjoyed the visit๐Ÿ˜Š I tried to capture some more intimate shots of the rock faces rather than the usual big landscape….of course both are beautiful in their own wayโœจ๐Ÿ’•โœจ

  17. What a magical place, Seonaid! Loved your narrative. I felt I was also experiencing this along with you. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  18. Wandering spirits live here…!

  19. Amy says:

    Thank you for taking us along! Magic!

  20. Devore says:

    Stunning imagery, my dear.

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