The Scottish adventure of a hearty lass that may, or may not, be true.
‘Twas a chilly early spring morning, but the sun peeped through the clouds and the River Spey ran fast. Most of the snow on the Cairngorms had melted, except of course for on the grandest of them all Ben Macdhui, otherwise known as the Big Grey Man of Beth Macdhui. I defied the chill and the warnings of my host, pulled on my Wellingtons, an old green Mackintosh and an ugly knitted cap that Robert Grant Senior had given me, and ventured out on a hike. Trudging across the estate, through the family cemetery and up the path that led to the fisherman’s cottage, I convinced myself that this would clear my head after the revelry of the prior evening. I mean how much Whiskey can one drink and still remain upright? Daffodils popped their heads out of small patches of snow, and cheered me on my journey as I braved the stony slopes of the mountain.
As I climbed higher the sky got darker. Mist, as thick as pea soup, soon swirled before me and I had to squint to see the path through the pass. Within minutes, the entire mountain was enveloped, and I could no longer see the summit. Icy wind tore at the Mack, and Robert’s ugly old hat was whipped from my head. Hair flew around my face and my eyes watered from the strain of getting my bearings. Fearing the lashing rain I’d been warned about would soon arrive, I turned on the narrow path. One loud footstep echoed, and then another, and another, and all the time drawing nearer and gaining in intensity until it sounded like the pounding of hooves. I looked behind although knowing I had no weapon. The wind howled and whirled around me, opening small glimpses of the path and the mountain. A huge dark shape loomed above me, receded a bit, and then advanced again. Loud, deep Gaelic words rumbled about me, but with my heart beating fast I did not stop to question. The way down was difficult because of the Wellington’s, but I ran never once stopping to look behind me. I fled that pass quicker than lightning, stumbling into the clearing below, heart pounding, and my lungs stinging for want of breath.
The howling of nearby dogs told me that life and safety was close by, but up there, in the pass, that had been death. A huge grotesque human form had spoken in human tongue, but four legs? I sank to the ground, wrapping my arms around myself for comfort, and finally upon standing again saw the swirls of mist had disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.
“Stand Fast,” I whispered.
Clansmen’s Crest: A mountain inflamed proper. Motto: Stand fast. Gaelic name: Grannd. Being of the Grant Clan, I’ve always been fascinated with stories of ghosts in the rugged areas of Northern Scotland. Grants have been associated with the River Spey, and the valley of Strathspey, and Grantown-on-Spey, where the old Castle Grant is to be found, since oh, forever. : )
This is an adaptation, or combination, of several stories I’ve heard or read over the years. For more on Scottish ghosts the Gazetteer of Scottish Ghosts, by Peter Underwood, is a spine tingling read. I’m sure there will always be stories told about the happenings out there on the Cairngorms, and what better time to share one than on Halloween, where all kinds of things go bump in the night. Click on the links below to join in TWRP Haunted Garden Halloween Hop. You’ll get to read other Halloween stories, and enter to win prizes, from fellow Wild Rose Press authors:
*The photos were taken by me on a trip several years ago when I went in search of my Scottish roots. Soooo glad I made it back home in one piece.
**And now, because you will need a nice warm drink after that chilly walk up the mountain, leave a comment and your name will go into Robert Grant Senior’s hat, for it was blown clear down the mountain and retrieved the next day.
***There will be a prize of a $15 gift card to Starbucks. Announcement of the winner will be made on this blog on October 31st.