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 Inverness & hosted by Jenny, an environmental scientist & Annie, an archivist.
Slains & Sorcery: an Aberdeenshire Witch Hunt
55:20Content warning: this episode contains references to sex in the context of witch trials accusations, torture, execution, and suicide. Join Annie and Jenny as they explore the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597 and the characteristics of this hunt within Aberdeenshire itself. We focus on the power of Slains Castle by looking at cases undertaken within the castle grounds and accusations made by the inhabitants of the castle. We look specifically at the cases of Ellen Gray, Gilbert Fiddler, and Andrew Mann, all of who were accused of being witches or warlocks. What do these cases tell us more broadly about the Scottish witch hunts? What can they tell us about Early Modern superstitions and beliefs?
New Slains Castle: Dracula, Smugglers & Ghosts
52:42Join Annie and Jenny on a trip to the Aberdeenshire Coast, revisiting Old and New Slains Castles. We discover how Bram Stoker took extensive inspiration from Cruden Bay in his writing of his books: Watter’s Mou, Mystery of the Sea and Dracula. We revisit the Hays of Errol as their power in the North East of Scotland surges and wanes. Together, we unpick why 19th Century vampires were wearing kilts in the public imagination, and demand for a return to this trend. Finally, they touch on the smuggler and ghost stories of New Slains Castle. You can support Stories of Scotland on Patreon! www.patreon.com/storiesofscotland
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Old Slains Castle: Falcon Flight & Spanish Blanks
41:45Join Annie and Jenny as they explore the history of Old Slains Castle. The ruins, which stand atop cliffs looking out into the cold North Sea, are the remnants of ancient power. Old Slain’s castle fell into the Hands of the Hays of Erroll after the Scottish Wars of Independence, but how the Hays of Errol had power fall into their hands is a tale of Danish invasion, battle, and falcons. The Hay’s wielded their power both locally, nationally, and internationally. Embroiled in the counter-reformation, Slains castle was the centre of rebellion and the alleged treasonous plot of The Spanish Blanks. While exile would usually spell the end of someone’s power, not for the Hays of Errol… Join us to destroy an Aberdeenshire Castle. You can support Stories of Scotland on Patreon! www.patreon.com/storiesofscotland
Neeps and Tatties: Burns Night Special
44:05Welcome to the battle betwixt tatties and turnips. Who will win? Tune in to this special episode of Stories of Scotland as we celebrate Burns Night! Enjoy a night of delicious Scottish history and folklore as we explore the traditional accompaniments to haggis: turnips and potatoes. Learn all about these classic Scottish vegetables and the international journeys that they took to get to Scotland's shores. We discover the place these humble root vegetables have in Scottish culture. Plus, a couple of spooky ghost stories about haunted tattie patches. And can either Annie or Jenny pronounce ‘rutabaga’? No. You can support Stories of Scotland on Patreon! www.patreon.com/storiesofscotland
Beauly Wych Elm: A Fallen Giant
40:03In despair over the death of the 800-year-old Beauly Wych Elm tree, Annie and Jenny learn about the history of this amazing tree. Jenny sensibly explores the Valliscaulian Order and the monks who would have planted this tree. Annie puts 800 years of monarchs into rhyming couplets. Jenny examines the science of Dutch Elm Disease and what it means for the future of elm in Britain. You can support Stories of Scotland on Patreon! www.patreon.com/storiesofscotland References: Chisholm-Batten, E. Historical Notices and Charters of the Priory of Beauly. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 1876 Historic Environment Scotland, Beauly Priory Statement of Significance, 2019. Simpson, W. The Valliscaulian Priory of Beauly. The Antiquaries Journal, 1955.
Horrendous Haunted Hogmanay
32:02Jenny and Annie from Stories of Scotland apologise greatly for this miserable Hogmanay episode, which commemorates New Year’s Eve with some tragic and spooky stories. You have been fairly warned, so we hope you enjoy these Hogmanay hauntings! We learn about the mythology of the Wheebin Standing Stone in Orkney (aka the Stane o Quoybone), and a creepy, dreadful unexplained ghost in South Uist! We wish you all a beautiful and unhaunted New Year! You can support Stories of Scotland on Patreon! www.patreon.com/storiesofscotland References available at www.storiesofscotland.com
Trows of Yuletide: Shetland’s Festive Folklore
40:28Annie and Jenny explore the Shetlandic legends of the trows, wee fairy folks who become especially active during the season of Yule. We explore how Shetlanders have interacted with the trow folk over the past few centuries, and question ‘are there any trows left?’ What happens when people stop believing in trows, and where do the trows go? Why are trows so interested in drinking and merriment over the winter season? You can support Stories of Scotland on Patreon! www.patreon.com/storiesofscotland References on the episode page of www.storiesofscotland.com. Some of the music you heard in this episode was beautifully played by Nicky Murray and Chloe Rodgers.
Linlithgow Palace: Song of the Stone
54:00Join Annie as she travels to Linlithgow Palace, the jewel of Scotland’s Early Modern crown. Annie speaks to Nicki Scott, Senior Cultural Significance Advisor at Historic Environment Scotland, who describes what Linlithgow Palace would have been like several centuries past. We learn about the monarchs who lived in this spectacular palace. From the Great Hall to the chamber where Mary Queen of Scots was born, we imagine the power of this palace when it was standing strong. Next, we meet Christa Gerdwilker, who is one of the leaders for High Level Masonry project currently underway across Historic Environment Scotland sites. Christa explains the cutting-edge inspections underway to protect the precious fabrics of Linlithgow and other historic buildings managed by Historic Environment Scotland. We get a behind-the-scenes glance into masonry conservation, and the increasingly important role conservators play in protecting historic buildings from the impact of climate change. How can we listen to the stones to understand how to save these monuments? What does it take to ensure Scotland’s built heritage can withstand the coming centuries?
Flow Country: Big Beautiful Bog
1:04:44In this episode, Annie and Jenny go squelching out into the marvelous Flow Country. This area, in the northern Highlands of Scotland, is often overlooked in favour of the mountainous west coast, but there is so much great stuff to be discovered here! The deep peat has taken thousands of years to form and the ecology of this Blanket Bog is wonderfully diverse. From hundreds of species of moss to rare dragonflies and carnivorous plants, the bog is teeming with life. The landscape is not just blanketed in bog, but also folklore, we explore a loch with healing powers, how it got them, and the mysterious yet compelling Hill ‘o Many Stanes. If you’re on the North Coast 500, the Flow Country is a must-see, and this episode, a must-listen! You can support Stories of Scotland on Patreon! www.patreon.com/storiesofscotland
Greyfriars Bobby: Loyal Graveyard Guardian
46:24In this episode, Annie and Jenny tell one more tale from Greyfriars Kirkyard. It’s a story of a very good boy, Greyfriars Bobby. Perhaps one of the most famous dogs in the world, the story of Greyfriars Bobby took Victorian Scotland by storm. But despite his story carrying through the decades, inspiring many books, and even a Disney film, what do we really know about the little Skye Terrier? For there are many questions that swirl around this tale of the ages: Just what is the original story of Bobby? Who was his owner? How did he end up in Greyfriars kirkyard? Why did he stay? And perhaps most importantly, did he ever even exist? Let’s travel back to Victorian Scotland to find out. You can support Stories of Scotland on Patreon! www.patreon.com/storiesofscotland References: Jan Bondeson, Greyfriars Bobby, the Most Famous Dog in the World, 2012 Thomas Wilson Reid, Gabrielle Stuart: A Scottish Romance, 1882 Reporting from Glasgow Evening Citizen (1867), Dundee Courier (1867), Inverness Courier (1864, 1867), Aberdeen Press and Journal (1867), Scotsman (1872)