Aberfoyle Portal to the Secret Commonwealth

From: Noah's Dove (noahdo...)


Aberfoyle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Aberfoyle is a village in the region of Stirling, Scotland, 27 miles
northwest of Glasgow. The population stands at 635 as of the 1998
census.
The town is situated at the base of Craigmore (1271 foot high) and on
the Laggan, a head-water of the River Forth. Since 1885, when the Duke
of Montrose constructed a road over the eastern shoulder of Craigmore
to join the older road at the entrance of the Trossachs pass, Aberfoyle
has become the alternative route to the Trossachs and Loch Katrine;
this road, known as the Duke's Road or Duke's Pass, was opened to the
public in 1931 when the Forestry Commission acquired the land.
Loch Ard, about 2 miles west of Aberfoyle, lies 105 feet above the sea.
It is 3 miles long (including the narrows at the east end) and 1 mile
broad. Towards the west end is Eilean Gorm (the green isle), and near
the north-western shore are the falls of Ledard. Two miles northwest is
Loch Chon, at 90 feet above the sea, 1.25 miles long, and about half a
mile broad. It drains by the Avon Dhu to Loch Ard, which is drained in
turn by the Laggan.
Contents [hide]
1 Industry
2 Tourism
3 Historical Figures
4 External links
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Industry
The slate quarries on Craigmore which operated from the 1820s to the
1950s are now defunct; at its peak this was a major industry. Other
industries included an ironworks, established in the 1720s, as well as
wool spinning and a lint mill. In 1880 a railway line from Glasgow, via
Dumgoyne, to Aberfoyle was established. However, due to the Beeching
Axe, the line was closed in 1959.
The above industries have since died out, and Aberfoyle is supported
mainly by the forestry industry and tourism.
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Tourism
Visitors were first attracted to Aberfoyle and the surrounding area
after the publication of The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott in
1810. The poem described the beauty of Loch Katrine. Aberfoyle
describes itself as 'The Gateway to the Trossachs', and is well
situated for visitors to access attractions such as Loch Lomond and
Inchmahome Priory at the Lake of Menteith. Aberfoyle is also part of
the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
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Historical Figures
Aberfoyle has connections to many historical figures such as Rob Roy
and Mary Queen of Scots. Robert Roy MacGregor was born at the head of
nearby Loch Katrine, and his well known cattle stealing exploits took
him all around the area surrounding Aberfoyle. There currently stands a
tree in the village that MacGregor was reputed to have climbed and hid
in to escape the clutches of the law. Also, Mary Queen of Scots visited
nearby Inchmahome Priory often as a child, and during her short reign.
She also used the priory during her short reign, particularly in 1547,
where she felt safe from the English Army.
However, the most local historical figure is the Reverend Robert Kirk,
born in 1644. It was the Rev. Kirk who provided the first translation
into Gaidhlig of the Book of Psalms, however, he is better remembered
for the publication of his book "The Secret Commonwealth of Elves,
Fauns, and Fairies" in 1861. Kirk had long been researching fairies,
and the book collected several personal accounts and stories of folk
who claimed to have encountered them. It was after this, while Kirk was
minsiter of Aberfoyle parish, that he died in unusual circumstances.
Kirk had long believed that the local Doon Hill (or Fairy Knowe as it
is more commonly known), was the gateway to the 'Secret Commonwealth',
or the land of the Fairies. It was a place that Kirk visited often,
taking daily walks there from his manse. The story goes that the
Fairies of Doon Hill were angry with the Rev. Kirk for revealing their
secrets, and decided to imprison him in Doon Hill - for one night in
May 1692, the Rev. Kirk went out for a walk to the hill, in his
nightshirt. Some accounts claim that he simply vanished, however he
suddenly collapsed. He was found and brought home, but died soon
afterwards. He was buried in his own kirkyard, although local legends
claim that the fairies took his body away, and the coffin contains only
stones. The huge pine tree that still stands at the top of Doon Hill is
said to contain Kirk's imprisoned spirit.
Kirk's cousin, Graham of Duchray, was then to claim that the spectre of
Kirk had visited him in the night, and told him that he had been
carried off by the Fairies. Having left his widow expecting a child,
the spectre of Kirk told Graham that he would appear at the baptism,
whereupon Graham was to throw an iron knife at the apparition, thus
freeing Kirk from the Fairies' clutches. However when Kirk's spectre
appeared, Graham was apparently too shocked by the vision to throw the
knife, and Kirk's ghost faded away forever.
Today, visitors to Doon Hill write their wishes on pieces of white
silk, or other white cloth, and tie them to the branches of the trees
for the Fairies to grant. It is also said that if you run around the
great pine tree at the summit seven times, then the Fairies will
appear.
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