Mairiuna, upon reading your last post it brought back to memory the visit we did to Reverend Kirk’s Fairyland site Doon Hill, near the small town of Aberfoyle, gateway to the beautiful Trossach region in Perthshire.
Aberfoyle is only 30 miles away by road of Glasgow and as such, there is no reason one should not stop by to contemplate splendid views and discover the area that inspired Walter Scott ‘s Rob Roy novel.
But coming back to the 17th century and to Reverend Kirk, he was a firm believer of faeries. In 1681, to express his beliefs, he wrote a book : “The Secret Commonwealth Of Elves, Fauns and Faeries“, an essay on the nature of supernatural beings. This book was neither fiction and not for children.
Do you have this book Mairiuna? If not, we definitely need it in Scotiana’s library.
To give a brief overview of the life and work of Reverend Kirk, it was said that being born in 1644, the 7th son of a 7th son, it gave him psychic powers. He had the ability to call upon the supernatural beings at will.
Like his father, he became a minister, preaching at Balquhidder and then taking on the Aberfoyle ministry. His fascination for the magical world of Fairies is what he is remembered for even though he provided the first translation to Gaelic of the book of Psalms.
As per the legend, the inhabitants of the Secret Commonwealth, Fairies and others, were not happy about Reverend Kirk disclosure to their secrets and they planned revenge.
Each day, Reverend Kirk walked from the manse to Doon Hill and one day, in May 1692, very mysteriously, he did not return.
The story tells us that he was taken to the underground world of the Fairies through the pine tree that still exists at the summit of Doon Hill.
It is said that the tree contains his imprisoned spirit.
The Reverend was out walking one day, upon the faerie knoll known as Doon Hill when he died. His family took his body and laid it to rest. However with the Reverend being so closely involved with the faeries people thought it was too much of a coincidence the location of where he died.
Instead they believed that the faeries had taken his body and left a changeling posing as Reverend Kirk.
It was said that Kirk appeared before his cousin and told him that at the Christening of his child, he would appear. This was the only chance for him to come back to our world. His cousin, Graham, had to throw an iron dagger over Kirk when he appeared.
However at the Christening, Graham was too scared at the sight of the ghostly Kirk and failed to keep his promise. It is now believed that the Reverend Kirk’s soul is still tormented within the Caledonian pine tree which stands on top of Doon Hill.
A place which people still visit to this day to make wishes and leave presents for the faeries.
As well as many interesting and ancient graves (including Rev Kirk’s earthly grave) the local graveyard contains heavy iron coffin covers, a strange thing to find so far from a major city.
To access the site, up manse road, watch for the signs for Fairy Hill after about 1/4 mile.
At the top of the hill amongst the trees you can see prayer ribbons that people still leave.
A very enchanting walk…by the way, do you believe in Fairies?