Myths and Legends

Many a tale has been handed down through the generations regarding our precious Dumpling, none of which seem to be quite so charming as this one – a story written by Margaret Maxwell and brought to life on stage by old and young of the village. It's about the Wee Dumplin Folk who live in the hill . . .

"There are invisible people in Gartocharn, only certain people can see them, they live under Duncryne. They are called the Wee Dumplin Folk, they run a bakery making cakes and bread for the shop and they supply the palace too. We have a Princess in Gartocharn, Princess of the Priory. There is to be a party for the Princess but she looks very cross and sad. Apparently Prince Charming has vanished. The Black Fairy had made him disappear. Wizard Wonky didn’t have the power to bring him back! The Dumpling goes on fire and the MONSTER from the loch is summoned to help put it out as he has all the water from the loch to use. When he succeeds the Princess goes up to him and kisses him and guess what, he turns out to be Prince Charming!!!"

In the not so glamorous past the Dumpling was known as the Hill of the Witches, though it is referred to by some as the Hill of the Fairies. A rather macabre legend leads us to believe that those poor unfortunate souls considered to be witches were rolled down the Dumpling in a barrel – if they survived they were a witch, if they didn't they weren't! Very much a no-win situation! However, it is strongly believed that there was some connection between the Dumpling and witches, whether it was just a meeting place, a hill with magical powers or a place of torture and sacrifice, nobody really knows, though at one time Duncryne House had some stained glass windows depicting scenes on the subject – cauldrons, serpents and all things witch-like! Does anyone know what really took place in those beguiling times of sorcery and witchcraft?

A more tenuous connection with Duncryne appears to be with the Druids or Celts. Legend has it that the Dumpling was one of the chosen ritual sites used for their festivals. Beltane, for example, was their festival to welcome the arrival of summer, held on 1 May (though sometimes later in Scotland), to celebrate the return of life and fruitfulness to the earth. On the eve of Beltane two large bonfires would be built and their herds of cattle and sheep would be driven between them to purify and protect them during the coming year. Beltane is a word still familiar to some today, there are recollections of annual bonfires on top of the Dumpling, though nobody seems to know whether it had a direct link to the custom, or whether the bracken was being burnt on an annual basis. However, as you will notice, it is very evident that there is a distinct lack of tree cover over a significant part of the hill.

These are just some of the stories we've come across relating to the Dumpling, there's bound to be plenty more, particularly from those families who have lived here for generations – do please share them with us!