10. Scottish Zoo: Unicorn, Wildcat, Puffin & Deer

This podcast explores the Scottish Zoo of our mythologies, glens, and islands. It begins by wondering why the unicorn is Scotland’s national animal.

Annie and Jenny discover mysterious wildcat of the Highland hills and explore Gaelic legends of the Cat Sìth.

Then they look at the wonders of the puffin and the various hardships puffins experienced on the abandoned island of St Kilda.

Finally, they look at the realities of managing land with such high numbers of deer and think about the significance of deer and stags to Scottish culture.

Annie Gilfillan
9. Tomnahurich: the Fairy Hill of Inverness

Jenny and Annie go away with the fairies to explore the mythology of Tomnahurich Cemetery in Inverness. This episode looks at folk legends of giants, fairy parties and fiddlers lost in the night.

It also examines the curious relationship of Tomnahurich hill and Oliver Cromwell’s control of Scotland during the 17th Century.

We go into detail on the life of Alexander Mackenzie, a Highland Historian who was involved in the Highland Land League and whose gravestone is missing from Tomnahurich Cemetery.

This weird and wonderful episode weaves in and out of imaginative folklore and the genuine history of the Fairy Hill of Inverness, Tomnahurich.

Annie Gilfillan
8. Rain, Plowtery, Dreich

Jenny and Annie stay inside on a dreichy day to talk about the environmental and cultural significance of rain. We discover the mythology and superstition of rain for fishermen of Shetland and try to make sense of the black rain prophecies of the Brahan Seer.

We look at the geography of Scotland to understand why this place gets such an impressive amount of rain and discuss the wonders of the Celtic Rainforest.

This episode examines how a wet climate shapes nature, beliefs and people.

Annie Gilfillan
7. Theatre in Victorian Inverness

This episode brings a guest host, Sara Boussaikouk, who talks to us about Victorian theatres in Inverness. We read archival documents which describe the venues and performers of the Northern Scottish theatre scene.

We dip our toes into romanticisation of the Scottish Highlands through the Sir Walter Scott effect. This episode also looks into the life of a powerhouse of Scottish Theatre: actress and theatre manager Jessie Fraser.

Annie Gilfillan
6. Radical War 1820

Jenny and Annie have a look at a group of artisan weavers who inspired a strike of sixty thousand people in Glasgow and the industrial central belt.

This episode looks at the “Radical War” of 1820 and examines the causes of this civil uprising and the bloody aftermath.

Annie Gilfillan
5. Covesea Part 2: A Wizard, a Smuggler & a Wedding

In the second of a two-part adventure at Covesea caves, we look at the rumours of the Wizard of Gordonstoun who was said to have sold his soul for sacred knowledge.

 This episode discovers that Covesea caves were used by smugglers; who feed into a covert Jacobite network.

 We learn about Scottish Indigenous Travellers who passed through Covesea and think about the magic of stories in the caves.  

With thanks to Davie Donaldson.

Annie Gilfillan
4. Covesea Caves Part 1: Bronze Age Mortuary

In the first of a two-part exploration of Covesea caves, Jenny and Annie crawl into the Bronze Age to ponder why these caves were used for the curation of human bodies. Why did different people over different eras use the caves as a place of decapitation?

We look at Pictish carvings on the walls and admire the special ambience of the caves throughout time.

Annie Gilfillan
3. Loch Ness Part 2: Science & Innovation

In this second episode on Loch Ness we look at the landscape through the lenses of both science and mythology. We consider innovation on Loch Ness; from ancient crannogs to a 1950’s water speed record attempts.

We think about how tourism and technology combined to see a sudden surge in Nessie sightings, and muse about international Nessie comparisons.

Annie Gilfillan
2. Loch Ness Part 1: Monster mysticism & the Pictish Beast

Join us on a breathtaking journey through the history of Loch Ness. We explore the mysticism and legends of the Loch starting with Saint Columba’s confrontation with the Loch Ness monster. This episode unravels the importance of sea-beast symbols in Scotland’s ancient communities of Picts. We discover what has the Loch Ness monster has symbolised and meant to different generations of Highlanders over the centuries.

This is the first part of two episodes on Loch Ness.

Annie Gilfillan
1. Bothy Culture

In this first episode we consider the significance of bothies and delve into the dark pasts of bothies and the ballads that bothy workers would sing by the peat fires to warm their spirits. We think about what bothies are used for in modern Scotland and how they can help us spend more time enjoying nature and the outdoors, supporting both physical and mental wellbeing.

Annie Gilfillan