Loch nan Dubhrachan agus an t-Each-Uisge
- Loch nan Dubrachan and the Water-Horse

Extract from the book:
“The Misty Isle of Skye”,
by J.A. MacCulloch, 1905

pages 238-239

  So far these customs are relics of the more wholesome side of the ancient religion. But the hated demons, the spirits who brought storm and dark- ness and evil, who were feared and detested, have also remained, probably little changed, and hardly even associated with or transformed into the devil and his imps, as has so often happened elsewhere. We may see traces of them in the water-bulls, water-horses, and kelpies which are said to haunt so many lochs and streams. The two former have the ordinary animal appearance, but are of a vast size, and naturally are very terrifying- to the scared beholder. They pursue him, and when they catch him, carry him beneath the waters to satisfy their hunger. Foals and calves of a highly spirited temper are known to owe their male parentage to these demoniac animals. But they could also change their shape, appearing even in human guise, and luring the unwary traveller to the loch-side, where they resumed their awful form when it was too late for him to flee. The nearer of the two Storr lochs. Loch Fada, is known to be haunted by a water-bull ; it was also the haunt of a water- horse, slaughtered with a knife after it had killed a man. Loch nan Dubhrachan, between Isle Ornsay and Knock, was also tenanted by a water-horse. As this latter loch is close to the high road, which here runs through a lonely part of the island, it is not to be wondered at that it is an object of local terror. The water-horse had a penchant for pretty girls, but they did not like his attentions. No young woman would venture near Loch Sgubaidh in Strath (where dwelt a water-horse), lest he should rush out and carry her off. In the wild Coolin Hills is a wilder corrie called Coire-nan-Uraisg, or corrie of the monster — a fearful shape, half-human, half-goat, with long hair, long teeth and claws. Fortunately for the Skyemen, this corrie is too far removed from the haunts of men for its grisly inhabitant to do much harm.

2011-07-31 CPD