The Witch Stone in Winter

Frosty hill leading up to the Witch Stone. Ailish Sinclair | Writer

The ground is solid, all the ruts and bumps, hard and crunchy under my feet as I climb the hill. And there on the top, small from this angle, is the Witch Stone.

It’s said that witches were burned there in the past.

It’s quiet now. Cold. Peaceful.

Ladybirds are hibernating on the Witch Stone today! I hope they survive the season.

Ladybirds hibernate on the Witch Stone. Ailish Sinclair | Writer

Chosen Sisters, Romans and Romance

Sisters at the Edge of the World cover

Set in 1st century Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance.

“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society

See the press release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Review from Terry Tyler: “It’s a fabulous story, a real page-turner and so well written. It made me think about the passage and circle of time, of the constancy of the land on which we live and the transient nature of human life. Loved it.

Read the article Roman Aberdeenshire features in author’s new book from Grampian Online.

Witchcraft and a Handsome Laird

The Mermaid and the Bear cover

Taking place mainly in a fictional castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story.

See the press release here

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A delight from end to end.” Undiscovered Scotland

From the Press and Journal: New book by Fraserburgh author highlights horrific extent of witch trials in Scotland 

Kidnapping, Slavery and Friendship

Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair, out 2021

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children and young people of Aberdeen. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate!

See the publisher’s Press Release here

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Filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society Editor’s Pick


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75 Replies to “The Witch Stone in Winter”

  1. Ever wonder how many women were horribly executed as witches, who we would now diagnose with a mental issue, or were exhibiting odd behavior as a result of a trauma …. or perhaps who totally pissed of an influential man in a male dominant culture? Pity the poor woman who was a bit of a free spirit and reveled in non-conformity! 🙂

      1. One important component many do not consider: many of these women were healers. They had knowledge of plants and herbs that would mitigate pain. Several made a business of this thus information was not shared in the interests of profit. It was easy for ultra-right religious factions to find reasons for persecution. Anything familiar here?

        1. It’s such a complex subject with so many reasons for accusation. Studying it has been utterly fascinating. But yes, sometimes it was set up to get rid of, or even acquire the money of, particular women.

  2. I love the way you have photographed the stone amongst the desolation of the felling. What a strange place for ladybirds to hibernate.

    Difficult women were easily removed in the days of the witch finders.

      1. Aah I used to live in this forest with the Witch Stone, in a small house called Pundlers Croft. I have no idea if it’s still there, this was back in the early 2000s. I found your blog searching for pictures of the Witch Stone! A friend and I used to walk up there with our dogs. The legend is that they would tie the witches to the stone and slit their throats before rolling them down the hill into the loch below, aptly named ‘Red Loch’.

  3. Evocative post.
    Of course, a lot of the accused ‘witches’ were the medicine women herbalists and midwives of old, unfortunately. We lost a lot of medical knowledge, particularly on women’s health and pregnancy, for centuries through their persecution…

  4. Nice shots. And I didn’t realize ladybugs hibernated out in the open like that. Interesting.

  5. That’s interesting I’ve always called them ladybirds and never gave it a thought that they could be called bugs ,which of course they are ,but I am from Australia ! .

      1. I feel this is because of the nursery rhyme around when I was a kid ,and that’s long ago ,was Ladybird Ladybird by Mother goose ,only we had the children burnt instead of gone ! .

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