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

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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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Wild Violets Round the Witch Stone

wild violets round the witch stone, Aberdeenshire
wild violets round the witch stone

Wild Violets

I walked up to the local witch stone this morning, and found wild violets growing round the base of it. This stone is said to mark the site of historical witch burnings, and these little purple flowers seemed fitting somehow. Like nature had placed something beautiful where once there was ugliness.

witch stone

Someone had left a wee wicker offering too.

wicker offering at the witch stone beside wild violets

And the landowner had trimmed the gorse.

witch stone by trees

And the final item on this list of witch-stone happiness? I was actually able to walk up the hill to the stone for the first time since my latest autoimmune flare-up.

More Witchy Posts

And a Witchy Book

The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair,  and a harp

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. There’s 6 chapters of medieval Christmas too.

See the press release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

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

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Macbeth’s Hillock and the Three Witches

ancient battle on the Sueno's Stone
Macbeth's Hillock

Macbeth’s Hillock

A couple of miles from the town of Forres in Moray is a mound known as Macbeth’s Hillock. Local folklore tells us that this is where Macbeth met with the three witches from the play.

‘By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.’

So pronounces the second witch in Macbeth, Act 4, scene 1.

The Three Witches

The theme of the three witches is echoed in more folklore from the surrounding area. There are two stones in Forres that are both associated with them.

The Sueno’s Stone

Sueno's Stone in Forres, possible site of Macbeth's Hillock
In its glass case

This is a 9th-10th century Picto-Scottish stone depicting an ancient battle (I like to think it’s Mons Graupius as featured in SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, but this is very unlikely given how long ago that battle took place). The stone is 6.5 metres tall and also lays claim, in local legend, to be situated where Macbeth met the witches. They are said to have been captured inside the stone, and should it ever be broken, they will be released.

Battle side of the Sueno's Stone in Forres, possible site of Macbeth's Hillock
Battle side
Cross side of the Sueno's Stone in Forres, possible site of Macbeth's Hillock
Celtic Cross side

The Witches Stone

witches stone

A rather more gruesome stone, and story, sits outside the police station on the main road in Forres. It has become a small shrine.

Gruesome tale of witch execution

There were originally meant to be have been three stones marking the final resting places of three women who were executed for witchcraft. The one remaining stone is held together with a piece of metal.

The Witches Stone in Forres.

More Witch Stones

The Witch Stone near Fraserburgh

The Hanging Stone on Gallows Hill by Rosehearty

Three Witches in The Mermaid and the Bear

There’s just something about ‘three witches’. I chose to write about three real women who were accused of witchcraft in 1597 in my debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR. I spent a year researching all the various aspects of the history. You can read about the general, and sometimes obsessive and bizarre, research in my article Researching Historical Fiction: Immersing Oneself in the Past on the Women Writers site. There’s some witchy research here, some stolen castle bits here and the search for a villain in this monstrous post.

The Mermaid and the Bear is a story of triumph over evil, hope through adversity, faith in humankind and – above all – love.

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

THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR by Ailish Sinclair

Newsletter

Go here to sign up for occasional emails that always include some exclusive photos and news of my writing and life. They’re a more intimate space than the blog. If you would rather just hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

My About Page

ballet novel, TENDU, by Ailish Sinclair

Read my bio and see all the social links and articles here.

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