Granite Blessings of the Woman’s Stone: Clach Bhan

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Ben Avon, Cairngorms National Park, Ballater, UK

Walking piece details

Duration37 minutes

Archivist Annie and Environmental Scientist Jenny walk deep into the Cairngorms, as they climb Ben Avon.
However, the summit isn’t the goal, instead they take a detour to an astounding rock formation called Clach Bhan, or in English, the Women’s Stone. This rock formation overlooks the surrounding glens, and has been a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of years. Pregnant women from miles around would undertake an arduous trek to this point and ask the stone for a safe childbirth. But why this stone, three-quarters of the way up a mountain? What caused it to be here? Why are there numerous bowl-shaped holes, perfect for sitting? And most importantly, what drew women to this spot, in search of solace and safety?

This is part of the Radical Mountain Women, funded by the Royal Society of Literature. Some of the music in this episode was beautifully played by Nicky Murray and Chloe Rodgers.

Near Ben Avon, Cairngorms National Park, Ballater, UK

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