Morag’s Fairy Glen (Dunoon)

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morag's fairy glen, dunoon

Morag’s Fairy Glen, where the Berry Burn runs, dates back at least to the mid nineteenth century (1857) when William Cameron wrote a celebrated and sensual song about this place where lovers meet. In the nineteenth century the Glen was apparently owned by the local Glenmorag Hotel, though it could, in certain circumstances be visited:

morag's glen fairy

A notice at the gate informs us that there is ‘No admittance to the Glen.’ But we are privileged personages. We answer the questions of the keeper satisfactorily, and make our way to the house. Here a fair guide joins us, and conducts us to the Glen. Half way up we rest in a moss-house like that at Dalzell. The seat is covered all over initials and hieroglyphics; there is no space left for another entry. The trees open naturally before the place, disclosing a stretch of the water… The tree tops mingle over the stream; the sides of the glen are clothed with wild, luxuriant undergrowth: whole slopes of fern, from which rises the stately head of the foxglove; cool, green, spongy moss covers the banks and boulders, and clings to the tree trunks; in crevices of the rock grow rare ferns; the ivy is everywhere creeping, climbing, and hanging; and the honey-suckle and wild rose glow against the green, and fill the glen with fragrance. A silver birch bends its shapely shaft over the stream; the glittering rain drops fall from its leaves and branches, and dimple the dark pool below. The glen is threaded with footwalks, and crossed with beautiful rustic bridges; and under the shading trees, and in secluded corners are inviting seats. A place meet for a gathering of fairies on a moonlight night; a paradise for lovers (Anon ‘A Holiday Sketch’ 1888).

This is the only reference – and it is clearly a rhetorical one! – that we have found to fairies. A more interesting question is whether locals believed that Morag was just the name of the Glen or a fairy personality from which the name derived.  In 1929 Baillie George and Mrs Margaret Jones gifted the Glen to the town and it is reported that it became the haunt of teenagers in the evening (perhaps not unlike the activities in the nineteenth century to judge by Cameron’s song!) and has become only a shadow of its former self. In 2010, a group of locals decided to renovate the Glen. Good luck to them.

morag's fairy glen fairies

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