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Tigh Mor Trossachs

Stirlingshire, Scotland

The mysterious case of the Corrie of the Urisks at Loch Katrine

Posted by Luci Ackers on Sep 26, 2017
The mysterious case of the Corrie of the Urisks at Loch Katrine

The Trossachs National Park is shrouded in myth and legend. It is such a beautiful, ethereal place that it isn’t hard to see why many of the lakes and glens became associated with the creatures and mysteries of the past.

Loch Katrine is one such lake and urisks have been said to live close to its shores. Urisks are small pixy-like creatures, sometimes also known as brownies. In folklore the creatures are similar to the hobgoblin and they have an aversion to human interaction... So you’ll find them hard to spot!

Traditionally English brownies and Scottish brownies differ in that the former prefers to live in secret corners and cubby-holes of old houses, while the latter prefers living outside in lakes and streams. It’s possible that the idea of the brownie was conflated with a water sprite, becoming the Scottish conception of the urisk.

They have been a part of Scottish folklore for years and even crop up in Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake – his famous poem which is set around the Loch Katrine. He describes a little place situated in ‘Benvenue’s most darksome cleft’ that has long been known by Celts and Saxons:

“By many a bard, in Celtic tongue,

Has Coir-nan-Uriskin been sung;

A softer name the Saxons gave,

And called the grot the Goblin-cave.”

The only problem is that this Coir-nan-Uriskin does not seem to have an exact location – a fact that is still true today! The Corrie of the Urisks, as it is now known, is said to be close to Loch Katrine, either at the base or on the side of Ben Venue. Its location seems to vary with different accounts. On the OS map its rough location is pointed out, so you can have a go at locating it for yourself. If you are walking the lake path along Loch Katrine, you’ll come to a sign that warns you against disturbing these interesting little creatures. The sign points out a collection of large rocks that apparently house the urisks, though it mysteriously states that the Corrie of the urisks is ‘near here’ somewhere. Let us know if you’ve ever come across it!

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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