Anger as sacred 7th Century well left like "fly-tipping site" by visitors seeking cures

The Clootie Well is believed to hold special powers - but now resembles a 'fly-tipping site' as visitors leave behind bits of junk at the site. PIC: FLS.
The Clootie Well is believed to hold special powers - but now resembles a 'fly-tipping site' as visitors leave behind bits of junk at the site. PIC: FLS.
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For hundreds of years, vistiros to a Highland healing well have left offerings in hope of a cure or a turnaround in fortune

But now, the Clootie Well at Munlochy on the Black Isle resembles a "fly-tipping site" after some of the offerings veered far from tradition.

Shoes, electrical goods and even a venetian blind have been left by visitors to the site, where pilgrims have visited since at least the 7th Century.

Traditionally, a piece of cloth would be tied to a tree in the belief that when it disintegrated, a disease or woe would go with it to.

READ MORE: The history of Scotland's healing water wells

Now, a mass clean up has been organised at the site by Forestry Land Scotland, which owns the Munlochy site, after concerns were raised about the state of the historic spot.

Maree Morrison, for the FLS team in the area, said: “Munlochy’s Clootie Well has been a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of years – possible since the 7th century.

READ MORE: Six strange tales form Scotland's sacred stone sites

"Visitors would leave a rag offering to the healing spirits and this would gradually deteriorate as the healing magic did its work.

“The Well is still a very popular site today but many of the offerings left by visitors are not biodegradeable cotton or wool - plastics and polyesters won’t rot away so they won’t be much help."

The community clean-up came about after local resident Annette George, was left shocked at its condition

Ms George said: “I’ve lived in the area for about fifteen years and I’d noticed a steady decline in the site but a recent visit to Clootie Well left me in tears.

"The branches of the surrounding trees were weighed down with clothes, shoes, electrical equipment and even a venetian blind. It resembled a fly tipping site rather than an ancient holy well.

“I felt compelled to contact Forestry and Land Scotland to let them know of my concerns. Amongst the jokey items people had also left sentimental messages and wish requests, so removing those cloots had to be done respectfully."

A community clear-up has now been organised by Ms Geoge and Forestry Land Scotland on Saturday, October 26, from 12 noon until 4pm.

Tea, coffee, reiki sessions, kids trails, crafts and story telling will be on offer.

All clean up equipment will be provided by FLS.

Free spaces can be booked here with residents urged to make the short walk from Munlochy village rather than take a car to the site.