Take 5

Folk Tales and stories from across the Highlands

The Highlands have provided rich inspiration for stories and tales for centuries. On Museum of the Highlands, there are lots of objects to give your students a glimpse into this rich creative world.

1) Start with a remarkable object from the West Highland Museum: a walking stick owned by Bard Iain Lom, made Poet Laureate by King Charles II.
Iain Lom’s Walking Stick | Museum of the Highlands

2) Dig into two fascinating folk tales. Explore the stories told and passed down by families, inspired by the years following the Glencoe Massacre, when ‘A Soldier Visits an Inn’.
Or get to grips with a story of sea monsters from the Seaboard villages, in ‘A Fisherman’s Tale’. Could there be a more mundane explanation?
A Soldier Visits an Inn | Museum of the Highlands
A fisherman’s Tale | Museum of the Highlands

3) Find out more about the fishing village that inspired the writing of award-winning Highlands author Neil Gunn, by discovering the sculpture to honour his most-famous novel at Dunbeath and watching the short video exploring his impact as a writer.
Sculpture of ‘Kenn and the Salmon’ | Museum of the Highlands
Neil Gunn’s Dunbeath | Museum of the Highlands
You can also see a range of his novels at Dunbeath Museum.
Selection of Works by Neil Gunn | Museum of the Highlands

4) Hear from a contemporary writer who has found inspiration in our region. Susan Fletcher first caught the critics’ eyes when she won the Whitbread First Novel Award for Eve Green, before turning her attention to Glencoe for a novel exploring the fate of a young woman accused of witchcraft. In a set of videos for Museum of the Highlands, she talks about how the Glen provided rich material for her writing.
Exploring Glencoe with Susan Fletcher | Museum of the Highlands
If you want to hear more, Susan also shared her insights in a career-based video on the site. Listen to Susan discussing what it’s like to be a writer.
What’s it like being a writer? (video) | Museum of the Highlands

5) Delve further into the witchcraft theme to uncover the story of Isobel Gowdie, the woman from Nairnshire accused of being a witch in the 17th century. Find out what brought her to people’s attention.
Isobel Gowdie | Museum of the Highlands

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