Clach na Criche
Clach na Criche is an impressive boulder located along the mainland coast of the Sound of Mull. Distinctive in shape, looks like a stone wall with a hole in the middle.
This strange shaped stone was created millions of years ago when hot volcanic magma forced its way through the earth's crust and then hardened. Although natural in origin, it has played a part in local history and tradition for a long time.
Clach na Criche means boundary stone in Gaelic. Since prehistoric times people have used natural features to show the boundaries between one area and another. In later history it was often a way to indicate who owned an area of land. Rivers, mountains and even hedges were used to outline a person's property; anything that was distinctive and permanent in the landscape could be used.
Clach na Criche's distinctive shape would be excellent in this role. In fact, it is locally said that it was used to mark the boundary between the medieval church parishes of Cill Choluimchille and Cill Fhionntain; also known as Kilcolmkill and Killintag. Historical records mention these parishes as early as the 15th century; it appears that they united during the 16th century.
Wish upon a stone
Many natural places in Scotland have stories and traditions attached to them that make them a part of people's everyday life. Locals believed that Clach na Criche held magical properties to fulfil wishes.
Local folklore tells of a well or spring that existed nearby to the stone. To gain your wish you had to fill your mouth with water and pass through the hole in Clach na Criche three times, without touching the stone with your hands. While doing this you must continue to hold the water in your mouth and think hard of your heart's desire. On completing this ritual, your wish would be granted.
Another tradition was to pay respects to the dead at Clach na Criche. The Wishing Stone was a stopping place on the twelve mile funeral march from Lochaline to Drimnin graveyard.
"Peace to thy stone and a stone to thy cairn".
Traditional Gaelic Benediction
The mourners would walk down to the beach and each take a stone to build a cairn, a pile of stones. This would serve as a monument to remember their loved one who had just died.
Local historian Ian Thornber provided this information.
Visiting Clach na Criche
The exact location of Clach na Criche is grid reference NM 604 467.
The stone is accessible at the side of the B849 in Morvern, roughly a kilometre past the campsite at Fiunary.
All sites managed by Forestry Commission Scotland are open for you to explore. However, not all sites have paths or signage and some are a considerable distance from car parking. We recommend that visitors consult a detailed map and wear appropriate clothing.
Please follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and remember that historic sites should be treated with care and respect.