WITCH O' THE
AULD NORTH BURN
by Eric Shackle
In 18th century Scotland, in the town of Airdrie, lived Maggie Ramsay. She
was believed to be a witch, even to be in league with the devil, for she spent
much of her time walking by the Auld North Burn (Old North Stream). Here was
where she gathered the herbs and flowers for use in her potions. She spoke as
she walked, some said to herself, others said to demons. The banks of the burn
where Maggie walked were known at the time as Fiddlenaked Park. Legend had it
that all of Scotland's witches met there on at least one night every year. Some
flew in on broomsticks, some flew in on pigs and others rode in on men turned
into horses for the occasion.
You can find that fascinating tale on The
Wanderer's Internet site.
Fiddlenaked Park. What a marvelous name! Did it have a Lovers' Lane?
Webmaster Lachlan MacDiarmid, who wrote the above story, was brought up in
Airdrie and on his way to school in the 1950s often took a shorcut through what
used to be called Fiddlenaked Park.
"Getting a detention meant coming home that way alone in the dark."
he recalls with a shudder. Now, nearly 50 years later, he lives in London,
"where I repair trains on the Tube (underground railway)."
Asked how he came to write about Maggie Ramsay, he says "A group of us
joined a writers' circle, a sort of pity-party for wannabe writers. One of the
younger members persuaded us to get an Internet connection and he put some of
our stuff on the Web...
"The woman who organised the group was arrested for throwing oranges at
pigeons in Trafalgar Square and upsetting the tourists. Or maybe she threw
oranges at tourists and upset the pigeons... The group degenerated into a
boozing club, which was more fun. But, like many drinking clubs, it eventually
dissolved. We were never very good at writing anyway."
For more about the witch, see The
Legend of Maggie Ramsay.
Copyright © 2002 Eric
Shackle Story first posted April 2002