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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

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