Munlochy Clootie Well
The ‘Clootie’ Well, Munlochy, Black Isle a healing well at Munlochy was dedicated to St Boniface (or Curidan). There is said to have once been a chapel on the site.
In Scots, a “clootie” or “cloot” is a strip of cloth or rag.
Clootie wells are wells or springs, almost always with a tree growing beside them, with an assortment of garments or rags left, often tied to the branches of the trees surrounding the well.
Clootie wells are found in Celtic Nations, Scotland, Ireland and Cornwall in England. In pre-Christian times a goddess or local nature spirit was said to inhabit the well, with special powers of healing. Later in Christian times a Saint replaced the goddess or spirit by being associated with the wells, in Munlochy’s case it is St Boniface. (He is the patron saint of Germany and the first archbishop of Mainz. He was born in the kingdom of Wessex, today Devon, England and was killed in Frisia, Germany in 754). Rags and clothing could also be tied to the trees surrounding the well, simply to honour the spirit of the well.
The tradition is that if you are ill you need to tie a piece of cloth that belongs to you to the tree near the well after it has been dipped in the water of the well.
Traditions do vary, at some wells the person who wants to be cured washes the affected part of their body with the wet rag and then ties the washing-rag on the branch; the ailment is supposed to fade away as thMunlochie-Clootiewell6.jpge rag disintegrates. In some locations the ceremony may also include circling the well a set number of times and making an offering of a coin, pin or stone. It is interesting that at the Munlochy well, the water flows into a small concrete basin, at the bottom of which are some coins.
Tradition states that anyone removing a rag will succumb to the misfortunes of the original owner.
The Munlochie Clootie Well is right beside the A832 Fortrose and Cromarty road, the car park is ideal for visiting the well safely. The carpark is suitable for bus/coach and has a disabled parking bay.
Munlochy is the nearest village, one mile away. OS Grid Reference: NH638538
There are woodland walks in the area which is managed by the Forestry Commission Scotland.
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