Clootie / Cloutie Wells

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St Mary’s Clootie Well, Smithton-Culloden ©P Williams
St Mary’s Clootie Well, Smithton-Culloden ©P Williams

‘Cloutie’ or ‘Clootie’ wells are the name given to wells/springs, usually with a tree growing in close proximity, where strips of cloth and rags are left as part of a traditional healing ritual. They have been described as ‘… a survival of the age-old veneration of life-giving springs. Those suffering from illness hung a rag by the spring in the hope that their disease would decay along with the rag.’ ( www.walkhighlands.co.uk/lochness/Ormondcastle.shtml )

There are several of these still in existence. For example, the photograph above of St Mary’s Clootie Well between Smithton and Culloden were taken at the end of April 2010. Craigie Well at Avoch attracts offerings of coins as well as clooties and there is a well-known Clootie well with hundreds of rags at Munlochy (all on the Black Isle). For image of Munlochy Clootie well and more info go to:www.snh.org.uk/publications/on-line/livinglandscapes/springsflushes/spri...

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