Louise Boulanger

Location: Torridon
the natural world, gaelic culture, hiding places

The Shieldaig mermaid

An article in the Caledonian Mercury in 1851 told of a strange sighting on the rocks in Kinloch.

‘In the hyperborean village of Shieldaig, on the western shore of Scotland, a lady appeared the other morning whose appearance is likely to throw the sea serpent into the shade. It appears that a number of women had risen pretty early, as their custom is, to go for fuel to the Gascan, when the attention of one was attracted by a number of sea-mews which were hovering and screaming near the church. On a further inspection she discovered a lady sitting on the rock, with a comb and glass in her hand, singing one of her madrigals in a plaintive voice, and duly pointed her out to the others, who all maintain that they saw the strange apparition. The probability is, that this mermaid was one of the Raasay white seals, which are known to sit frequently on rocks during the night uttering plaintive sounds; but so superstitious are the fishers here that not a single boat has put to sea since.’

There are still plenty of seals in the bay by Kinloch at Shieldaig today. Local youngsters often play in the water, diving and jumping from the pontoon and pier, enjoying water sports in their wetsuits and at times girls can be seen swimming wearing modern mermaid tail style costumes.

As contributed by Anne MacRae, resident of Torridon

More information on visiting the area can be found here.