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The Flying Rowan

Free-range Folklore

Whilst on holiday in the Lakes we climbed Catbells. To do this the most popular route is via Skelgill and this is the route we took. If we did it again we’d probably take a different route but that’s a story for another day.

It flattens out between Skelgill and Catbells and at this point I spotted a flying rowan tree. This is an extremely auspicious tree and one I don’t see as much near me, although a local farm has not long planted five of them just outside the village.

The rowan tree is one of the most powerful plants for protection. Its other names are Mountain Ash, Witchen Tree and Witchwood. The witch in the name refers to its ability to protect against witches in particular but it is also considered effective against fairies, general curses and ill intentions. It’s extremely powerful in both the Christian and Pagan faiths and so it's not surprising that there are many ways to use it as protection, including hanging a sprig above your door.

A flying rowan is particularly auspicious as this is a rowan that has managed to find its roots on a very stoney, precipitous ledge. Skelgill is just that in places and this little rowan was definitely flying. It is extremely lucky and it is said that people have created walking staffs from them as a particularly potent magical good luck charm. You can find a picture of it at the end of the video and below. In the distance, to the left, below the opposite fell, are a row of three farm houses. We were staying in the one on the far left.

Flying rowan on Skegill ridge

I saw so many thriving rowan trees on our trip to Cumbria, it was a joy and it took me back to my childhood when I was about 8 or 9 and planted a rowan tree in Devon somewhere. That tree will be around 35 years old now and I wonder what it may look like, if only I knew where is was. Wherever it is I hope it is still growing strong and has brought plenty of luck to the land.

Cerridwen's Cauldron
Cerridwen's Cauldron
Dawn Nelson