When you are travelling around Scotland and Ireland, you start to notice strange artificial islands situated on lochs and lakes. What you are looking at are crannogs and they are what remains of Bronze Age/Iron Age dwellings. The settlements were made of wood or stone and would have looked similar to Iron age roundhouses.They were probably used as symbols of wealth, for defence and to keep animals and sometimes for metal works and storage. They were still in use up to the late 17th Century and early 18th Century. Sophisticated in structure, there is evidence that in their heyday( Iron Age), some might have had two storeys and were treated like forts. The roundhouses would have been very expensive to build, in regards to resources and labour, an indication of the status of the owner.

Excavators started looking at Crannogs in the late 1800s and early 1900s, after similar structures were found in the Alps, however they had to wait for technology to advance, before one was finally completed in 1980. Oatbank was found to be a round structure, which was constructed on top of long poles, with sharpened ends, like pencils, dug deep into the loch’s bed. Surprisingly, as wood is one of the first things to erode, they found various household items such as a wooden plate and spoon as well as vessels, traces of animal dung and food items were also found. Read more about the excavation here.http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/trail/archaeology/iron_age/scottish_crannogs_08.shtml

There are ¬†ancient myths of fairy paths. linking prehistoric sites, such as crannogs to one another. Their underwater paths were lined with coral. Consequences of blocking a path, either underwater or above ground could result in supernatural occurrences. Builders in Ireland actually constructed houses so that they had an adjacent front and back door, so fairies could/can walk straight through. Also people left holes in houses, if that part was going to interrupt the fairy path. Before building, the construction might be mapped out with stones, if they remained undisturbed by morning they knew they hadn’t gone through any fairy ways. This practive might be still going on. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_path

Writing Tasks

You are swimming in a loch in Scotland and you come across a crannog, you go onto the island and notice something, someone very small is in the bushes, you go to investigate. Free write(15-20 minutes).

You have just moved into an old house in Ireland, unknown to you, rumour has it that is is constructed on a fairy path. On the first night you hear strange laughter. (15- 20 minutes).

Write a poem about swimming out to a crannog or a house built on a fairy path.(15-30 minutes).

Happy Writing!

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