Maiden Stone, Traprain Law, East Linton.
The Maiden Stone is simply a large slab of rock that has split
away from the adjacent outcrop to form a narrow, vertical gap
and is situated within the remains of a substantial Iron Age
hill fort and settlement on Traprain Law at a height of 221m.
Traprain Law is sign posted from the A1(T) at East Linton. The
hill is difficult to miss. Starting from the parking area on the
north side of Traprain law, cross the style to the west and follow
the winding footpath up the hillside. The Maiden Stone can be
found to the east end of the south face.
There are parking areas by the road side and along the verge to
north side of the hill.
The story goes that if a women (or man!) should walk, or
rather squeeze, through the gap between the Maiden Stone and
the Mother Rock, they will improve their fertility and also
bring good fortune. An additional point came to light after
an encounter with a local in Haddington, who claimed that
you must also be "skyclad" i.e. naked at the time.
You need to be careful though, as stones with such
traditions are also known to be frequented by mischievous
fairies and you may find that your clothing mysteriously
An email from a female resident of Aberlady, who wishes to
remain anonymous, added an additional item of information on the
tradition. She pointed out that if you are aware of the
tradition (see above) and you choose to ignore that tradition
while visiting the Maiden Stone or Traprain Law itself, you will
bring bad luck upon yourself.
Although I have been unable to find any documented evidence of
folklore associated with the Maiden Stone, its very name does
indeed hint at the possibility of ancient rituals and possibly
fertility rites. This was later reinforced by a discussion with
a local in Haddington when taking photographs of the Custom
Stone. He suggested to me, all be it with a wry smile, that you
must be naked when you pass through the gap between the Maiden
Stone and the natural "Mother" rock. This might not be
that fanciful as there are a number of stones dotted across the
British Isles that are associated with similar rituals.
Recent years have seen
Traprain Law attract attention from a slightly more unusual
field, that of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO’s). Various
sightings of strange lights and unusual objects seen in the sky
in and around Traprain Law have appeared in the local press and
it has also been suggested that Traprain Law (and also North
Berwick Law to the east) are "hot spots" for UFO
activity. As well as reported sighting of UFO’s from Traprain
Law, there have also been reports of a strange metallic object
falling from the sky. The National Museum of Scotland concluded
it was of "no known metal" and had been "milled
by machinery". A
fragment of strange material was also found on the hill by an
American lawyer who witnesses unusual lights over the hill,
something which has excited UFO researches around the world. However, tests have
shown it likely to be the remains of window cleaner's chamois leather.
Unidentified Flying Objects
are not the only strange occurrence in the area. There have also
been a number of sightings relating to large beasts roaming the
streets of Haddington and the surrounding countryside. These
creatures are often referred to as "alien big cats"
are believed to be puma's or other large cats.
The stone is fairly easy to find and the scenery is
breathtaking in fair weather with fantastic views to Fife in the
north, the Pentland Hills to the west, North Berwick Law to the
east and the Lammermuir Hills to the south. Add to that an Iron
Age hill fort and the remains of a burial cairn and you have a
site well worth a visit, even if you are not into ancient
stones. And finally, to answer the question you are no doubt
asking yourself. Did he or didn't he? Well, if I say that the
gap is narrow and the stone cold, you can then make up your own