Well, Minchmoor, Traquair.|
Two dressed but well weathered stones mark a small freshwater
spring called the Cheese Well on the high and often desolate
Minchmoor Road between Traquair and Selkirk. One stone, older
than the other bears the inscription "Cheese Well".
The second stone, obviously modern, also bears the same name and
is dated 1966. Two inscribed stones were placed adjacent to the
well by the resident of Camp Shiel in 1965.
The Minchmoor road forms part of the Southern Upland Way and is
well sign posted from Traquair village, near Innerleithen. Simply
follow the Way marked route up hill from Traquair, continue
through the forested areas. The Cheese Well is on the south side
of the footpath level with Minch Moor.
There is a large parking area beside the village hall in Traquair
It is said that if you pass the well you should leave an
offering, usually cheese - hence the name, to the Fairies or
"Wee Folk" who are supposed to haunt the area.
This would ensure a safe and successful journey. The Cheese
Well may have been a pagan shrine in the past, whose
veneration has fallen to superstition. The Minchmoor road,
an ancient drove road, was notorious in the past for bandits
and travellers probably needed all the luck they could get!
Although the two stones marking the Cheese Well are modern,
having been placed there in the 1960's, they do not look out of
place and help to maintain the tradition associated with this
location. Long before the creation of the Southern Upland Way
the Cheese Well was on the route of an ancient drove road and
the tradition of leaving an offering, a piece of cheese, for the
Fairies, no doubt pre-dates it by countless years.