Friday, 19 June 2009

Nine Maidens Day Commemoration

Two Angus communities re-enacted an ancient local tradition in celebrating Nine Maidens Day recently. On Sunday, 14th June, a group of ENKCA members set out from Easter Denoon to meet residents of Glenogilvy at the march fence that runs between Ark Hill and Auchterhouse Hill, separating Glenogilvy from Denoon.

Legend has it that St Donald and his nine daughters lived in Glenogilvy until St Donald’s death. The nine maidens were then granted land in Abernethy, Fife, by the Pictish King. From there, the nine maidens travelled all over Scotland to spread the gospel. As each of the maidens died, her body was taken back to Abernethy and buried under an old oak tree.

It is recorded that the womenfolk of Glamis parish used to travel over to Abernethy to celebrate Nine Maidens Day on 15 June each year. This practice was banned in the mid-1700s as the women were required to work in the linen industry which was thriving in the area at that time.

This year, at a wooden bridge close to the boundary fence, the ENKCA group was welcomed to Glenogilvy by the ‘Glenners’ and the groups partook of a dram from the Nine Maidens Quaich. The visitors were then escorted down the Glen and shown points of interest and given a brief history of the area on the way. The walk finished with a fund-raising barbecue hosted by some of the residents of Glenogilvy.

Neil McLeod said, “Last year a party of residents from Glenogilvy had a walk on to the hill and, after searching out some old bench marks and boundary stones, enjoyed a picnic to mark Nine Maidens Day - perhaps the first such celebration since the mid 1700s! This year, it was decided to use the event to cement relations between the two neighbouring communities and raise funds for the new community hall in Balkeerie. I hope this will be the start of a new tradition and a resurrection of the Nine Maidens Day celebration in the area.” .

The sum of £300 raised will go towards ENKCA’s fund for the building of its planned Community Hub.
ENKCA chair, Fiona Brown said, “We are all very grateful to Alice and Neil MacLeod and their neighbours in Glen Ogilvy for their generosity in organising the event and providing the excellent barbecue – the prospect kept our spirits up while we were walking in the thunderstorm. The total raised will be doubled because of matched funding awarded from the Scottish Rural Development Programme. Every fund raising event takes us nearer our goal.”

"Neil points out "The Road to Dundee"