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Myths & Legends from Scotland & Beyond

Us Scots love a bit of mythology. Believe in legends or not, the stories of Loch Ness, Fingal’s Cave and the Corryvreckan (the world’s third-largest whirlpool) have left a lasting impression on our proud nation.

But what about other countries across the world? No nation is without its mythological belters. Below, we dive into the details of some of what we think are the most fascinating legends in the world. Whether they’re up to Scottish standards or not is up for you to decide.

Nessie, Scotland

How could we talk about myths and legends from around the world without giving our local Nessie a mention? The first recorded sighting of the beast that roams our second-largest loch was in 565 AD. During the 20th century, up to 20 alleged sightings have been recorded every year.

We don’t really know whether Nessie truly roams the depths of Loch Ness. But we do enjoy the hunt! Besides, there’s a lot to see at Loch Ness, from castle ruins to stunning scenery. If you’re interested, come and have a wee gander.

You can try your luck at hunting this mythical monster on our Loch Ness tour from Edinburgh. Will you be the legendary person to proof Nessie's existence?

Devil's Pool, Australia

When it comes to myths and legends in Australia, Uluru – or Ayers Rock – is the most well-known. Cultural ceremonies have taken place here for over 10,000 years. But the indigenous folks of Australia have stories to tell about the far reaches of this continent-sized country.

In Cairns, for example, the Babinda Boulders have taken on the eerie nickname of “Devils’ Pool.” Legend has it that a runaway bride called Oolana leapt from the boulders to her watery grave after being separated from her soon-to-be husband.

Today, her spirit allegedly lures men into the dangerous waters to join her. If the legend is true, Oolana has claimed the lives of 17 since 1959. The area is now fenced off with a spooky warning: “He came for a visit … and stayed forever.” If you plan a trip to Cairns, we dare you to get as close as you can to the Devil’s Pool (under the supervision of a tour guide).

Pattan's Pumpkin, India

Great floods have been the plot of great stories for millennia. Some believe Noah saved God’s creatures by building a not-so-wee ark. The Irula people of the Sahyadri Mountains in southern India believe a farming bloke named Pattan saved his family and a bunch of animals from rising waters by using a giant pumpkin. If it floats, it’ll do.

The Adventures of Thor, Scandinavia

The Norsemen, or Vikings, left their mark on the British Isles, but who guided them on their raiding and settling journeys from Scandinavia? According to Norse mythology, many gods oversaw and controlled the lives of the Vikings. Thor is perhaps the most famous of all Norse gods.

He was the son of Odin, the gaffer of all gods. But people remember Thor thanks to his hammer, which he used to create thunder. Imagine voyaging across the North Sea knowing Thor’s having a fit just above you. You’d certainly have to be ‘off yer heid’ to make that journey.

Jason and the Argonauts, Greece

According to Greek mythology, Jason and his team were the heroes of the seas. Not only did they explore the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, but they also scrapped with giant monsters. And they pushed on despite encounters with boulders and perilous weather (perhaps caused by Thor?). On their way home, they had it out for one last time with a giant on the island of Crete. They won, obviously, before returning to Iolcus.

Even if you don’t get a chance to see Nessie, Scotland is a land of wee miracles and mighty landscapes. Check out our range of epic tours to taste a little of everything it has to offer.