The Downie Hill is 15 minutes from where Morag, my new friend, lives in Nairn, Scotland. Can you see it through the field? No one around here seems to know about it. I talked to the farm family whose land it is on and a horsewoman neighbour named Downie, and they knew this was the Downie Wood, but they hadn’t heard about the hill. In witchcraft history, the Downie Hill is famous, the place where Isobel Gowdie met the fairy queen and the elves, all of whom lived in it.
I went there the other day, walked across the field, and stood in front of the hill, but didn’t try to push through the giant ferns to climb up it. But today Morag talked me into forging through the ferns and bracken, and we did it. We reached the top – also overgrown with ferns, as opposed to the satellite picture on the left that must have been taken in winter. We didn’t see any fairies or elves, but we stood there in silence for a bit and felt the silence and the breeze. Across the fields, in the distance, the sea.