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The Unicorn and fairies

Unicorn fairies falcon

Mythology surrounding the unicorn, a white horse-like creature with a single spiral horn, dates back to ancient times. They symbolise nobility, purity, strength, courage and magical healing powers. There is a legend that the unicorn’s horn has the ability to purify poisoned waters.

The Unicorn has long been associated with Scotland and has been depicted as a symbol of Scotland in heraldry dating back to the 12th century. The Royal Coat of Arms for Scotland shows a unicorn with a crown and gold chains.

You will find the unicorn in statues, stonework, flags and tapestries across Scotland. In Inverness, you can see a bronze unicorn on top of the Mercat Cross outside the Town House. This is also the home of the oldest known representation of the Burgh arms on a panel painted during the reign of King Charles 1 and on the stained glass windows at the top of the Town House staircase.

A more recent sculpture of a unicorn, by Gerald Laing, surrounded by four falcons, stands in Falcon Square in Inverness.

Fairies are also a feature of ancient European folklore. They play an important role in the myths and legends of Scotland. Again, endowed with magical powers, “faeries” are associated with many places across the Highlands, such as The Fairy Glen in Rosemarkie and the Fairy Pools in Skye, where they are believed to protect the waters.

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