The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Regional Food Fund gave us a grant for our Spirited Stories project.  The fund is aligned to the Food Tourism Scotland Action Plan, and is part of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Recovery Plan, supported by Scottish Government.  The fund was specifically aimed at collaborative projects that:

  • Contribute to the food and drink sector’s recovery from Covid-19
  • Contribute to the promotion and sales of regional produce
  • Develop food tourism
  • Benefit a region or community, rather than just one business

We would like to express our thanks to the fund holders, as putting this collection has taught us a lot about regional culture, legends and folklore, we’ve met some amazing people (we always welcome more :-)), and most of all, it was great fun! 

We hope you enjoy these stories as much as we enjoyed finding them That they tempt you to explore new areas of Scotland, and maybe discover some new Spirited Stories of your own!

Region by Region discover some of the best Scottish Spirited Stories.

North East Scotland

Drinkin’ Drams

Charles Ashton recites a poem about a favourite occupation in and around whisky country

Bothy Ballads

Hector Riddell explain the north-east’s singing tradition

The Lost Pot Still

Two illicit distilling stories from Glenlivet, related by Charles Ashton

The Deeside Highway Man

Ailsa Ferguson tells the tale of a hungry highwayman who had a lucky escape.

Fit’s A Skink

Read about the origins of Banffshire’s most famous dish.

Central Scotland

Shoals of Herrin’

Ewan MacColl sings a well-known ballad about herring fishing, once a vital trade along the UK’s east coast.

Fussy Fairies

Two tales of fairies in Angus read by Ailsa Ferguson.

The Miles to Dundee

Folk singer Tony Cuffe sings the catchy song ‘The road and the miles to Dundee’. Singalong!

Tony Cuffe – rareTunes.

Alloa Ale

Celebrity combines with Alloa ale – a beer also celebrated in verse. Charles Ashton tells the story and recites the poem.

The Tod

Roddy McMillan sings a gentle ballad about a fox who went out hunting.

 Roddy McMillan – rareTunes


An Ingenious idea from an illicit whisky-maker on Loch Tay.

The Highlands

The Big Grey Man

Spooky sightings on a mountain – and the poem inspired by it. Told by Charles Ashton

The Deil’s Awa With The Exciseman

Tain band Gizzenbriggs sing a cheerful song about the hated exciseman.

The Kelpie’s Chimney

Read a Highland fable about an angry kelpie living in a loch near Dingwall.

Orkney & Shetland

Spirit Smuggling

Charles Ashton relates how Shetland has mixed its spirits.

The Dancing Giants

What happens when giants get carried away with their dancing? Story told by Tom Muir.

Tales for Troubled Times (

The Weather Witches

Witches have a special relationship with the wind.

Tales for Troubled Times (

Western Isles & Skye

Decisions, Decisions…

Two tales about a crafty decision-maker from the Isle of Skye, read by Charles Ashton.

The Witches of Tangusdale

A fishy story from the island of Barra, told by Ailsa Ferguson.

Southern Scotland

The Secret of Heather Ale

Charles Ashton tells a Galloway tale about a special ale – and the poem inspired by it.

The Haunted Road

A spooky story from Dumfries and Galloway, told by Ailsa Ferguson.


Baby or Barrel?

Ailsa Ferguson relates two tales of hiding whisky on the islands of Mull and Jura.

The Mysteries of Iona

Charles Ashton recalls some of the strange happenings on this holy island.

Heavenly Harp

Judith Peacock Cummings plays the gentle Gaelic tune ‘Ho Ro Uilleim’ on the Scottish harp or clarsach.


The Gorbals Vampire

What made the children of Glasgow go on the rampage? Charles Ashton tells the tale and the scary poem behind it.

Beer Galore

Read about a consignment of beer recovered from the River Clyde after over 100 years.


Biscuit or Cake?

Ailsa Ferguson tells of a battle about baking.

The Charmed Circle

Read how brewing began in Edinburgh.