The Preachers Footprints

The footsteps can still be seen

The footsteps can still be seen

The 180-year old footprints of preacher Finlay Munro.

The 180-year old footprints of preacher Finlay Munro today.

The Footprints, from GNM Collins, Principal John Macleod D.D. (1951)

The Footprints, from GNM Collins, Principal John Macleod D.D. (1951)

In Torgyle, Glenmoriston there are a set of footprints in the clay, these have been here since the 1820s. No grass grows here and even reappearing after the ground was dug up by vandals in the 1970s.

Local legend tells that they belonged to a visiting preacher, Finlay Munro, a strange and charismatic figure born in Tain. A preacher famous for walking the highlands and islands preaching an evangelical gospel to anyone who would listen. Many places he attracted immense congregations, like on Lewis where they all gathered on the low hill of Muirneag, a common place to meet for worship. Such were the numbers that Munro addressed the hill itself:
“Muirneag, Muirneag, it is you that may feel well pleased today with your new coat on” (Meaning the covering of people).

But his visit to Glenmoriston didn’t go as well, local Ministers resented this unkempt upstart and his interpretations of the scriptures. “The clergy were mad against him,” recalled Rev Alexander MacLean of North Uist, “and the ignorant and wild people dealt-brutally with him in every place”.

The preacher gave a sermon to a small community in Glenmoriston, but was heckled by some members of the congregation.  His tormentors were allegedly Roman Catholics from Glengarry.

His response to the gathered crowd was to claim that the ground on which he stood would bear witness to the truth of his words until the Day of Judgement came.

According to local legend, his footprints have remained on the same spot for 188 years.

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About Amanda Moffet

I run with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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