The Legend of the Corryvreckan Whirlpool

Corryvreckan Whirlpool Pictures, Argyll, Scotland - Illustration by Rebecca Barnett

There are several variations of the main legend, and Breckan or Bhreacan is also spelt variously. He is, or was, almost certainly Scandinavian - but Norse or Danish?

Dr Patrick Gillies in Netherlorn [see books page for full extract] describes him as the son of the King of Lochlin, Norway's reigning monarch. See Dr Gillies' Version page.

On the other hand Martin Martin, another author, claims that the prince was from Denmark, and the local Storyteller in Argyll simply describes him as 'Norse or Viking'! Seton Gordon has yet another spelling, Breacain, describes the prince as of Norwegain origin, and seeking the hand in marriage of the daughter of none other than the Lord of the Isles himself!

Illustration [Left] Copyright Owned By Rebecca Barnett.

Corryvreckan Whirlpool Pictures, Argyll, Scotland - View From Inside The King's Cave

Almost all of the versions use the same three materials for the rope or anchor warp - wool, hemp and the hair of maidens - the latter quaintly described as 'of spotless fame'. Whether the intrepid Breacan had to sail all the way back to Scandinavia to consult the Wise Men of Lochlin, as is often quoted, or whether he sought advice locally in Argyll as the aforementioned Storyteller believes, is debateable.

Corryvreckan Whirlpool Pictures, Argyll, Scotland - Map Showing Corryvreckan Whirlpool

Certainly the Wise Men of Lochlin are frequently credited with suggesting the best materials for the ropes - and our brave prince then proceeded to persuade the local lassies to part with their beautiful hair!

Today, the legend provides plenty of scope for embellishment and the teller of the tale can let his or her imagination run free with it, perhaps lending new consequences and morals to the story along the way!

The Cailleach, or Hag of Winter

Read all about 'The Hag of Winter', also known as 'The Cailleach', whose name in Gaelic means the hooded, or veiled one ...

Modern myths sometimes abound about the Gulf of Corryvreckan and the waters in these parts - maybe one day these will be embellished to become legendary.

It is often said that the Royal Navy once described the Corryvreckan as unnavigable and there are many misplaced or erroneous facts published and told about the whirlpool - see the Royal Navy page for more information.

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