The Scots have a rich and varied history, one that is filled with exciting legends and traditions. Their myths, legends and tales reflect the landscape and people of Scotland, as well as its long, dark winters.

There are several different Scottish myths that have stood the test of time. These stories have been told and retold for generations, with some dating back to early medieval times. Despite their popularity, many of these stories contain a significant level of darkness and mystery. They often feature natural elements such as fire, rain, water, and caves – all of which play a prominent role in the following myths.
These famous Scottish myths range from supernatural creatures such as fairies to beastly villains like bloodthirsty savages. There are also several stories about love and marriage mixed in there too! Let’s take a look at which ones you might know…

The Gorbals vampire mural in the gorbals
See the Gorbals vampire mural in the Gorbals

What are the most famous Scottish myths?

The most famous Scottish myths explore themes of love and betrayal, good and evil. They also include scary stories about monsters and strange creatures. Traditional tales like ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’ have been adapted over time to suit local dialects, but still retain much of their original meaning. Here are some examples of the most famous Scottish myths…

One of the most well-known Scottish myths is the Loch Ness Monster. It was said to resemble a dinosaur and was first reported about 1,500 years ago. It was said to have jumped out of the lake and ate a farmer. Stories of the Loch Ness Monster have been circulating ever since, and photos and sightings have been reported.


One of the most famous Scottish myths involves a mythical creature called the selkie. It is believed to be half animal, half human, and struggles to maintain its dual identity. It is thought that it is particularly dangerous to pregnant women, as it can cause birth defects. But there are many theories about the selkie’s origin. Regardless of its source, it is a fascinating myth.

Selkies are essentially water spirits that take on different forms. Although they are most commonly found in Orkney, Shetland, and the Outer Hebrides, they are not exclusive to Scottish mythology. They also appear in Icelandic, Faroe Islands, and Irish folklore. They have also been mentioned in the folklore of the Inuit and Chinook people of the West Coast of America.

The selkie is a spirited creature and often lifts people’s spirits with smiles, kind words, and a swim. The selkie is said to marry men on land, but it is thought that her first love is the sea. According to one story, a selkie was once married to a fisherman, but he forgot to lock the key to his trunk. However, his children found the key and rescued the selkie, who was then married and given a pelt.

Loch Ness Monster

Many people believe that the Loch Ness Monster lives in the Scottish lochs, but there is no evidence to support this claim. Many people have photographed the monster and claimed to see its face in the water. However, many of these photos have been discredited as fakes. Wilson’s famous photograph, which is widely considered to be the most famous Loch Ness Monster photo, is one such example. In reality, it is just a plastic and wood head that has been attached to a toy submarine.

The legend of the Loch Ness Monster was born in 1933 when an article published in the Inverness Courier described an upheaval in the Loch Ness. This article helped create the modern legend of the Loch Ness Monster. Researchers have made several attempts to uncover the truth about the Loch Ness Monster, and many have found contradictory evidence. However, some have claimed to have discovered DNA evidence from a creature that lives in the loch.

In the spring of 1933, the public’s interest in the Loch Ness Monster grew. After a couple reported seeing a monster on land, many London newspapers dispatched correspondents to Scotland. Radio programs were interrupted with updates on sightings. A British circus offered a reward of PS20,000 for the capture of the monster, and hundreds of boy scouts travelled to Scotland to hunt for the Loch Ness Monster. Outdoor enthusiasts also set up deck chairs to watch for the monster.

‘Jenny wi’ the ‘airn teeth’

‘Jenny wi’ the Airn teeth’ is a poem written in 1870 in a Scottish dialect. It is meant to warn children of the dangers of vampires. The poem may have contributed to the mass vampire hunt of the 1800s. It was reprinted in numerous books. The poem is not known to be the source of the famous Scottish vampire story of the same name.

‘Jenny wi’ the airn teeth’ is a story about a monster or vampire that roams the Cairn at night and carries children away. The children of the area would cling to their mothers when they heard the clip-clop of Jenny’s feet. The poem was written by Alexander Anderson, who wrote under the pen name Surfaceman. It was based on a legend of an iron-toothed figure that had been created by the parents.

‘Colin Gun Chean’

One of the most famous Scottish myths is that of ‘Colin Gun Chean’, a child who vanished into the Loch Ness and lived among the fairies. This story reflects the traditional beliefs of many Scottish people. The child vanished and was replaced with a replica of itself, and grew up among the fairies. The ‘fake child’ had some strange behaviour, and it was often used as an explanation for all sorts of ‘abnormalities’.

Many of the stories in Scotland are like catechisms. Robert the Bruce was allegedly taught by a spider, who later ate 1000 humans in a cave. Similarly, St Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow, arranged the catch of a salmon which swallowed the Queen of Strathclyde Languoreth.