Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Fairies Caves, Cullercoats

Most of the places I blog about require lots of trawling through old books, a bit of internet research, maybe some library visits, and at least 20 minutes of being buried under Ordinance Survey maps. However, this entry is about a place I stumbled across completely by accident! Though some would say there are no accidents.

There's a little costal bay in Cullercoats, home to a lifeboat station, old watch house, a marine laboratory, and some mysterious caves. I live in a town further up the coast and have been to Cullercoats on many occassions and wandered around the caves, but until a random glance at the tourist board one Spring afternoon in April, I had no idea they were known locally as the Fairies Caves!

I've never come across any fairy legends about the caves while reading local folklore and history books, so I imagine any stories that gave the caves their name were told verbally among the locals, rather than being written down. If anyone has any further information I'd love to hear it though.

In an interview on the Tyne & Wear Museums website a lady recalls her memories of old Cullercoats, she tells "I never ventured very far into the caves, but the caves were there, you know, there was the Fairy's Cave and there was the Smuggler's Cave, and so on". This suggests that the caves have been associated with fairies for some time, and the name wasn't invented purely for the tourist board. Perhaps the name was originally given to the smaller caves that are too small to be used by humans, and would have been perfectly sized for use by the local fairies!

There's no shortage of mysterious caves along this stretch of coast, including a cave full of goblins and infernal demons at Tynemouth, i'll save that for a future blog though!


4 comments:

HJ Blenkinsop said...

Love this post! I was just at Cullercoats the other day with my mam and had no idea that the caves were there. She doesn't know of any Fairy association, only that it was a fishing village and she remembers women sitting outside selling winkles... I think a trip to the Lit and Phil might be in order to find out more...

The Faery Folklorist said...

Be sure to let me know if you manage to find anything out about the caves, would love to know where the Fairy part of the name comes from!! :)

GRAEME HUTCHISON said...

I remember 1970 going into cave with candles and eating wincled with a pin.Was 5 years old and could go there by myself from whitleybay.The cave scared me.

The Faery Folklorist said...

What lovely memories Graeme!! Did people refer to them as fairies caves back then do you remember?