Kelpies Footmarked Stone by Vayne Castle
In James Mackinlay’s ‘Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs’ (1893) he states ‘If anyone refuses to believe in the existence of water-horses, let him go to the parish of Fearn, in Forfarshire, and there, near the ruined castle of Vayne, he will see on a sandstone rock the print of a kelpy’s foot. Noran Water flows below the castle, and the mysterious creature had doubtless its home in one of its pools.’
According to ‘The history and traditions of the land of the Lindsays in Angus and Mearns’ by Andrew Jervise (1853) ‘ A little east of the castle, close by the side of the Noran, a large sandstone has lain from time immemorial, bearing a deep indentation resembling the hoof of a colossal horse with the impress of one of the caulkers of the heel. This has been fashioned by the falling out of a large pebble imbedded in the stone, though at first glance it looks like an artificial work. It is popularly called the Kelpies Footmark, and was believed to have been occasioned by his step while bounding among the rocks. Some of the largest of these he not only amused himself by overturning when the water was swollen, but, as if conscious of his own unbridled power, he boldly seated himself on others, and called lustily for help, in the feigned voice of a drowning person, that so he might lure his victim to the river!
The people of Waterstone were at one time much annoyed in this way, because there was a certain amount of danger, it is said, from the deceptive nature of the adjoining ford, which is much deeper than is indicated by the clearness of the water; and, with a view also to deceive the neighbours, when any real case of drowning occurred, Kelpie ever and anon called out —
” A’ the men o’ Waterstone ! — Come here ! come here ! ”
The mark in the stone was probably caused by a rock that had been embedded in the larger piece of sandstone falling out leaving an indentation.