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Cnoc an t-Sithein


(Angel's Hill, Cnoc nan Angeal)

A grassy knoll rising above the machair in the W of the island of Iona in the Inner Hebrides, Cnoc an t-Sithein (literally, 'Mound of the Fairies') lies to the south of the road which cuts across the island to the Bay at the Back of the Ocean, ¾ mile (1.2 km) west southwest of Baile Mor. This is most-likely the Angel's Hill (Gael: Cnoc nan Angeal or Colliculo Angelorum in Latin) mentioned by Pennant (1774), where St. Columba is said to have spoken with the angels, a miracle originally described in Adamnan's Life of Columba (Vita Sancti Columbae). Pennant suggests the hill was crowned by a small stone circle with a cairn in the middle, but later investigations could find no evidence of these structures. The islanders once raced their horses clockwise around the hill on the feast day of St. Michael.


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