Rowan tree, Lonsdale Quarry

The striking red berries of the Rowan tree stand out against the drab Autumn colours of the moors. The Rowan or Mountain Ash has long been associated with superstition and folklore. In Greek myology the goddess of youth, Hebe, lost her cup of ambrosia, said to rejuvenate youth. It was stolen by demons and the gods sent an eagle to retrieve it. In its fight with the demons the eagle lost blood and where every drop fell to earth a rowan tree grew. In Norse mythology the first woman was made from the Rowan. In Britain the Rowan is supposed to give protection against witchcraft and evil spirits, often planted near houses and churches. Cutting down a Rowan tree is considered bad luck although a spoon made of the wood prevented milk from curdling and a piece of the wood would be carried as charm against evil and to cure rheumatism. But the wood would have to be cut to make the spoon.

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