St Maha’s Well

Discovering St Maha’s Well

St Maha’s Well is an ancient holy well on the moors above Balmaha, known for its healing qualities. The small spring is marked by stones in a horseshoe-shape. Just above it, there is a small standing stone, which may be the remains of a stone cross or well house.

How did the well get its name?

The name for the nearby village of Balmaha comes from the Gaelic “Bealach Mo-Cha”, meaning ‘the pass of Saint Mo-Cha’. Both the village and the well are named after local patron saint, St Mo-Cha (also known as St Kentigerna or Caintigern), an 8th century widow who preached the gospel in Scotland, often called “an island anchoress.”

How did people use the well?

The history of holy wells and springs such as St Maha’s Well, goes back many centuries. The fresh water represented rebirth, purity and fertility. So people used it in religious rituals and for healing the sick. And today, you may still find people washing in the spring in the hope of curing their ailments.

How to find St Maha’s Well

The well lies on an old boundary between two parishes. It is quite difficult to find, but there are some good walking instructions here from The Square in Drymen village. Look out for a standing stone and find the well just below it.

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