The story goes that a Mahratta chief at length succeeded in scaling the precipice and in carrying off the horse, and although the thief was captured before reaching the base of the hill, the spell was broken and the fort, when next attacked, fell.
Except at the landingplace on the south-east, the cliffs rise sheer out of deep water, and on the north-east side the highest eminence in the island, Conagher, forms a precipice 1220 ft.
The caverns in the sides of the precipice are said to have afforded Wallace and other heroes (or outlaws) refuge in time of trouble, but the old house is most memorable as the home of the poet William Drummond, who here welcomed Ben Jonson; the tree beneath which the two poets sat still stands.
Two goats were provided by the ancient Hebrews on the Day of Atonement; the high priest sent one into the desert, after confessing on it the sins of Israel; it was not permitted to run free but was probably cast over a precipice; the other was sacrificed as a sin-offering.
To this, which seems authentic, is usually added the tradition (due to the abbe Boileau) that afterwards he used at times to see an imaginary precipice by his bedside, or at the foot of the chair on which he was sitting.