Funny Scottish Epitaphs – the Sorbie Soldier

Here lies removed from mundane scenes, A major of the King's Marines, Under arrest in narrow borders He rises not till further orders. Raymont Lamont-Brown: Scottish Epitaphs. Chambers, Edinburgh, 1990

Peebles and Santa Claus

The Cross Kirk played an important role for the people of Peebles in the past. Not anymore. The ruin suggests a massive and castle-like construction, an atmosphere of war rather than prayer seems to surround it. This was once a monastery, one of many that flourished in Scotland’s South in the Middle Ages and then... Continue Reading →

death makes no distinction

If you mention the name Carstairs every Scotsman will think of one thing: the State Hospital, the high-security prison for the criminally insane. It is part of the NHS and treats patients from Scotland and Northern Ireland. Carstairs' reputation is powerful; murderers whose actions have terrified the nation, are kept just a few miles outside... Continue Reading →

kirk o’ the forest

They called it "the forest", plain and simple, there was never another one that size and importance. The Ettrick forest is extraordinary in the history of Scotland, its worth was political, biological and geographical. When one spoke of the forest, everyone knew which one was meant. There was only one of these dimensions; it reached... Continue Reading →

names and nemesis

Yarrow kirkyard Names locate people, especially in Scotland. Many of the big names are names from the Highlands, like MacDonald. In the south of Scotland, the picture looks different, other surnames established: Armstrong, Scott, Maxwell, for example. All over Scotland nicknames were given generously and just like in the Highlands, each Border clan has a... Continue Reading →

the shepherd and the poet

James Hogg was one of Scotland’s major writers and is (especially in the Scottish Borders) a celebrated author of poetry, essays and novels, his books belong to the curriculum in the upper grades at schools and literature courses of universities. But internationally he is far less known as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns or Robert... Continue Reading →

seven slain brothers

The Douglas clan was a powerful one in ancient Scotland, respected and sometimes feared. Mothers would use the name to pressure their children: Be good or the black Douglas will get you. They were called Black Douglas, for their inclination as well as their complexion; they were a rather dark-skinned family. One of the many... Continue Reading →

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