chosen isolation

Isolation – the absence of others. A state of mind and body very much sought after by the early Christians. This was not the (splendid) isolation of the 19th century. This was the decision to live as a hermit, a recluse, a man alone with his faith and God. Nothing splendid about that.  Muthill was one... Continue Reading →

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the forgotten war

When at the end of the Second World War the United States of America and the Russian Federation divided the Japanese occupied Korea into North and South, the conflict was by no means at an end. North Korea, with the authorisation of Josef Stalin, invaded South Korea to bring the south under communist rule. The... Continue Reading →

for the devil to hide

Scotland has a few round and a few octagonal churches. The thought behind both unusual forms is the same: in a building without corners, the devil has nowhere to hide. It could of course also have practical or aesthetic reasons but the old myth of the devil hiding in corners is very much alive in... Continue Reading →

death and old age

  Killin Old Kirkyard is not in use anymore, the last burial took place in March 1994. Then the graveyard was closed; no more bodies to be interred here. On the banks of the River Lochy, behind the Killin Hotel, Killin graveyard is entered through an old gate. Sometimes hotel staff sneak out here for... Continue Reading →

deadly woman

This is an old and bloody story, told among the people of Brig o’ Turk about a brave Scottish woman fighting an English soldier. The woman was one Ellen Stewart or Stuart, and she defended herself and the other women of the glen in a true Highlands way. Ellen Stewart’s great grandson, who lived in Brig... Continue Reading →

Roman end and new beginnings

The Romans had occupied parts of Perthshire about 2000 years ago. They came further north than expected in 200 AD. Their number was legion, Caracalla led a force of about 30.000 men and camped near Braco at Black Hill, one of the steepest hills in the Sidlaw range. They built 7 camps, a vast area... Continue Reading →

on an empty grave

Here lies Nothing. The impious Resurrectionist At night dared to invade This quiet spot, and upon it Successful inroads made. And when to relatives the fact Distinctly did appear. The stone was placed to tell the world, There's Nothing resting here.   A headstone placed on a grave where a snatched body should have been.... Continue Reading →

eternal king

Old Olnafirth Kirk lies in ruins and has done so for more than a century. It was once known as St. Olaf`s Church and goes back around 300 years. Saint Olaf is not a traditional name in the Christian world but it is a famous one and one that left its mark through many centuries... Continue Reading →

death ye mercat

This world is a citie Ful of streets, And death ye mercat That al men meets. If lyfe were a thing, That monie could Buy, the puir could Not live, and ye rich would not die. (Elgin) Hamish Brown: A Scottish Graveyard Miscellany. Birlinn, Edinburgh; 2008        

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