The Aberlemno sculptured stones are a main tourist attraction in Angus. Ancient and easily accessible right by the side of a small country road, the B9134.
Beautifully carved with intricate detail and magical names (Serpent Stone) they date back more than a thousand years.
Impressive as well as intricate and not to be missed.
A reminder of another world, when Angles and Picts were at war in Scotland.
What most visitors often do miss though is the kirkyard (kirk is the Scots word for church) across the fields.
Another one of the Pictish stones is displayed here that boast ancient symbols carved before Scotland became a Christian country. This stone tells the story of the Battle of Nechtansmere (The Battle of Dun Nechtain) fought in 685 and won by the Picts over the invading forces from Northumbria.
The small kirkyard is beautiful in its simplicity, the gravestones are nowhere near as intricate as the Pictish ones but express their own symbolism, certainly inspired by the work of the old Scottish tribe that has left only a few traces of its existence in Scottish History. There are no written records. Only stones. But these stones talk.
Double disc and stags on old stone; hearts, stars, celtic patterns, heraldic symbols, leafs and flower on the newer ones, there’s plenty to discover. The oldest headstones rest against the kirkyard wall like tired pictures, to study and peruse with time and inclination….
Stone art that has been alive for centuries in this area. Time seems appropriately out of place amongst the graves.
How the world has changed since those stones in Aberlemno were carved and erected.
It has seen many wars and little peace, the rise of technology and idustrialisation and the fall of great Empires. Millions born and millions dead.
How small a life seems compared to these stones from a time long past.
The Aberlemno stones are reminders of time, of life and of death. Beautiful markers, indeed.
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Scotland is a country full of history, stories and secrets. Often, the three cannot be separated. That is what makes this country so wonderful and unique. The stories of this book have been discovered and gathered for Erkenbach’s blog, Graveyards of Scotland, over many years.
Her main sources were historical travel guides from the 18th and 19th centuries, where the finds were scary, beautiful, funny, and sometimes, cruel.This unusual approach to a country’s history has produced amazing results. You don’t have to share the author’s passion for cemeteries to enjoy this book; only a small number of the stories in this collection take place in graveyards, though they do all end in them, so perhaps it helps.
The fairy hill in Inverness, a nitrate murder on Shetland, a family of left-handers, wolves, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace shown in a new light, the secret bay of the writer Gavin Maxwell, a murdering poet and so many things you didn’t know about Scotland, its clans and its history.
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