The Battle of Culloden was a terrible turning point in the history of Scotland.
For many it felt like the devastation of a nation. Short as it was (it lasted no more than an hour) it was deadly and consequential in the extreme. On a political level but also on a very private one. So many families lost fathers, brothers, husbands, nephews, sons, uncles, cousins, grandsons….
The loss of a loved one was felt all over Scotland and the wives, mothers and children had nowhere to go with their grief. No grave to visit, no place to bring flowers to, all that was left was a faraway mass grave on a bloody moor.
No act nor ritual with which they could take leave.
The Stewarts of Appin had fought in the Jacobite army on the side of Charles Edward Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie. 92 were killed in the brutal battle and buried on the moor.
So many were dead, about 2000 in the Jacobite army, too many to bring them all home.
Stones were set up later to mark the mass graves on Culloden Moor. The stone of the Stewarts of Appin was later removed and brought home, to the Old Churchyard of Kinlochlaigh in Appin.
The clan war cry Creag an Sgairbh and the date of the Battle of Culloden were set above – a sign in stone of pride and pain.
Creag an Sgairbh means Cormorant’s Rock, the rock Castle Stalker sits on.
They could not bring home the dead but they brought home the reminder of those who never came home.
The cemetery is relatively small; the ancient church lies in ruin, daisies grow peacefully between the graves and on the paths.
The pain of Culloden seems far away in the summer sun. Long past but not forgotten. That is the story the Old Churchyard of Kinlochlaigh tells those who care to listen.
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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.
Scotland for Quiet Moments is available as ebook and paperback on Amazon.