they never came home

kinlochlaigh-old-churchyardThe 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….

kinlochlaigh-old-churchyard-13The 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.

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kinlochlaigh-old-churchyard-20The Stewarts of Appin had fought in the Jacobite army on the side of Charles Edward Stewart, Bonnie Prince Charlie. 92 were killed in the brutal battle and buried on the moor.

kinlochlaigh-old-churchyard-25So 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.

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They  could not bring home the dead but they brought home the reminder of those who never came home.

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kinlochlaigh-old-churchyard-29The 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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related posts:

The Appin Murder

Killed on Wedding Day

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