The skull and crossbones are probably the oldest mortality symbols found on Scottish graveyards. The old cemerety in Peebles has a large collection of old stones decorated with a skull or a skull and crossbones. Often an hour glass is combined to signify time running out, or a winged death’s head also indicating that life is nothing solid but fleeting. You cannot hold on to it.
Walking in sunshine among the gravestones of Peebles old cemetery, death seems near and yet so far: Don’t forget you have to die so go and seize the day!
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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. These stories 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 everything about Scotland except whisky, sheep and tartan.
Scotland for Quiet Moments is available as ebook and paperback on Amazon.