the Nessie connection

Kilianan graveyard, Abriachan, Loch Ness

Saint Adamnan or Adomnán was a well educated and well-travelled holy man who became the 9th abbot of Iona. He lived in the 7th century and his account of the live of Saint Columba is well known in the world of Nessie hunters because it includes the first sighting of the monster at Loch Ness. In a way you could say Adamnan invented Nessie.

Loch Ness

The first sighting is widely known, a Pict was attacked by a monster on the Loch’s shore and Saint Columba saved him. That had to play a part in the holy man’s biography, written by Saint Adamnan’, whose fest is celebrated on the 23rd of September. The man was an important religious figure in his time.

Various churches were named after him, the church of Bona on the shores of Loch Ness is one of them. But the current church of Bona is not the original one. That stood near Abriachan, no trace is left of the 7th century building, but a small graveyard has remained in its place,  squeezed between the busy road and a garden nursery. The place ist still known as Kilianan, the church of Adamnan.

Kilianan graveyard, Abriachan, Loch Ness

A few old marker stones are all that’s left of the intriguing past of Kilianan and its connection to Loch Ness and its famous monster. Many have driven past without knowing.

Kilianan graveyard, Abriachan, Loch Ness

The graves are new and neatly arranged, they lack the charm most old Scottish graveyards pertain. Otherweise, the site is dark and overgrown.


sources and further reading:


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