Kintail, where the majestic Five Sisters look out over the sparkling blue of Loch Duich, waiting for the prince that will never come. There are two graveyards here on opposite sides of the sea Loch, just a few miles apart as the crow flies, the land route takes longer. They have each their very distinct tradition and a very distinct tune being played at funerals.
Loch Duich slow air
Clachan Duich Burial Ground is older and more picturesque albeit being situated next to the busy road to the Isle of Skye. Ard Dearg (Gealic for Red Point) lies on the southern shore of Loch Duich. Funerals in this graveyard are often accompanied by Loch Duich Slow Air, a pipe tune played exclusively in Ard Dearg.
Clachan Duich funeral tune
Funerals on the other side of the Loch in Clachan Duich near the causeway are accompanied by another tune: Theid mi dhachaidh ‘chrò Chinn t-sàile – I am going home to the cattle fold at Kintail. It is a traditional tune and has been played in Kintail for many generations. The composer is believed to be Pipe Major Willie Fergusson from Arbroath who served in WW1 and led the Clan MacRae pipe band to four World Championship victories. (source: Skye and Lochalsh Echo)
If you ever hear the sound of the bagpipes drifting over the blue waters of Loch Duich, you will know where the tune comes from if you can tell the two tunes apart. They convey a sense of belonging and home on the very last journey a man or a woman can take. As the last notes fade across the sparkling blue of the Loch towards the Five Sisters, a truly majestic backdrop to two graveyards alike.
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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.