never green and no mondays

@nme Nellie Merthe Erkenbach Graveyards of Scotland
Castletown beach

The people of Caithness

The Picts settled in the northernmost part of mainland Scotland. For centuries, Celtic hordes came from the Continent, then the Vikings entered the scene in the 8th century. Three groups of people now lived in Caithness: the tall and fair Scandinavians, the small, dark Picts and the sturdy Celts.

@nme Nellie Merthe Erkenbach Graveyards of Scotland
Dunnet Head

The Sinclairs

In the 11th century, the Normans arrived in small numbers but with a lot of power. They had received estates from the crown. The Normans in Caithness were the St. Clairs from Normandy, who subsequently became the Sinclairs. Therefore, the Sinclairs are not an essentially Scottish clan but they were definitely a family not to be messed with. Whoever tried would learn to regret it. They were the most powerful family in Caithness but not particularly fortunate when it came to fighting outside of their own territory.

@nme Nellie Merthe Erkenbach Graveyards of Scotland
Dunnet New Burial Ground

Battle of Flodden

One of these unfortunate events was the Battle of Flodden in 1513. The Sinclairs traditionally fought alongside the Scottish king. In 1513, that was James IV who fought against Henry VIII. The battle was a disaster for Scotland. The Earl of Caithness, William Sinclair and his 300 men, fought on long after many had fled the battlefield. The earl, his men and so many other young Scots would be remembered in as the flowers of the country who died for king and country and were plucked in their youth.

@nme Nellie Merthe Erkenbach Graveyards of Scotland
overgrown urn, Dunnet New Burial Ground

a uniform and the day of the week

Now Scottish superstition was in full bloom. Because the Sinclairs had worn a green uniform on this fatal day and had crossed the Ord, the southern border of their country, on a Monday, it was from now on an unwritten law that no Sinclair should wear green or possess the stupidity ever to cross the border on a Monday.

@nme Nellie Merthe Erkenbach Graveyards of Scotland

The Sinclairs were and remained close to the king. It was to be another sprout of this family that was to take Robert the Bruce’s embalmed heart to Jerusalem. However, he died on the way.

Liked the read? Scotland for Quiet Moments is available on Amazon!

Scotland for Quiet Moments is available as ebook and paperback on Amazon. 

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.


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