about the author

Graveyards have always held a huge attraction for me.

Not a morbid one.

They seem to give me perspective. They have a soul.

Cille Choirill, Roy Bridge, Highlands
Cille Choirill, Roy Bridge, Highlands

I am Nellie Merthe Erkenbach and graveyard photography has fascinated me ever since my first holiday trips to Scotland in my teens and turned into a fully fledged passion now that I live in this country part time.

Quite a change compared to my bustling “other” life as a TV journalist on the Continent.

author in action
author in action

I am always out to explore the graveyards. I check  maps and guide books, keep my eyes open and my camera ready, wherever I go. I gather stories, take pictures, there seems to be no end to the fascinating echoes of the past my research comes up with.

Graveyards are my way of experiencing the richness of Scottish history, connecting me to the region where I have the pleasure to live, with its past and its people. Graveyards tell beautiful, frightening and passionate stories of a nation.

My blog is for all those who love photography, Scotland and her intreaguing,  haunting and somtimes even amusing stories and tales from the past. And it is for those who would love to hear and see more about the place where their clan came from. You might live in Australia, Canada or the United States but your ancestors are buried in a tiny plot in a remote village of the Scottish Highlands.  See and read their story here.

I believe in the old baroque dualism: carpe diem and memento mori. You can only seize the day if you are aware of the fact that it might be your last.

I go out and enjoy! I hope you do, too.

32 thoughts on “about the author

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    1. Oh, I thank you for such positive feedback. That is a real treat after a long day in meetings and even longer drives on busy motorways. Now I will settle down with a coffee and enjoy your Berkshire tales.

  1. I am writing a book on a WW1 veteran called Frank Prewett and dearly need a photograph of his gravestone at Tomnahurich Cemetary. Might you be interested in helping? He died on 16 Feb. 1962 and the stone reads “Frank Prewett: Canadian Poet”. Do please let me know. Joy Porter

  2. I am in Edinburgh now on a research trip – apologies for not getting back to you sooner I’ve been away from my desk. The photography you did superb and I cannot thank you enough. Please send me your credit line and address for an eventual copy of the Prewett book.

    Thank you again,

    Professor Joy Porter

  3. Hi! My name is Beatrice and I’m from Italy. Since my first travel there, I fell in love with Scotland landscapes, story and traditions. I really like graveyards and ancient chaepl and churches, where seems that time has stopped and you can fell a magical, deep and mysterious atmosphere. Thank you for all the informations you give in your blog and for the beautigul pictures. I used one of them for an article on my blog (citing the source, of course!).

  4. Dear Peter, I most certainly will visit Old Kilmadock at some point in the future, I am not in Scotlnad just now. Thanks for pointing it out . My appreciation for the work you are doing there.

  5. Hi, I have just written a draft post about my revisit to Tomnahurich, it won’t be published until Tuesday when I do my Tuesday Travels. I visited it as a child in the early 1960s and it had a huge impression on me. I now live in Australia but revisited the cemetery when I was back in Scotland in 2018. I came across your blog when I was checking to see if there was anything on the net about Tomnahurich. Love your blog and will enjoy reading your future posts after I have read many of your previous ones.
    Many thanks. Your photographs are very evocative.

  6. Do NOT use Prebble as a source – his highly biased, amateur researched work has now been widely debunked by more expert Scots scholars. He was not an historian – no academic credentials, but he was a man with a bias who used biased secondary sources for his books. Prof Sir Tom Devine calls what Prebble wrote ;faction’ – picking and choosing what to write about to support his politics (Communist) rather than a search for the truth.

    1. Thank you for your contribution Deborah. What quote exactly are you referring to? My main aim is to unveil stories from the past. I do of course attempt to be as truthful about the past as I can but this is not an academic blog nor does it want to delve into academic discourse. I am using historical travel guides as sources as well as historical sources like Devine. This blog is about Scottish graveyards and stories from the past, not Scottish history.

      1. Hi Nellie,

        Thank you for your prompt reply. The Old Burying Ground doesn’t look much because all of the slabs are “through stones” most of which are covered in grass/moss. However as I have discovered if one looks closer it is soaked in Scottish and British history.

        Last year I started to present this as a free public tour. Please see the attached and:


        Best wishes.



      2. Thank you Colin. I will keep your contact details but will not publish them. Would you like to write a few lines about your tour (preferably with pictures) and I will post them here on the blog? I would like that. All the best, Nellie

      3. Hi Nellie,

        I have a document prepared for posting on your blog but I don’t see any way to send it (it’s a pdf). Can you advise please?

      4. Hi Colin, a pdf might be problematic since I have to fit your content into different blocks while layouting the post. But I will give it a try. You‘ll find my email address at the bottom of the blog page. Just send it there. N

  7. Thank you Nellie, I will do. Are you also aware of Logie Old Kirk (near Stirling) and Old Kilmadock (near Doune) Kirkyards? I have been to see the recently restored Logie and it’s “a little gem”. I haven’t been to see Kilmadock but I plan to do so soon.

    1. There is a search function on the blog that will hopefully find all the places I covered so far. Please, feel free to have a wee look. There are still so many more I want to see. I guess I have been to way over 200 by now. Kilmadock is on the to do list. Looking forward to reading from you Colin. All the best, Nellie

  8. Thank you for your note on Graveyards of Scotland , and the Murlagan (also Murlaggan) graveyard.
    The gold was used to allow the folk of Murlagan to emigrate to Canada by hiring 3 ships. Their descendants returned to Murlagan in “The Great Return of 2002. Only one person from Murlagan (the Hanoverian Officer) stayed in UK. From whom my wife is descended. We visited the Murlagan graveyard in 2002, just two days after the cairn was erected.

  9. Hi! I just read your post on the tragic story of the Glencalvie Clearances and the church at Croick. I’m an American researcher currently doing my PhD at Nottingham and I am investigating the families who sheltered at Croick during this event– would it be ok if I contacted you? Thanks 🙂

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