Black Agnes – the Silky Defendress

Agnes was the daughter of a great father who had fought with King Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn, and in the following decades, continued to make military forays into England. He was a hero. After Bruce’s death, he was Regent of Scotland for a while.

Like her father, Agnes’s husband was in constant combat against the English. If he was on one of his military forays, then it was up to Agnes to manage the castle, and if necessary, to defend it. She was put to the test in 1338, when an English army under the command of the Earl of Salisbury approached, trying to take castle. A castle in which there were hardly any men left, just women and children.

one man on an island

Largo Parish Church Scotland has almost 20,000 kilometres of coastline and encompasses almost 800 islands, so naturally the Scots have a very special affinity to water and the sea. The sea has inspired some incredible stories of adventures, monsters and heroes. However, one of the best-known stories was told by an Englishman. Daniel Defoe wrote... Continue Reading →

clan burial customs

MacSorlie graveyard Glen Nevis MacSorlie graveyard in Glen Nevis A Scottish clan is a group of people wo believe they share the same ancestor. A clan is far more than family. In the Highlands they were a political unit as well, a source of support and defence. A sept or a branch, however, is somthing... Continue Reading →

Bane, bone and stone

This is a graveyard well worth visiting, because of the view of the Sound of Gigha, because of the abundance of beautiful old headstones and because this is an ancient place of worship, established 800 years ago in 1222. A few years later Alexander II gave it to the bishoprick of Argyll.

never green and no mondays

nd 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 to cross the border on a Monday.

brothers, lies and tartan revival

Here he lies, the alleged grandson of a king and not just any king, the famous, romantic, tragic so called Pretender - Charles Edward Stuart. This is the grave of John Sobieski Stuart also known as “The Chevalier”, both names weren’t real, you could indeed call them his stage names because he went into the... Continue Reading →

rock without a grave 

The famous Bass Rock is a small island that sits like a monstrous stone about a mile off the East Lothian coast, a tourist attraction at the beginning of the last century, but the steamer only went out when the weather was good; high winds made it impossible to moor at the small island’s only jetty. This mountain of stone in the sea is impressive. It is populated by thousands of gannets, which were once a part of the region’s diet. A Stevenson lighthouse seems to cling to the steep wall, ruins of an ancient residence crumble in the middle of the rock. Nothing grows here except loneliness.

The Battle of Prestonpans

Scottish battles, like many other battles, scarred the nation’s memory for a number of reasons: many losses suffered on one or both sides, the exploits of individuals, or the length of time they raged. Prestonpans was one of the shortest battles in Scottish history, lasting just under ten minutes.

The Gaelic Chapel – an ambiguous gesture

It is an impressive ruin, a reminder of Cromarty's past and the people that lived in it. There are others in Scotland, one in Glasgow and one in Aberdeen, all built for the Gaelic speaking community that had arrived in these places after being cleared out of their Highland homes. They were Gaelic speakers and found themselves in places where Gaelic wasn't spoken. The Gaelic Chapel was a kind gesture to the Gaelic speaking Highlanders who had come to Cromarty. It was financed by exploiting people and nature in the colonies. However, it did not last long and is now a ruin.

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