The Battle of the Shirts – Blàr nan Lèintean

Shirts or Swamp Maybe 15 July 1544 was an exceptionally hot day. The heat would have been the reason why those men who fought the brutal battle here took their plaids off and continued in their shirts. These half-dressed combatants gave the battle its name: The Battle of the Shirts. Maybe. Maybe the second theory... Continue Reading →

one holy and two frightened men

The year 566 is long, long gone. So long, one can no longer imagine what people's lives were like back then. But every now and then, often in very surprising places, Scotland gives us a little look back in time, such as in Mortlach (Dufftown). A small, inconspicuous place in the middle of never ending... Continue Reading →

the murder victim’s mausoleum

Gilbert Kennedy of Bargany and Ardstinchar, the last laird of the house Kennedy of Bargany, died on 11th December 1601. He was only 25 years old. The laird died no ordinary death - he was murdered. The murderer was his cousin. The murder was part of the long-running feud between the Kennedys of Bargany and... Continue Reading →

graveyard excorcism

Two ghosts are said to haunt the ruined Sanquhar Castle. A third one appeared in Sanquhar graveyard on the other side of town. He seems to have been the creepiest of them all. His name was Abraham Crichton. Crichton was a wealthy gentleman, a laird with extensive lands in the area. Nevertheless, he went bankrupt... Continue Reading →

the ghosts of Sanquhar Castle

Scotland is full of stories, epic and terrible, funny and weird and very often not out of this world. The belief in supernatural powers is widespread still among the Scots today. It can be a scary country!   In centers like Edinburgh, ghost stories are marketed as tours and are very much en vogue. A... Continue Reading →

tailor, major, and prisoner

Blackmount is a pretty and small graveyard on the border between Peeblesshire and Lanarkshire. The cemetery goes back to the late 18th century. Many stones are very old and somewhere in between these stones a man was buried who left no gravestone to remember him. He was a tailor, a major and a prisoner.  ... Continue Reading →

names and nemesis

Yarrow kirkyard Names locate people, especially in Scotland. Many of the big names are names from the Highlands, like MacDonald. In the south of Scotland, the picture looks different, other surnames established: Armstrong, Scott, Maxwell, for example. All over Scotland nicknames were given generously and just like in the Highlands, each Border clan has a... Continue Reading →

seven slain brothers

The Douglas clan was a powerful one in ancient Scotland, respected and sometimes feared. Mothers would use the name to pressure their children: Be good or the black Douglas will get you. They were called Black Douglas, for their inclination as well as their complexion; they were a rather dark-skinned family. One of the many... Continue Reading →

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