until the break of day

The morning of the first day of the year 1919 dawned but despite the light the day was as dark as a day could be for the islanders. Lewis was in shock, the death toll after the tragic sinking of the HMY Iolaire slowly became apparent. She had taken 205 men to their death. Few... Continue Reading →

a holy well and generous offspring

One thing seems to be peculiar about places in Banffshire: they tend to change names over time. This applies to Macduff and Gardenstown as well as to Botriphnie. The name of the village is of Pictish origin (Both Draighnigh), locals still use it to denote the parish. The place itself is now called Drummuir wich... Continue Reading →

bleedy pits

It was at the beginning of the last millennium, the Danes were still threatening the Scottish coast, and the clanchiefs were busy fighting off invaders after invaders. In 1004, the Danes invaded Banffshire and were received with horror as well as courage by the locals. There were not many places along the coast where a... Continue Reading →

leper deaths in Wigtown

The Middle Ages were for many in Scotland a time of poverty and deprivation, a meager diet and dangerous illnesses, low or non-existent sanitary standards, little medical knowledge. Eels were the standard food around Wigtown and the Galloway coast. They were salted and kept in barrels for winter. The poor were the first to catch... Continue Reading →

a hero’s graveyard

Zecharia’s Cemetery (Cill Sgàire) in Bragar, Isle of Lewis Zechariah or Zacharay Macaulay’s father was the Chamberlain of Lewis and owned the land around Valtos, Kneep and Reef. Zachary lived in the first part of the 18th century. He grew up to be a hero and well remembered in the oral tradition of Lewis. The... Continue Reading →

graveless murder victims

Uig is the southwestern part of the Isle of Lewis. Before the Clearances it was well populated, hardly anything of the settlements is left. Mealasta’s ruins at the end of the road remain unvisited by the tourist crowd. There’s not much to be seen but a few old walls. But these walls tell a story.... Continue Reading →

the aftermath

Crosbost cemetery, Isle of Lewis The morning of the first day of the year 1919 dawned but despite the light the day was as dark as a day could be for the islanders. Lewis was in shock, the death toll after the sinking of the HMY Iolaire slowly became apparent. She had taken 205 men... Continue Reading →

at the end of the road

Harris and Lewis are connected by one long major road, the backbone of the Longisle, really. Any time you detour from it, be it towards the West or towards the East, you are bound to discover things. Heading north from Tarbert, the first junction takes you to the western most point of Harris – Hushinish... Continue Reading →

silent watch

Beneath Craig Dhu, which to the clouds doth rise, Beside the Spey, a grassy graveyard lies. The great grey hill its silent watch doth keep O'er those lying in their last long sleep. Many men of the pen and of the sword came out of Badenoch, a history of battles fought and lost; great Clan... Continue Reading →

an axe wound, mass murder and lust

St Clement’s church, Rodel, Isle of Harris St Clement’s was built as a catholic church under David I, probably by one of the MacLeods of Harris but falling into disuse soon after completion. The Reformation had put an end to Catholicism on the island. It had most likely been a priory, two allegedly excisted on... Continue Reading →

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