beautiful Beauly

Beauty of decay, stillness of remembrance,  solitude amongst headstones, what is it people seek on graveyards? It had become popular with the Victorians to drink in the beauty of old graveyards: mist shrouding the past, breathtaking light on ancient stone, the remoteness of hidden places. It was all part of the sublime and the beautiful.... Continue Reading →

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eternal king

Old Olnafirth Kirk lies in ruins and has done so for more than a century. It was once known as St. Olaf`s Church and goes back around 300 years. Saint Olaf is not a traditional name in the Christian world but it is a famous one and one that left its mark through many centuries... Continue Reading →

morthouse, bell and pelican

morthouse A morthouse (the name implies it) houses the dead, but only for a short period of time. In the days of body-snatcher and resurrectionists (19th century) who would dig up freshly buried courses to sell them for good profit to surgeons for clinical studies, they were a means of protecting the dead. They were... Continue Reading →

The Highland’s sacred bard

    The path to Little Leny, the Buchanan burial enclosure starts here, in the floodplains of Callander Meadows in the Trossachs. To access the site you cross the former railway line. This field is the second step on the way to the ancient and picturesque graveyard. And thy skull is a sort Of garrison... Continue Reading →

happiness doesn’t need a funeral

S coma nair no àit' ar n-eung dhuinn 'S greadhnachas gun fheum ar tòrraidh.   The time or place of our death doesn' t matter, since happiness doesn' t need a funeral.   Bàrdachd Mhgr. Ailein. The Gaelic Poems of Fr Allan MacDonald. Transcribed, translated and published by John Lorne Campbell; 1965

the Gaelic element

In the late 18th century the element Strontium was discovered here, in Ardnamurchan in the tiny Scottish village Strontian, hence the name. The place-name is of Gaelic origin, Sròn an t-Sìthein, meaning nose or point of the fairy hill which makes the chemical element strontium the only one with a Scottish Gaelic etymology. It is therefore... Continue Reading →

Lunna’s Norwegian connection

Place names of Shetland are almost all Norwegian in origin. Local boats descend from Viking built ships, Shetland belonged to Norway for centuries in the past. The Norwegian connection is strong. Particularly in Lunna churchyard. A tall building towers above the small graveyard by the edge of the sea. Lunna House dates back to 1663 and... Continue Reading →

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date

Shakespeare’s sonnet Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? is all-encompassing, expressing love and evanescence, life and death. A more than apt poem for a beautiful graveyard on sunny Scottish summer’s day: Dervaig burial ground.       And summer’s lease hath all too short a date The temptation of monochrome is easily desisted... Continue Reading →

dying with a song

Nae Day Sae Dark Nae day sae dark; nae wüd sae bare; Nae grund sae stour wi' stane; But licht comes through; a sang is there; A glint o' grass is green.   Wha hasna thol'd his thorter'd hours And kent, whan they were by, The tenderness o' life that fleurs Rock-fast in misery? William... Continue Reading →

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