the Burns connection

The Church of Crosbie has a very special connection with the poet Robert Burns. Its roof collapsed on the stormy January night of 1759, in which the poet was born. Crosbie is just under 40 miles away from Alloway. The ruin was never rebuilt and has now been made inaccessible. Unfortunately, the entire cemetery is... Continue Reading →

Scottish epitaphs: Gordon Fraser from Wigtown

O bury me at Wigtown, And o'er me raise a modest stane, Tae tell the folks when I am gane, The cauld mools wrap the banes o' ane Wha wrote and sang o' Wigtown. Scottish words: mools = earth, cauld = cold, banes = bones Raymont Lamont-Brown: Scottish Epitaphs. Chambers, Edinburgh, 1990

the shepherd and the poet

James Hogg was one of Scotland’s major writers and is (especially in the Scottish Borders) a celebrated author of poetry, essays and novels, his books belong to the curriculum in the upper grades at schools and literature courses of universities. But internationally he is far less known as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns or Robert... 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 →

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 →

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 →

the mourning girl’s grave

The last Laird of Foyers was born in 1760. The estate still belonged to the family then because his grandfather had bequeathed it to his son, the last Laird's father, before he joined the Jacobite Rising in 1745. It was therefore safe, most of the other rebel properties in Scotland had been confiscated by the crown.... 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 →

a final moan from the grave

Alexander Grant (Alasdair Mac Iain Bhain) was a poet and a soldier. He grew up near Invermoriston in the small and remote village of Achnaconeran (Achadh nan Conbhairean) to the west of Loch Ness, to be a gifted man of sensitivity and strength, a man of thought as well as action, a bard and a... 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 →

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