Garyvard cemetery, Isle of Lewis

Gearraidh means fertile land and Gearraidh a’ Bhàird (Garyvard) suggests it could be the fertile land of the bard. Whereas on the shore the place name is Gaelic in origin the sea loch isn’t. Loch Erisort is derived from the Old Norse Eiríksfjorðr (Eric's fjord). Just looking at the graveyard of the small settlement outside... Continue Reading →

Seanachie

Anyone interested in Scottish history and culture will at some point come across the seanachie, the Gaelic teller of old tales. Gaelic culture was very much an oral one and a Seanachie in those days had the responsibility to tell the tales of a clan or noble family as a keeper of history and traditions.... Continue Reading →

Ye maggots, feed on Nicol's brain, For few sic feasts you've gotten; and fix your claws in Nical's heart, For deil a bit o' t's rotten.   Raymond Lamont- Brown: Scottish Epitaphs. Cahmbers, Edinburgh, 1990   William Nicol was a friend of Robert Burns. The poet named oone of his sons after the highly intelligent... Continue Reading →

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 →

Kirkconnel – a poet and a partisan

a partisan for the pretender When Charles Edward Stuart came to Scotland in 1745 to conquer his crown and his realm, the young king-to-be landed in the Western Highlands, where he could count on most supporters. There were not many in the Borders who would have given him unwavering support, with one big exception: James... 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 →

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