Dunino’s pagan past

Dunino church is ancient and has been an ancient place of worship. In the long past days of old Celtic faith, a stone circle marked forgotten rites. It was, as have been many Celtic customs, incorporated into the church. But there are more traces of the past to be found here and more intriguing ones at that.

rock without a grave 

The famous Bass Rock is a small island that sits like a monstrous stone about a mile off the East Lothian coast, a tourist attraction at the beginning of the last century, but the steamer only went out when the weather was good; high winds made it impossible to moor at the small island’s only jetty. This mountain of stone in the sea is impressive. It is populated by thousands of gannets, which were once a part of the region’s diet. A Stevenson lighthouse seems to cling to the steep wall, ruins of an ancient residence crumble in the middle of the rock. Nothing grows here except loneliness.

The Battle of Prestonpans

Scottish battles, like many other battles, scarred the nation’s memory for a number of reasons: many losses suffered on one or both sides, the exploits of individuals, or the length of time they raged. Prestonpans was one of the shortest battles in Scottish history, lasting just under ten minutes.

The Gaelic Chapel – an ambiguous gesture

It is an impressive ruin, a reminder of Cromarty's past and the people that lived in it. There are others in Scotland, one in Glasgow and one in Aberdeen, all built for the Gaelic speaking community that had arrived in these places after being cleared out of their Highland homes. They were Gaelic speakers and found themselves in places where Gaelic wasn't spoken. The Gaelic Chapel was a kind gesture to the Gaelic speaking Highlanders who had come to Cromarty. It was financed by exploiting people and nature in the colonies. However, it did not last long and is now a ruin.

the minister’s grave

Reverend Donald MacInnis was the third minister to serve in Glenmoriston after the Disruption for eleven years, from 1879 until his death on September 24th 188.   The two men before him also had the charge of the Free church in Fort Augustus, where they lived. Donald MacInnis was a Glenmoriston man and he would... Continue Reading →

the chieftain Hitler wanted dead

St Mary's chapel was built by Lord Lovat, chief of the clan Fraser, in the early 19th century and is currently being restored. Normally mass is held once a month. Many of the old unusually shaped gravestones in the kirkyard are decorated with fleur de lys crosses, a pattern not very common in the Highlands.... Continue Reading →

one last handshake for the king

The Chisholms came from France originally, as did many nobles in the past; the Normans first settled in the Borders and only later moved to the Beauly area. By marriage of Alexander de Chisholme to Margaret, Lady of Erchless, Erchless castle (now a private property) became the ancestral home of the clan, its chieftains were... 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 →

the witch’s grave

The River Moriston is peaceful and idyllic, it can be icy in winter and angry during a flood but it is tame these days. However, deaths have occured here and men have drowned in the river. Local tradition says, twenty men drowned in a rock pool some time long ago. The place is not to... Continue Reading →

the Nessie connection

Saint Adamnan or Adomnán was a well educated and well-travelled holy man who became the 9th abbot of Iona. He lived in the 7th century and his account of the live of Saint Columba is well known in the world of Nessie hunters because it includes the first sighting of the monster at Loch Ness.... Continue Reading →

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