the warrior chief

From the first Viking raids right up to the middle of the 17th century Gairloch was nothing but a big battlefield.  First the Norsemen against then Scots, then the Mackenzies, the McLeod, and the MacDonalds among each other, fighting for power and ownership,  retaliating attacks, avenging murders, killing rivals. Many died a brutal death here.... Continue Reading →

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on a winter’s day

Sometimes Scotland overwhelms you with an incredible infusion of light, especially in winter when the days are short and the sun is a rare event in grey times. Light that sparks the joy of being. Just like that. Even on a graveyard. Daviot church on an afternoon in January can be breathtaking, in any other... Continue Reading →

the sailors‘ graveyard

North Queensferry has, as the name suggests, been a town with a ferry connecting South Queensferry with North Queensferry or Edinburgh with Dunfermline, St Andrews and the Kingdom of Fife. The estuary of the Forth has always been difficult to travel but from the earliest days many have done so at a time when Dunfermline... Continue Reading →

the vanished well

Aberdour was a place of worship for centuries, here the pilgrims would come in large numbers but not to see a shrine or the church itself, they came to see the holy well that is no more. It once existed behind this wall in what is now a private garden but has long since been... Continue Reading →

romantic ruin by the sea

St Bridget’s Kirk is one of the truly magical places in the Kingdom of Fife. The former Abbey is overlooking the Firth of Forth, in good weather you can catch a glimpse of the railway bridge. What used to be the center of the old village of Dalgety lies now on the outskirts of Dalgety... Continue Reading →

bullets, burnings and bread

There are three holes in the gravestone of Donald Fraser of Erchite, remains of a funeral that ended in a shooting, the holes are the marks the bullets left. It must have been the second half of the year 1745. The tragic battle of Culloden had left its mark on Scotland and indeed the area... Continue Reading →

historic murder comic

There are many Pictish stones in Moray, most of them stand lonely in some field or other somewhere along the roadside, often fenced-in with a small sign giving a few an explanations. They usually do not differ very much to the untrained eye, prior knowledge of Pictish symbolism often helps. The Sueno stone is an... Continue Reading →

stones for Cromwell’s citadel

There are more than enough romantic ruins in Moray but Kinloss is a special one as it was not only one of the greatest religious powerhouses of its time, it was also home to an interesting business idea. The three key words are Cistercians, Reformation and Cromwell. Founded in 1150 by the saintly King David... Continue Reading →

farmers, sailors, and miners

farmers The graveyard of Bothkennar and Carronshore Parish church (founded as early as 1150) seems very rural. This land has been farmed since King Robert the Bruce, possibly even earlier.   Rather remarkable since this was once known as the "Carselands", an alluvial plain around the River Carron, and therefore expected to be water-logged. Carse... Continue Reading →

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