the aftermath

Crosbost cemetery, Isle of Lewis The morning of the first day of the year 1919 dawned but despite the light the day was as dark as a day could be for the islanders. Lewis was in shock, the death toll after the sinking of the HMY Iolaire slowly became apparent. She had taken 205 men... Continue Reading →

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graves of a lost generation

The HMY Iolaire disasterHow can tragedy be grasped and described in all its horror? It is war and that affects people in all areas of their lives. The men are away fighting, none are left on the island of Lewis but the old and the young. Women struggle, they wait and they fear. Then it's... Continue Reading →

guardian of the realm

In days without a king or during a royal minority, a guardian was elected to lead nobles and realm. David II was born in 1329, the year his father Robert I died. A hero father who cast a long shadow. David was too young to rule and it proved too dangerous for him to remain... Continue Reading →

Jacobite weapons and a vanished island

Dunlichity is a Parish church. There was an older building dating back to the 16th century but the faithful have worshipped here for much longer. The close-by loch and its fishing right belonged to the church. It is called Loch a’Chlachain, the lake of the church. Very still with a very remote feel to it,... Continue Reading →

executed in the graveyard

In the days after Culloden the roads were full of refugees and the makeshift prisons full of Jacobites. More than three thousand were recorded, not just men, women and children as well. Not all of them had been fighting of course, some had just been a bit too sympathetic with the cause of Charles Edward... Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

for the villagers, not the Hamiltons

Kinneil church Kinneil the village is considerably older than Borrowstounness but it declined while Bo’ness prospered. The church dates back to the 12th century and was a landmark for ships entering the harbour until it was officially supressed in 1669 Kinneil House The Kinneil estate behind which the church and graveyards lie, towers prominently high, sixty... Continue Reading →

strange deaths

Forteviot This small village in Strathearn was rebuilt in the 1920s by Whisky money, the generous supplier being the 1st Baron Forteviot John Alexander Dewar of the Dewar family, eldest son of the founder of Dewar`s Scotch Whisky. In 1920 in the old graveyards of Forteviot another father's sons were buried. Two brothers who died... Continue Reading →

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