a hero’s graveyard

Zecharia’s Cemetery (Cill Sgàire) in Bragar, Isle of Lewis Zechariah or Zacharay Macaulay’s father was the Chamberlain of Lewis and owned the land around Valtos, Kneep and Reef. Zachary lived in the first part of the 18th century. He grew up to be a hero and well remembered in the oral tradition of Lewis. The... Continue Reading →

an axe wound, mass murder and lust

St Clement’s church, Rodel, Isle of Harris St Clement’s was built as a catholic church under David I, probably by one of the MacLeods of Harris but falling into disuse soon after completion. The Reformation had put an end to Catholicism on the island. It had most likely been a priory, two allegedly excisted on... 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 →

chosen isolation

Isolation – the absence of others. A state of mind and body very much sought after by the early Christians. This was not the (splendid) isolation of the 19th century. This was the decision to live as a hermit, a recluse, a man alone with his faith and God. Nothing splendid about that.  Muthill was one... Continue Reading →

St Andrews – Scotland, Saint and Saltire

St Andrews – Scotland, Saint and SaltireSt Andrews is the heart of Scotland in many ways. One reason is its name, taken from the patron saint of Scotland who is said to be buried here. “St Andrew has been celebrated in Scotland for over a thousand years, with feasts being held in his honour as far... Continue Reading →

Island in the Black Water

Humidity is permeating everything. Winter on Contin Island. The BlackWater runs close to the graveyard of Contin, a small but old parish in Ross-shire. The sun its seems has vanished for good. Grey is the prevalent colour. People have worshipped here for over a thousand years, worshipped and died. Many in the 15th century when... Continue Reading →

they never came home

The Battle of Culloden was a terrible turning point in the history of Scotland. For many it felt like the devastation of a nation. Short as it was (it lasted no more than an hour) it was deadly and consequential in the extreme. On a political level but also on a very private one. So... Continue Reading →

Aberlemno – sculptured stones and kirkyard

The Aberlemno sculptured stones are a main tourist attraction in Angus. Ancient and easily accessible right by the side of a small country road, the B9134.   Beautifully carved with intricate detail and magical names (Serpent Stone) they date back more than a thousand years. Impressive as well as intricate and not to be missed.... Continue Reading →

no chivalry, no sanctuary, no mercy

They had in fact every reason to feel safe: they were women, they all belonged to the royal family of Scotland and they had found shelter in a wee chapel dedicated to Saint Duthac, the patron Saint of Tain, a holy man very much revered in medieval Scotland. But they were not safe, not safe... Continue Reading →

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