goodnight sweet prince

a prince drowned, a church gone and a Loch renamed The Isle of Skye boasts an overwhelming richness of meaningful place names coming out of two linguistic sources: Gaelic and Old Norse, the latter because of the invading Viking forces. Norse names can be found all over the island but mainly along the coast where the Viking... Continue Reading →

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Macdonald’s in his grave!

The following lines were read in 1746 in Kilmore churchyard: If Heaven be pleased when sinners cease to sin, If Hell be pleased when sinners enter in, If Earth be pleased to quit a truckling knave, Then all be pleased; Macdonald’s in his grave. Otta F. Swire: Skye - The Island & its Legends, Birlinn;... Continue Reading →

lonely grave

Towards the North East of Portree, on the slope of a cliff where sheep graze, stands a lonely gravestone, a small white spot in the greenish brown of Scottish winter. The writing on the stone has deteriorated over the years but records confirm it marks the grave of Richard Williams. The year of his death... Continue Reading →

death on the moor

It is a hard guess how many Highlanders died on the moors of their country, it must have been thousands over the centuries. Large as their number might be, the agony and fear of the warriors dying in battle will have been a very personal experience, lives ended on the moors. They died for their... Continue Reading →

from dusk till dawn

For me, churchyards have an unfathomable attraction at any time. In fact, the attraction intensifies with the passing of time and it changes with time: time of the year or time of the day. Graveyards are essentially about time - time lost and time eternal. The beautiful and cold stillness of winter is thought inspiring.... Continue Reading →

forgotten graves

To be remembered is its major purpose; a graveyard has one central aim: to preserve the memory of loved ones gone. Its nucleus, heart or core or whatever you want to call it, is memory. If the last trace of those buried there is gone, a graveyard has lost its innermost purpose. Forgotten graves! It... Continue Reading →

the turf of St. Mary’s

The Isle of Skye, Scotland’s beautiful wild island, where the majestic Cuillins loom and where the old tell tales of days long gone. An ancient place, mythical and magic. The northern, windswept part of the island is called Trotternish, a place-name that tells of Norse invasions long before our time. The village of Dunvegan is... Continue Reading →

the last road

We all take it one day or the other: the last road. Some go fast, some slow: for some it winds and meanders through time, for others it ends in a short and straight line. Whatever the last road looks like, to each and one of us, we all take it in the end -... Continue Reading →

Burn the church!

“Bar the door and burn the church down.” murmured the MacDonald through the sound of singing, that oozed through the walls of the little church. The sun was out, the wind forcefully as ever, making the long haired raiders look even more fierce. They held their weapons ready, at the back of the church, away... Continue Reading →

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