stormy Martin’s lofty story

Angus Martin seems to have been a memorable and intreaguing character. He was born during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots in a time of religious upheaval and political unrest. His family was an important one and affiliated to the MacDonalds of Sleat. Angus grew up and became 1st of Bealach, the tackman's position... Continue Reading →

dogs at night, second sight

When a Gael speaks about the concept of the "second sight", he speaks of an dà shealladh, which really means two sights rather than second sight and this slight linguistic difference applies to the concept as well. The person who has it, has an additional view as strong and as natural as the other one.... Continue Reading →

earth from a graveyard

The Gaelic otherworld is populated by many strange and fascinating creatures: fairies, banshees, witches and animals that are not, what they seem to be. Peculiar to the Isle of Skye is the crodh sith, the fairy cattle, allegedly speckled and red (crodh breac ruadh), and able to cross the sea. These "magic cows" could only... Continue Reading →

a bard’s quest for vengeance

Ian Lom - the poet who cut off the heads of seven murderers It is a long and gory story that emerges from this beautiful graveyard near Roy Bridge. Stunning scenery surrounds the ancient burial place and the remains of a 15th century Roman Catholic church, Cille Choirill, a spot as beautiful as it is... Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

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