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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Old Highland Cemeteries - Part 2 -Cill Chriosd in Isle of Skye & Clachan Duich in Kintail

Clan Map of Northwestern Scotland & Isle of Skye

I think what fascinates me about old Scottish cemeteries is that many are clan oriented. The clearances displaced thousands of highland crofters  from the 1750s through the 1840s so the lairds could use the land for sheep raising, which is why there are so many Americans, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders of highland origin. Yet, many remained. In my last blog I showed photos of the Bolskine Burial Ground, which was on the eastern side of Loch Ness. It was full of Frasers and you can see above in lavender to the right Fraser country along the loch.

Cill Chriosd (Christ's Church or "Kilchrist") 
On the Isle of Skye lies Cill Chriosd burial ground dating back to around 700 A.D., but most graves are from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It was MacKinnon ground. The ruins of the church are post-Reformation, replacing earlier churches.

Scottish cemeteries have such beautiful views

Sheep are allowed in to keep the grass down, but they rub against the stones and many are damaged and turned over. The weather, too, plays a part in wearing down the stones. The day we visited the cemetery, sheep were waiting for the gate to open and went away disappointed when we wouldn't let them in.

It must be open range.
The Clan MacRae burial ground is at Clachan Duich in Kintail - it's in pink on the clan map above, a small area in Wester Ross (that's the mainland) between Orange MacLeod below and blue MacDonnell above. 

Memorial to Clan MacRae men who died in the Great War

View of Clachan Duich Burial Ground from Clan MacRae memorial
It is believed that the ships that destroyed Eileen Donan Castle, the seat of Clan MacRae, in 1719 during that Jacobite uprising, also shelled this church.

Clan MacRae Motto "Fortitudine" - "With Fortitude"
Have I said that the Scots are a vey warm and friendly people. We felt so at home wandering about the highlands.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Old Highland Cemeteries - Part 1: Inverness & Boleskine

Old High Church Cemetery, Inverness, with a view across the Ness River

I have a fascination with old cemeteries. Fortunately, Jay shares it with me or I wouldn't be allowed to linger so long in them. The Old High Church Cemetery in Inverness has many old headstones, but most have been worn away by weather.

One of the oldest that can be deciphered

MacGregors are buried here

And Major Wm Donaldson (died 1881) who knew his duty

John Bain, Book seller Inverness. 
John Bain the book seller of Inverness is buried here, along with his wife, but there is no date on their stone. 

Rabbits inhabit the cemetery, too. Cemeteries are not necessarily magical places. But wandering about, I came upon a fairy circle of toadstools.

Fairy Circle in Inverness cemetery

A second cemetery we visited was south of Inverness along Loch Ness -- the Boleskine Cemetery.

It has a lovely view across the loch. Here are buried Camerons, MacBeans, Afflecks . . . 

And Frasers . . . 

Those of you who are familiar with the Fraser (Lovat) clan, will see its motto, Je Suis Prest, (I Am Ready), on this moss-covered stone surmounted by the stag's head.