Silent Sunday……… Stone Sentinel’s and a Church

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Two Stone Sentinels from different era’s,  many generations apart and many generations ago…

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The top stone is at Nether Largie and is one of several Standing Stone.  It dates back to Neolithic times.  The image directly above is at Kilmartin Church.  Just a few of the intricately carved Crosses, Grave Markers and Memorial Stones, all dating to a period between 1300ad and the1600’s ad.

These stones can all be found  in Argyll, south of Oban in Kilmartin Glen.  It is just one location in this area of Argyll that is littered with Standing Stones, Burial Mounds and Neolithic and Bonze Age remains and settlements.

 Kilmartin Glen has perhaps the largest location of sites in very close proximity to each other.   Nether Largie is the where you will find many of the Standing Stones, most displaying ‘Cup and Ring’ markings.  They are also surrounded by Cists and Burial Mounds.

Just a short walk away you will find Temple Wood.

FIDDLESTICKS FREE

Temple Wood is a much more compact and concentrated Neolithic Site.  The standing Stones are also more in the style we know as a ‘Henge’.  I also understand this Henge is on and was intended to mark a burial site.

Although these are two different locations you do tend to link the two together.  But both create an independent atmosphere of their very own.

Nether Largie and Temple Wood are both within sight of Kilmartin Parish Church.  It is this Church that now plays host to the Caved Memorial Stones.  More modern they may be but still of an age.  Many of these stones were not originally from the Church or Kilmartin.  Some have been discovered in the surrounding countryside and brought to Kilmartin for safety over the centuries.  Within the Church you will find two Celtic Crosses and within the grounds of the Church some of the most precious stones have been placed in shelter…open to view but safe from the elements.

Visitors wanting to fine out more can also visit the Kilmartin Museum and Visitor Centre, you will probably come out with your head spinning with new found knowledge.

But before you leave the Church , take a look at the Lunar Dial…. a rather nice modern addition.

SCOTLAND ARGYLL

 

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

5th July

(C) David Oakes 2020

Silent Sunday…… So Off to Church

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The ruins of Killchattan Chapel, Isle of Luing, Argyll, Scotland

Little remains of this tiny chapel at the heart of Luing.  What does remain contains a history of this once busy and prosperous (for some) Island on Scotland’s west coast.  The story is told in the graveyard that surrounds what is left of the chapel.  It tells of the Fisher folk, the Crofters and a large number of Slate Quarrymen.  Of the later, many were incomers to the island, who lost their lives in this dangerous quarry environment….  they came but never left…..just an inscription on a simple slate stone remains.

Travelers to Luing should pause and read these well weathered stones.  They reveal the true identity of this now tranquil island

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The Island of Luing is one of many, in a chain of islands along the  Atlantic coast of Argyll.  All had one thing in common.  They were all once important producers of Slate, a valuable building resource, that was exported from Luing and its neighbouring islands by ship across the world.

I once described Luing as   ‘The Island with a Hole in It‘.   The hole, is of course, one of the many quarries that dot the islands.  As the slate lies beneath the island these quarries go down deep, well below sea level.   These soon fill with water well disguising the island industrial past….now an attractive tourist view.

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In todays world Luing  still survives on a fragile Crofting way of farming.  This is supplemented by Tourism, but this is also limited and fragile.  But for visitors to Luing they can enjoy  an island that in many ways is still in the past.   Village names such as Tobernochy, Killchattan and Cullipool, names which are larger than villages themselves.  Houses that once were Quarrymen’s homes, Agricultural workers homes and Fishing communities.  Many of course today are Holiday Homes.  Many with great vistas, though for the quarry workers that was possibly of little importance. Well worth exploring on peaceful roads…

In true island style, visitors arrive by way of the small Cuan Car Ferry…

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Then explore this little piece of Scottish Island solitude, relax at Cullipool and reflect that this was one of several Atlantic coast ports from where Luing Slate departed to all points of the compass….

SCOTLAND ARGYLL

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

28th June

(C) David Oakes 2020

Silent Sunday…… So off to Church

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Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire

At first glance you could be fooled into thinking Southwell Minster was a relatively modern building….those twin spires are very contemporary in style.  In some ways you would be correct and others very wrong.  There was a religious building here in Anglo Saxon times.  Records of a building date to 627 and possibly earlier.  Then in 1108  the Norman’s started a reconstruction programme. I guess the main structure is very much part of that.  But history was to see many other changes and disasters at Southwell.

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You do need to google the full history, but in a very simple outline here are some key facts.  In the English Civil War the Minster was much abused, with the nave being used as stabling and other parts of the building as soldier accommodation.  Charles 1st was also capture in Southwell.  Just as the Minster was being restored in 1711, one of the Spires was hit by lightening, the resulting fire caused extensive damage.

1720 repairs again were started,  some suggest that these repairs were very poor.  A new programme of change was started and in 1805   the spires were removed in.  Extensive restoration and architectural changes followed..  The Barrel Vaulting to the nave was added and the then in 1879 the twin spires were erected…… the spires that make Southwell’s exterior so distinctive.

Much of the restoration over the years has maintained its traditional original style, but   sympathetically adding,  a mix of the ancient with a slightly more modern look. All in all Southwell Minster is well worth a visit, as is a serious dig back into its rather troublesome history…… but here is a taster.

The Minster has many great glass windows.  One of the most dramatic windows is one of those more modern additions.   It is known as the Angel Window (or maybe that should be window’s).  Installed in 1996 it is the work of Artist Patrick Reyntiens.   I said dramatic…..  but maybe awe inspiring in design and craftsmanship would be a more fitting  description.

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Maybe another location for your bucket list for when times are easier.

In the meantime…

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

14th June

(C) David Oakes 2020

Silent Sunday….. A very quiet Church

Disc One

Trumpan Church, Isle of Skye.

High on the cliff top, at the tip of the Waternish peninsula, overlooking the sweep of  the beautiful Ardmore Bay.  All located towards the north end of the Isle of Skye.  Take the narrow roads across open crofting country and you will stumble upon these ruins of Trumpan Church.  Even though the ruins are a skeleton of a building, it must have been substantial for its time, which all came to a terrible end in 1578.

Its history is much more tied to Scottish Clan rivalry and battle, than any religious foundation.  It is a part of Scottish History…… so here you have a precis of some very bloody events that occurred in this remote and tranquil setting.

Scottish history is littered with accounts of violent feuds between the Clans, in this case it is the MacLeod’s of Dunvegan, Skye and the MacDonald Clan. In 1577 the MacLeod’s raided the Island of Eigg where a community of MacDonald’s were in residence, outnumbered the MacDonald’s took refuge in a cave and this was their undoing. The MacLeod’s set a great fire to burn at the entrance to the cave and all 395 MacDonald’s in the cave suffocated.

Revenge was much in the minds of Clan MacDonald of Uist who waited till May the following year 1578.  They picked the time well, waiting for a large gathering of MacLeod’s in a service in Trumpan Church.  They approached by boats and moored in Ardmore Bay, in the shelter of the cliffs on which the Church is located.  Whilst the MacLeod’s worshiped the MacDonald barricaded the door and set fire to the Thatched roof…. all but one within died.  The one to escape was a young girl,  she managed to squeeze through a narrow window, but not without losing one of her breasts.  She ran 10 miles to Dunvegan, the MacLeod’s Clan Chiefs home, to raise the alarm.

On hearing the news, the MacLeod’s gathered a large force with revenge once more on their minds.  They caught the MacDonald’s on the beach where their ships were moored, their escape foiled due to a receding tide leaving their ships high and dry.  All the MacDonald’s were killed.  The bodies of the dead MacDonald’s were lined up beside a dry stone wall (known as a dyke) and were buried by pushing the dyke onto the bodies….This battle was recorded in Scottish History as  ‘The Battle of the Spoiling of the Dyke’.

The township was abandoned .  The Church ruins and the record of yet another Clan Massacre are all that remain.

Disc One

Despite its bloody past it is a place of beauty.  Surrounded by crofting hay meadows that are full of wild flowers and herbage in the summer months, it can look idyllic. Even on a wild and windy day it has a magical atmosphere .

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When you stand in the ruins,  you may well experience a feeling a calm, spiritual tranquillity…..  also very hard to comprehend the brutality of  those past events.  Then again, maybe not so hard to believe, not when you consider all the violent atrocities that have and still do continue across our world

And now more than ever

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

7th June

(C) David Oakes 2020