As we drove on we came upon another fabulous old church and graveyard - I was now in seventh heaven, two graveyards in one day!! This was Kincardine Old Church which is now a heritage centre and first records of it date to 1227. There is also a Pictish Stone at this site but again because it is winter we couldn't see it. It was still a lovely graveyard to wander round with some really interesting headstones.
This is obviously a very old headstone as it's very worn and nature is welcoming it back into the earth.
Love how the moss and lichens have outlined the symbolism on this headstone, especially the hourglass in the middle.
Ken finally managed to drag me away from the graveyard and as we journeyed on we came across two lovely horses to stop and have a chat to. The little horse was a very rotund little chappie and was reluctant to come too close, but his friend was happy to talk to me up close.
The roads were becoming smaller and smaller as we headed for our original destination of Croick Church. It's not a very old church by Scottish standards, having been built in 1827, but the reason we wanted to see it was more to do with an event in history. The Clearances is a period in Scottish History when wealthy landowners (often English) decided that instead of renting their land to tenant farmers, they would make more money by forming large sheep farms and to do this they needed to clear the tenants away. This wasn't done as it would be today, with a nice little notice period, instead highlanders were forced out of their homes and sometimes homes were set alight to make sure people left. Many people lost their lives and a lot of historians describe this as an early form of ethnic cleansing - it definitely changed the lives of highlanders forever and caused even more hatred of the English and the wealthy landowners.
On the 24th of May 1845 18 families were forced off the land around Croick church and took refuge in the graveyard. On one of the windows are scratched messages from the past - whispers of history preserved in glass from those displaced people so long ago.
This is the window where the messages have been left.
If you look closely in the two diamonds below you can just make out the carved writing - it was incredibly moving standing there looking at these faint echoes of an awful moment in history.
The church is left open and it is a plain but beautiful space.
Whilst we were exploring the graveyard (my third for the day - imagine how happy I was) we came across a geocache poked in amongst the stones of the wall. We just left our names and the date we had come across it - the last entry was well over a year ago as I'm guessing it is a bit out of the way for most people.
One of the trees in the graveyard had some fabulous Bracket Fungi all over it - they almost look like footholds spaced up the trunk.
Here's just a few of the lovely headstones from the graveyard at Croick Church - there was such a great range of carvings and designs.
This one is very unusual - a tall thin column which is rough rock except for the bit that has been smoothed for the inscription of the names. We've never seen one like this before.
Monolith beautifully carved with celtic designs that stands in the more modern graveyard in front of the church.
Looking back down at the church - it's such a remote but picturesque setting.
On our way home, only 60 miles, we passed this great spot of communication in the middle of nowhere. I was wishing that there was still snow on the ground as it would have made the red stand out even more.
Grand old bridge that we went over - note the walkway that goes underneath it. We think that this river is very popular with fishermen as there were signs about rules for anglers in this area.
So that was the rest of our day out exploring another area of this incredible bit of the world we live in. Bramble Jelly was exhausted when we got home so happily fell asleep on her daddy's knee with her head on my hot water bottle (we're not spoiling her at all).
Until next time, be good, stay safe, and take time to enjoy the area you live in this week.
Pamela & Ken
P.S: Final picture is a mug I treated myself to for my birthday earlier this month - I just felt it described me perfectly.