Thursday, 30 May 2013

Summer on Skye: Kilmuir Cemetery

A visit to a cemetery isn't usually high on the list of things to see, but Kilmuir's is kind of special and not just for the well known people who rest within it. There's so many amazing stories of live lived to the full, that while being sad that they are gone, they can also teach us to live for the now as you never know when you'll have to leave.
View on the road to the cemetery

Flora Macdonald is a pretty big deal in Scotland having helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape capture, disguising him as a spinning maid and helping him over the sea to Skye from Benbecula (cue the Skye Boat Song - I heard it being played the other day on bagpipes while cycling round Uig bay!) and she is buried in Kilmuir Cemetery. It's a huge monument and can be seen from far away, when approaching the cemetery.


She was born in South Uist and there's a nice quote about her on the memorial from Dr. Johnson who met her in 1773:-

"...a name that will be mentioned in history, and if courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour."

I love how a lot of cemetery's in Skye and the Outer Hebrides are located looking out to the sea. It's such a huge encompassing part of island life that you surely want to be near it in death, maybe to get the peace/energy/ from it?

One of the great stories in the cemetery is that of an unfinished headstone. A stone carver was in the middle of carving a headstone for a man's father (who was a remarkable piper and had easy manners!) who had passed away, when the man himself drowned in the Minch (bringing his cattle over) and the stone-carver knew he wouldn't get paid so he upped sticks and left it unfinished. I wonder what the ending was going to be....and the the (not the place for a typo!) melody of his fingers will.... live on I think!

 I liked how moss had taken over a lot of headstones, death doesn't mean gone forever, we're all recycled back into the earth's energy...

A Soldier and a Boulder - sadly the person was killed by a falling boulder on a Mountain, poignant reminder that while the wilderness is beautiful it can also destroy you, just like that. {so many tragic stories of people lost in the Highlands this year already (and there's been more since that article)}

 Beautiful stone carved lettering in latin, takes you back to another time.
 In/Out of the crypt

The Cemetery also has a memorial to Lee Alexander McQueen, the great fashion designer who was really proud of his Scottish roots (his dad was born on Skye) and there's a beautiful quote on it: 'Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind'

 Old beside new
War Memorial

Thinking about death always comes with thinking about life and vice versa. We're the only species who knows we are going to die someday, and while it can seem difficult to comprehend it can also be empowering to the life we lead, if we let it.

Rest in Peace.

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