Thursday, June 22, 2017

St. Ninian's Point, Isle of Bute

The next day took us to The Isle of Bute, which, to me, is the perfect place. It is beautiful, quiet, you feel remote, and yet it's only a couple hours journey from Glasgow. It would be such a wonderful place to live. I think I further feel a connection as my great-great grandmother (whom my mother knew personally) was born in Bute. 

Again, I was on a quest to hunt down a couple of holy wells, this time at Ninian's Point, on the west coast of the island. 

On the walk out to Ninian's Point. 

"Big cloud tumbling high, the amazing flying sky..." Donovan songs are rather apt for describing 
island life. 

The remains of a chapel, with circular enclosure, are found on the western tip of the point, dated to the 12th century. In this area, between the chapel remains, and the shell of a much later kippering house, are the wells in question. Neither seems to have an associated name, but their close proximity to the church could mean they have a significant if not holy presence there. I found both, one of which had steps leading down into the well, and may have been used for baptisms. I brought my cup with me, but alas, the water in both these wells was still and scummy, and I did not attempt to drink it. 

The larger well, with steps. 

A close-up of the unappetising water! 

The smaller well. Perhaps one was holy, and one used just for water. It is possible, though, that they both had holy functions and were part of a complex involving the church. 

I'm so glad my friend Rachel was able to come with and share my adventures. I appreciate all the pictures she took of me too! 

It was a beautiful day, and the constant sound of water could be heard lapping the rocks. I felt like I was in Enchanted April. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kilmory Oib: Part Two

The deserted village, and certainly the well did not disappoint at all, and I had been looking forward to seeing both for over three years. I had even included this village in a novel I recently finished writing (and am trying to get published. I know, a long process!).

Approaching the well and the carved stone which stands above it (seen to the left in the picture). 

I brought a special cup in order to drink from the well. Many thanks to Rachel for taking all these pictures of me!

The well and carved stone. 

A closer look at the stone.

I learned, in my research, that not all holy wells are created equal. Some are little more than springs in the middle of a field, or covered over entirely by modern roads and buildings (such as a holy well in Glasgow which once stood about where St. Enoch' shopping centre is). There used to be certain rituals attendant on wells, one of which was approaching it in silence. I'm afraid I wasn't completely silent myself, but the still beauty and remoteness of this village had a powerful effect on me. 

It is interesting to learn that though the buildings date from the 16th century, the carved stone by the well is probably a thousand years older. There must surely be earlier versions of this village lying beneath the stone ones. It also attests to the sacredness of both the well and the stone that they remained all those years, especially through the reformation.