Away across the sea to Skye lies a mountain sacred to the ancient veiled earth goddess, the Cailleach. This sacred peak rises behind Broadford, and carries many legends, while she watches over the lush green glen at her feet. Norwegian princesses and nursemaids to kings are rumoured to lie resting at her cloud brushed summit, stroked by the fresh cool winds from Norway. She often holds a final streak of snow in spring, long after the other nearby mountains have shed their winter coats. The Beinn na Cailleach is an ancient mystery indeed, and she guards the holy glen of Chille Chroist, where the bones of the people of this land lie sleeping beneath a moss green mound. This photo is taken from the top of the fairy mound, which stands at the head of the fertile sheep filled glen.
The Loch of Cill Chriosd (Christ’s Church or “Kilchrist”) lies at its heart, and you can see the slopes of Beinn na Cailleach rising behind. Once inhabited by a fierce black kelpie, the waters were blessed by Saint Mael Ruba, and the water beastie fled. The location is thought to contain the bones and heritage of Christian worship dating back to the 7th century. Now its congregation is mostly black faced sheep, and its choir made up of small song birds.
The now ruined church is surrounded by grave stones which have been wiped almost clean by the passage of countless hundreds of years of cold snow filled winds. Only lichen and wool can now be read, while others yet hold onto tantallising clues and marks. An ancient boar carved stone whispers tales of the almost forgotten Clan of the Boars. The layers of history lie deep around this glen and the sacred mountain slopes of Beinn na Cailleach.
For all my fact lovers, these photos were taken around Cill Chriosd (Christ’s Church or “Kilchrist”) a ruined former parish church of Strathaird, on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Dating from the 16th century, it replaced an earlier 7th centuary Medieval church on the same location, and was used until 1840. It lies on the B8083 Broadford to Torrin and Elgol road.
I like the first photo best.
Thanks…..the colours are yummy I think 🙂
That first landscape picture is very alluring, calling out to all nature lovers and dreamers. I also love the old grave stone softened by strands of wool, probably from the sheep rubbing against it?
Indeed, the sheep were using the old grave stones as rubbing posts, and then the wind was teasing the strands into soft ribbons. The grass is so lush and green on these ancient burial mounds that it’s irresistible to the sheep, and they break in whenever they can…..but somehow very apt as a congregation!
Oh Seonaid, I’ve missed you. Such beautiful prose. We hope to make it to Skye during our visit this fall but I’m not sure how far onto the island we will be get. We will be day-tripping out of Balintore northeast of Inverness. And off topic – knowing that you on that side often call things by different names – do you call a crockpot or slow cooker by any other name? And where could we buy one over there – what type of store and would you know the approximate cost? We’re thinking about returning after our wonderful days day tripping with no desire to cook 🙂
Your words and pictures make me want to visit the Isle of Skye. My husband and I had planned to during our first visit to Scotland, but someone talked us into going to Chaluim Chille (Iona) instead. We’ll have to go back someday to see Skye. 🙂
Well Iona is wonderful too…in a different way. its calm and tranquil…while Skye is large and sweepingly wild…less tamed than Iona, but both will give you wonderful photos and memories!
Just gorgeous and so summery!
It was beautiful in the long sun filled days….green and blue. The colours shift a lot across the seasons!
Stunning! I love the Broadford area of Skye but have not yet visited this location – can’t wait for an excuse to head back over there from unusually sticky Edinburgh!! 🙂
I love this area too…so easy to get to, and somehow for me it feels safer and more protected than some of Skye’s wilder corners! Im writing now from sticky Edinburgh!!
I love the thought and sound of the little birds as the choir. Lovely, lilting post.
Thank you…they really did sound heavenly!
So beautiful! Currently trying to make my way to Scotland and your pictures make me even more excited to be able to go!
Beautiful green !
We should all worship on the mountain more than we do. 🙂 Skye is glorious. I hope to get back one day. I remember the sheep well — the tumbleweeds of the road and field.
Indeed Brenda, couldn’t have put it better myself! Love your idea of sheep as tumble weed….they drift everywhere 🙂
And leave their black flowers blooming behind them. 🙂
I would love to visit Skye, maybe one day!
You would love it Gilly… You would feel it’s soul 🙂 Let me know if you really do want to head up…
Thanks Seonaid, it’s a few years away!
What a wonderful place. I will probably never get there so its great to able to visit this mysterious and powerful landscape through your blog.
Thanks Suzanne, I’m happy to oblige…..and likewise I love seeing and reading about your land which I may also never visit! Isn’t blogging wonderful…..
it is wonderful to learn about other places through the eyes of people who live there. I love the way blogging opens up the world.
I have only visited Skye once…..beautiful land
It really is Sue….and such varied landscapes and atmospheres…..this glen is one of my favourites. Where did you visit?
Oh, goodness, Seonaid….it’s so long ago. I know we went to Portree, Talisker, Elgol and the view of the Cuillins, The Old Man of Storr and Quiraing…beyond that, I’m not sure!
So much atmosphere in this little spot, Seonaid! Love the description of the wiped away grave stones. So tantalising, aren’t they? 🙂
They really are Jo…and I’m imagining the people who erected the stones thought their words and images would last forever…..I got chatting to the shepherd whose sheep we see in the first photo, and it’s was lovely to get a really deep sense of belonging from him. He told me I was standing on the fairy mound….and to be careful!
I am enjoying the comments of those who have visited in person, the Isle of Skye. Since I live so far away, it looks intriguing to me and I love learning the history. Thank you!
Gwynn I’m certain you would indeed love Skye….and I’m delighted to offer you some glimpses and peeks. Always lovely to hear from you 🙂
Yet again you convince me that our one visit to Skye was FAR too perfunctory!
lol…..its beautiful when the sun shines, and dramatic in the rain!!
Especially when you slip on wet rock and fall down a steep bit!