My next couple of journeys took me to Glencoe and Loch Leven.
I don’t know why but ever since I read that many of the murdered MacDonald’s from the massacre of Glencoe were buried on the Island of Eilean Munde, I had wanted to visit the burial ground. It is situated in the middle of Loch Leven and only accessible if you have access to a boat. Now I had the inflatable, there was no stopping me.
I headed off after work on a lovely Friday evening, parked in a lay by on the north shore, almost directly opposite the island and launched my inflatable.
It didn’t take long to motor across and start exploring the islands. The smaller one called Eilean a Chomhraidh was home to a flock of gulls and terns. They had a few young ones in the nests and started to dive bomb as I approached, so I didn’t land on that island.
I did land on Eilean Munde. It has steep sloping sides but I found a reasonable place to land and hauled the boat well clear of the water. I didn’t want to find it washed away on the incoming tide and have to spend the night surrounded by dead MacDonalds.
The island was very overgrown but I soon found my way to the remains of St Munn’s church which was built in the 7th century. The last service was held in 1693. The walls still stand today.
I paid my respects and listened to the silent choirs as I took this photograph from inside the church.
Its not only MacDonald’s that are buried here but also Camerons, MacInnes’s and Stewarts. I guess its still in use today as I noticed a new dug grave on my second visit. The spade was still beside the grave stone. The stones are made from local quarried Ballachulish slate. I couldn't help but notce from the dates on the stones that it was a busy place around the 1850's ?
This stone is an exception, made from granite and not slate. I liked the contrast between the remains of the dead tree and the grave stone.
It was a moving visit for me but I was glad to get back to the boat. As I rowed towards the mainland, I watched the sun go down over Ardgour and though it was a great night to be alive.
That evening, as I laid my head to rest in the back of the car, I watched the darkness slowly engulf Beinn a Bheithir. I remembered the people I once knew who would never see the sun again. I also realised that I had achieved another of my life's ambitions… to visit Eilean Munde.