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Highland (Mainland)
Re: Contemporary natural shrines upon the landscape.
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There is a similar cairn field on a section of the 20m raised beach on the West side of Arran near Dougarie at the mouth of the Iorsa. The stones there seem to be begging to be placed in similar piles to those in the picture. Last summer while parked there (we'd spotted a basking shark flapping around in the Kilbrannan Sound) we witnessed a family scattering someone's ashes at the sea's edge. Curiously enough there is also a tiny graveyard a mile or two further up that section of Arran's West coast where many of the graves are marked by simple beach boulders and stones. Some have inscriptions painted on with household paint and others are left plain (or the painted inscriptions have been washed off by the rain). Some are marking burials from only a few years ago while others are much older. I took this to be a tradition born of Free Kirk frugality and a concious gesture regarding a lack of conspicuous ornamentation from The Living. There are many who see the purchasing of grave plots and the engraving of marble headstones to be a pointless expense.

When my OH's old aunt (Jessie MacDiarmid) passed away, we deposited her ashes into the Bruar Water from a large boulder above the Falls of Bruar. It seemed fitting. On the A9 back down to Perth we were overtaken by a removals van bearing the legend "MacDiarmid's Removals". It seemed fitting too. Richard Long might have drawn that incident on one of his "walk map" artworks!

I'm currently listening to "Wayside Shrines and the Code of the Travelling Man" by the late, great Jackie Leven. It seems fitting too.

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Howburn Digger
Posted by Howburn Digger
7th July 2012ce

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