Inchmahome Priory

Last night the rain battered on the windows and the wind whipped round our house. I snuggled down under my duvet, glad I was indoors. We have had some good weather this week however and I took the opportunity to head off to Inchmahome Priory on the Lake of Menteith just North of Glasgow.

Inchmahome is a ruined Augustinian Priory on an island in the middle of the Lake. I’ve since learnt that these islands are crannogs, man-made islands dating from the Bronze Age. As you can see from the photos it was a warm and still day. We caught the boat from a little jetty and motored across the water sending glittering ripples off across the surface. The island itself is covered in beautiful old trees laden with intricate entanglements of moss and lichen. Bluebells spread out in every direction, just slightly gone over now. Only the Chapter House remains intact but the ruins of the rest of the Priory give a good sense of the peace of the community here and I can see why it has been a place of refuge for several great names in Scottish History.

It was the Earl of Menteith who invited the monks to come and set up the priory on Inchmahome but the Earls of Menteith had interesting historical connections with something the monks might have disapproved…fairies! Apparently the Earls of Mentieth had a special red book and when they opened it magical things happened. A spit of land that points out into the lake, called Arnmach, is believed to have been built by the fairies on the request of one Earl. Supposedly the fairies still meet at a place called Coire nan Uruisgean, half way up a mountain to the west of the Lake. I can well imagine thoughts turning to fairies on a wet and windswept night like last night, especially in a place with as much atmosphere as Inchmahome.

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