Clava Cairn in winter near Nairn, Scotland

Not far from the battlefield of Culloden are late Stone Age and early Bronze Age cairns surrounded by rings of tall standing stones. The Clava Cairns date from 1800 to 1500 BC and are believed to be of special religious significance.

These are part of a group of some 45 very distinctive cairns in northern Inverness-shire, all called Clava Cairns after the location  where they were first studied.



And working out a Hiccup outfit so I can give my Yoyomom a visual for when we’re writing a thing. 

The thing in Hiccup’s hand is a braid of his and Merida’s hair. Long and complicated story, but she gave it to him shortly after the “Pitch” incident. Hence why Hiccup looks exhausted.


I’m feel proud for the Spirit. They are a different team tonight. Definitely so much improvement from last week. Ashlyn fucking Harris, you are the bomb with your awesome saves!! Toni Pressley did some awesome blocks.  Crystal Dunn is the star. Great goals from D-Math and Nairn. And let’s not forget how awesome as a leader Captain Krieger is. If they are like this every game, surely they’ll come out as one of the top teams this season. 

The Ghost of Rait Castle

The story of the Rait Castle ghost is taken from George Bain’s History of Nairnshire:

The story is to the effect that Cumming of Rait, under the guise of a desire to bury former animosities and establish friendly relations, invited the Mackintosh and his followers to a grand banquet at Raite. The invitation was accepted, and the Mackintoshes, never doubting, prepared to attend. They were, however, timely warned that the Cummings had planned a foul plot and that at a given signal each Cumming would rise and slay his defenseless guest. Old Cumming had put all of his household under a solemn oath that they would not reveal the plot to any person; but his daughter, anxious for the safety of young Mackintosh, who was her lover, found a way to disclose the plot. She went to a large boulder, some distance from the castle and told the whole story to the stone, but she knew her lover was behind it as it was their usual trysting place, and he would hear every word. The stone to this day is called ‘The Stone of the Maiden’.

The Mackintoshes, notwithstanding the warning, resolved to attend the feast. When the night of the banquet came, each Mackintosh hid his dirk in his plaid, but gaily took his seat at the festive board of Cumming of Raite. The revelry ran high, and the walls of the castle rang to the mirthful shouts of the carousers. At length the toast was given, "The Memory of the Dead”. This was the signal agreed upon for the slaughter of the guests. The Cummings rose and were about to draw their swords but the Mackintoshes, being forewarned, were forearmed, and with a yell of derision, sprang to their feet, drew their daggers and thrust them into the hearts of the Cummings. Among the few who escaped death, it is said, was the chief of the Cummings, who rushed to an upper chamber where his daughter was, whom he believed to have given the information, as he knew the girl and the young Mackintosh were lovers. Seeing the maddened state of her father, the young lady sought to escape from him by leaping out of the window, but before she could do so, he cut off both of her hands with a broadsword. From the night on which the tragedy was enacted, the bloodstained walls of Raite have been tenantless.“

The story locally is that a girl with no hands still haunts the ruins.

Rait Castle stands two miles south of the highland town of Nairn about sixteen miles east of Inverness. Technically Rait is not a castle but a 'hall house’, a style common in the 13th century. Rait is one of only a handful of such castles still standing in Scotland, and the only one which is complete to the wall head and has no later additions. No longer visible beneath the vegetation are a courtyard with walls nine feet high and the remains of the Chapel of St Mary of Rait.

Me visiting Ardclach in Scotland :) There was a church and graveyard and just across the field was a river. Being brave and stupid I tried to climb the rock path that went alongside the water (you can see it behind me in the picture, I couldn’t really go much further because it got narrower and I’m not that stupid) 

I got my new t-shirt made by noodle2thedoodle too, which has to be one of the coolest t-shirts I’ve owned in my entire life! :) Also, I got some purple arm warmers made by Eco Arts Scotland :) They’re made from different jumpers stitched together and are sold in a little crafts shop in Nairn called Eliza-Kate Crafts :) They are so warm, and matched the Donatello ;)

09 1631 - Clava Cairns in winter by nairnbairn on Flickr.

Winter Solstice tomorrow, according to some traditions, is a time to celebrate the darkness and the coming of the light, the time of year when the shift towards longer days begins. Come along to the Clava Cairns for a semi-improvised drumming ceremony, and an invocation for renewed connections between ourselves, the ancestors, the land and the heavens.