celtic scotland

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The Druids Temple, Inverness

One of the most beautiful places I’ve had the fortune to visit. Sites like this are so much more special for their isolation and solitude….it was just us, the standing stones and the autumn light filtering through the trees.

21.10.2015

flickr

The Kelpies (2) por Mike Smith
Via Flickr:
The Kelpies tower a colossal 30 metres above the Forth & Clyde canal and form a dramatic gateway to the canal entrance on the East Coast of Scotland. Sculpted by Andy Scott, The Kelpies are a monument to horse powered heritage across Central Scotland.

Name: Nuckelavee, Nuckalavee
Area or Origin: Orkney Islands, Scotland

The Nuckelavee is a horse-like demon from Orcadian mythology that combines equine and human elements. It is considered the most horrible demon in all of Scotland and the name Nuckelavee may be derived from a nickname for Satan, ‘Old Nick’. The demon’s foul breath could kill crops and sicken livestock, and it was held responsible for droughts and epidemics on land, despite it being primarily from the sea. It is said to have had two forms, the one that dwells in the sea has no consistent description, but its form on land, while it varies, has more consistency. Based on a supposed first-hand confrontation with the demon, it was described as looking like a horse with a rider on top, though the rider’s torso was fused to the horse’s back and possessed no legs of its own. The “rider’s” arms were abnormally long and could reach the ground from where it sat. Its head could be as large as 3 feet wide, and due to its neck not being able to support its massive weight, would roll back and forth. Both the horse’s face and the rider’s had only one eye, said to burn like a red flame. A final and most gruesome detail was the fact that the Nuckelavee had no skin, and had yellow veins outside its muscle that would pump black blood throughout its body. The seemingly simple way to get rid of the Nuckelavee was to cross a freshwater stream, and it was kept in confinement during the summer months by The Mither o’ the Sea, an ancient Orcadian divine and the only one able to control it. 

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This prehistoric pre-Roman megalith is notable in several respects; the detail and scope is remarkable but also of note is the central female aristocratic figure for whom the stone is a memorial or marker. The scene in the middle of the stone depicts a hunt. It is clear from the scale of the work that the woman was of high status and importance. The National Museum of Scotland, 24.2.17.

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Pictish Silver Chain,  6th-7th Century AD

This massive silver chain was found at Whitecleugh in Lanarkshire, Scotland. It is one of ten surviving heavy silver chains, of a type found only in Scotland and generally attributed to the Picts. They were symbols of high status, worn between 400 and 800 AD.

The chain consists of 44 circular rings linked together in pairs with a penannular terminal ring. The ring is decorated with symbols similar to those found on Pictish stones, here inlaid with red enamel.  The chain weighs 1.73 kilograms.

Although commonly attributed to the Picts, only three chains have been found in the Pictish kingdom proper. This chain is one of two decorated with Pictish symbols. These chains were almost certainly badges of high rank or power.