For our first summer outing since 2015, the South Loch Ness Heritage Group had a field trip on the 2nd July 2022 to the refurbished Medieval Kirkmichael in the Black Isle. The Kirkmichael Trust under the chairmanship of Dr Jim Maclean have repaired the ancient and derelict buildings at Kirkmichael and created a unique display of local medieval ornamental crosses within the refurbished buildings. Jim met the group and explained the layout of the old and new parts of the adjoining graveyard, why the older part is raised a couple of feet in height above new, due to the density of interments over the last six hundred years in that part. Also explained and showed example of pre reformation flat grave stones, table stones and the upright gravestones. One of Jim’s colleagues Davine showed us the only Gaelic gravestone in the cemetery even though that was the language spoken in the district, all of the older gravestones were engraved with old Scots. Jim then took us inside the refurbished Chancel and Nave of the church and explained the reason for the symbols on the medieval crosses there, also regaling us with stories about some of the families within the area that were interred in the churchyard .    The subject of  photogrammetry was explained  to us which is taking about 50 photographs of a badly eroded gravestone in various angles and in different lights and by a computer programme a more clear indication of what is carved  on the stone  can be obtained .   The trust have done a marvellous job at the site and are still actively repairing stones etc on site each Saturday. Our group were fascinated by the visit and of the restoration work that has been done, and still ongoing. Locally in our district we have Boleskine cemetery which the earliest stone recorded to date is 1729, which within its boundary has a Mort House, one of only two in the North of Scotland.  On seeing what has been done at Kirkmichael surely there is scope for a similar project here.

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