Thursday, 11 September 2008

Jeeves and the Pictish stones

I promised some time ago that I would tell you about the pictish deer (he's in a previous post), so here we are. . .

May I introduce Wendy ( I have several friends called Wendy, so it gets a bit confusing) and her wonderful dog Jeeves who is a Gordon Setter. They are pictured here, talking to Mike outside Sorbie Castle, Wendy's ancestral home.

Last summer we went to Garlieston , which is in Dumfries and Galloway, a delightful part of Scotland. One morning we were walking along the seashore and we met Wendy and Jeeves. Actually the dogs met first, you know what it's like, lots of racing around and sniffing. We got talking while we waited for the dogs to return.

What a fascinating conversation it was! Among the many things I learned was that Wendy's family had lived in this area and worked the land for many, many generations.

We talked about all manner of things and asked about the possibility that we might find some rock carvings in the area. To my delight Wendy told how she had discovered various carvings on her land, some pictish, some very much older. We agreed to meet the next day so that we could go on a 'tour' of the carvings.

Our old dog, Theo, couldn't manage the long walk, so I went to meet Wendy on my own. We walked for miles, stopping here and there to look at a view or for Wendy to introduce me to a cow or six (she knew all their names.)

As we walked, climbing walls and slipping down banks, I learnt that this lady truly knew and loved her land. I felt honoured to be given this wonderful opportunity to spend time with her.

She showed me where the Corncrakes nest; she named the fields and pastures as we went through them and she told me how, one day,as she was feeding the cattle, one of them slipped on the wet turf. Wendy noticed that the turf was torn back and there were strange markings on the bedrock, beneath.

This is Wendy's photo of the markings, chalk added to make the lines clear. A pictish deer. I can't begin to describe how I felt.

Below is my photo, (taken after Wendy had pulled back the turf ) you can see the two round holes. When we'd finished the turf was carefully replaced to protect the carving.

We then set off in another direction, to a rocky outcrop in a nearby field. Wendy's son had been sitting on the outcrop, shooting crows, when he noticed something on the rock.
This is what he saw,... a pony! It's about 6 inches wide and the people who came from Edinburgh university said that it was made about 1000 years B.C.
To sit in that place and imagine someone carving that dear little pony, 2000 years ago, was an experience that I will always treasure.

That's about it for now. Mike and I are going to Cornwall for a week. I'm going to investigate the Tristram and Isolde legend , in and around the lovely church of St. Sampson in Golant, near Fowey. See you soon.x


lynne h said...

as always, thank you for taking us along, annette. i loved seeing everything... but mostly the pictish carvings... i don't know what it is about them but i am just entranced by them. really, it's uncanny. i've looked around on the internet for images, but would so love to see them more closely. i haven't found any 'clickable' ones yet. considering the way they affect me i must have been a pict in at least one previous lifetime!!

look forward to hearing what you find out about the legend of tristram and isolde!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

How perfectly fascinating! I love this corner of Scotland and to find these treasures there must have been quite a treat indeed. Thanks for taking me along with Wendy and Jeeves!

Arija said...

Hallo Annette, it is the witching our and I really have to get to be, but really wanted to check you out. I was out of range for almost two weeks so I have a lot of catching up to do. Be back soon to go through things more thoroughly. We only got back late yesterday and had a very full day to-day.
In haste, Arija

annette emms said...

Lynne - you are so welcome!The magic was there, in the stones, I could feel it !

Pamela - Lovely to have your company!

Arija - welcome back!I'm looking forward to hearing about your adventures.x

Robyn said...

How very exciting it must have been to discover these carvings. The deer is amazing!

Chris' Greetings from the Shady Grove said...

What an amazing day that must have been. How very lucky you were to have met Wendy that day. Enjy your travels.

annette emms said...

Robyn and Chris -
It was a special day, one I will always remember.
To think that I was one of a very few people who had seen these carvings in hundreds, if not thousands of years!
To use my Mum's expression, it made me go 'all unnecessary!'

Nan said...

I kept thinking of Monarch of the Glen (the early episodes!) as I walked along with you, Annette. What a life it must be. I love the thought of walking miles like that, seeing all around you.

sharon young said...

What amazingly beautiful carvings and such a rare treat for you to savour them in the flesh. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Annette... I am always ready for an adventure when i come to see you and i am never disappointed.. These stone carvings are so wonderful.. It just sends shivers through me...You must have felt like crying.. did you touch them.. you must have .. I know I would never be able to resist..

I treasured your adventure.

annette emms said...

nan - It was very much 'Monarch of the Glen'!Such views, on and on.Heaven!

Sharon - my pleasure , thanks for joining me!

Gwen - thank you for comimg! Yes, i did feel like crying and I found it impossible to describe my feelings to anyone.
Oh yes, I did touch the stones. I ran my fingers over the stone, feeling the contours, in the same way that the artist must have done all those many years ago. I'm sure a connection was made.

willow said...

What lovely synchronicity to draw you to my blog! It's fun to think that your friend Wendy and I are distant cousins. I would love to visit Sorbie one day. I must! I wonder if Wendy knows the coat of arms for the Hannay family, pictures three deer? There must be a connection with the ancient drawing and the Hannays.

Thank you so much for referring me to this lovely post.