My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

Goth is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, the expression of that in Goth rock. It looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, et al) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Autumn Road-Trip 1: Ardclach Old Parish Church

Back in early Autumn, Raven, Suzy_Bugs, Hemlock (another Goth and photographer) and I went on a road-trip around the area between Nairn and Elgin, looking for interesting parts of the local historical landscape to photograph - old buildings, old bridges, graveyards, churches and interesting places from an architectural and historical point of view. A disused chapel and graveyard in the middle of nowhere seemed like the perfect start. 

Photograph by HouseCat. A surprisingly sunny day for Autumn in Scotland.

Instead of a rectangular, hall-like floor-plan, like many chapels of the period, or the traditional cruciform shape, it is T-shaped, with the side wing probably being an extension to an original hall-style church. It's in quite a lovely secluded location and is enclosed, along with its churchyard, with low stone wall - or rather, low from the churchyard perspective, as it is built on a terraced plateau and is significantly higher than the flood-plain below. There was apparently a church on the site before this current building, which according to the Buildings At Risk Register, was dedicated to St. Luag. 

 have tried to take the graves at angles where they're not readable,
but I think it is too shallow, sadly. No disrespect ended to the deceased or relatives.

It hasn't been used in decades. It is boarded up with the 'windows' painted onto boards over the real windows (if they're still there). The building is not open to the public, so I have no idea what the interior is like. The graveyard has some fairly recent graves for a cemetery at a disused church. I found out that the building was put on the Buildings At Risk register. The entry has a few interesting details about the building - as to its age, it was built in stages from 1626 onwards, with a lot of work done in the 19thC, and it has been unused since 1958.

A very bright day in Scotland. Photograph by HouseCat. 
The weather was particularly mild for autumn. There were light showers, but otherwise it was quite sunny. We went for a short walk in the surrounding countryside.  The river is very close by, and quite fast flowing over rock - it reminds me of the river Teifi in Wales. My next blog entry will be photographs of the river. We also took photographs of creepy-crawlies (mostly spiders, but none of my photographs of spiders came out right), plants and the countryside, which while very pretty, I do not feel fit in with the theme of this blog, so I am not posting them here. I will only be posting about the river because I like the textures and blackness of the water in the photographs I took, and feel like they are better suited to aesthetic of this blog. 

A photograph more akin to my usual style. Photograph by HouseCat.

In one far corner of the graveyard, there was a small tree, and beneath the tree were candles, a horse-shoe, some ribbons and other items that seemed to either indicate a rather unorthodox memorial, or some kind of folk-magic.  I left it alone, and did not photograph it as I did not wish to be disrespectful to the intentions of whomever person put them there.

This was just the first part of the Road Trip, and there were many more places I visited that day - all of which will be featured on my blog. 

In full colour! The sky was grey with clouds but bight. 
The area was pretty green and lush, and the rain showers really made everything seem so bright. Something about the pine woodland reminds me of parts of Canada. It really is a lovely location. For a place so secluded and long-disused, and with a graveyard, it didn't seem creepy outside. Hemlock told me a rather creepy story about inside, however, that doesn't exactly include a ghost, more something that I will simply term an "entity". Maybe at some point I will get him to write it up and share it here. 

Looking down the broad side of the church. Photograph by HouseCat
That is all for this instalment, but I will post the rest up shortly. I do hope you enjoy my architectural photographs of disused and ruined buildings. I especially like chronicling the various local graveyards, are they can so easily fall into disrepair, and I hope that maybe if that happens, my photographs may at leat be a record of what once was. 


  1. I enjoy looking at photos of locations such as this. I enjoyed the black and white photos because they gave the area more of a Gothic look, but the color photos were more effective in highlighting the condition of the grave markers. Can you know the approximate age of this chapel and cemetery?

    1. I'm sorry. Do you know the approximate age?

    2. It was built in stages from 1626 onwards, with a lot of work done in the 19thC, and it has been unused since 1958. Most of it is mid 1800s.

  2. Hi, thank you for sharing the lovely photos, and a great write up of the location. Also looking at some of the tags I think I will enjoy lots of your other posts. I'll add your blog to my RSS reader! Sad to see the building disused, a couple of the churches round here are on the market for house conversions for £90k but I think it would take a lot of money to make them home.

    1. I would /love/ to work on a chapel conversion, but I don't think I would want to live in one; I think as an apostate I'd feel a bit weird even in a deconsecrated chapel - some part of me thinks a witch moving into what used to be a church is somehow not the best way to honour its previous use!

  3. Thought you might be interested to know that the church has been bought and is in the process of being restored - allegedly as place of worship. The gentleman restoring it live in an ancient campervan in the car park and he showed us round the interior yesterday; quite fascinating. The graveyard is interesting, and contains the grave of the famous pharmacologist James Black who developed beta blockers.

    1. That is good news! Glad to hear someone is restoring it, as it would be a shame for it to become derelict to the point of ruination. Is the inside in good condition? I didn't know about that in the graveyard. My partner is a nurse, so he might find that interesting.


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