|This is the unicorn statue in Falcon Square|
This was Inverness based, and as I had organised and was leading it, I had to get their nice and early. Raven was at work, and I'm medically not allowed to drive, so this meant a bus journey. My friend Ducky was staying at ours, so he came with me. We met up in Falcon Square, which is pretty much Inverness' city centre, and I stood under the statue of a unicorn, my bright green hair hopefully a beacon to make us visible from afar.
The first stop was meant to be Chapel Yard cemetery, which is one I am quite fond of, but it was locked up over the Hallowe'en weekend (it's usually open during the daytime) - presumably to stop those revellers who get carried away from doing anything to desecrate it. After a spate of grave vandalisms in the city, this was probably a wise decision.
|Detail of Leakey's interior|
|The inside is like something from Harry Potter!|
|One of the stained glass windows in Leakey's. Yes, I still like windows.|
After visiting Leakey's, we went to the neighbouring Old High Church graveyard. The Old High Church graveyard is one that I've visited numerous times, and is one of my favourites in Inverness, probably because it's usually quite quiet and has a nice view over the river. Thankfully this graveyard was open, and we had a look around.
|Left to right: Ducky, myself, Sean, Lyn, D. J. A.|
Ducky borrowing my cane to look fabulous until I'd need it on the way back
We also took a group photo - as you can see, a small turn out. Missing is Lyn's partner, who is taking the photo. Note how dressing for the Scottish autumn ought to take precedence - I am grateful that all those layers of velvet were actually rather warm; I should have worn my coat.
|A. & D. amongst tombstones.|
Lyn, the lady with the red hair, used to be a volunteer with the Culloden Battlefield visitor's centre, so she told us about the history of the graveyard in relation to the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden and the execution of Jacobite prisoners. I've written about that before ::here::. It's a sad and sombre part of history, very dark for what now seems like a charming and peaceful graveyard - not somewhere to be associated with a mass execution. It seems a bit weird photographing where they shot people, so I didn't take a picture of that part of the graveyard.
We then tried to visit Blackfriar's graveyard which is down a side-street and beneath the British Telecom building, literally! As it is an archaeological site there's a 'bridge' over it connecting the two main portions of the B.T. building. The site has the remains of an ancient Dominican Friary, really only one column standing - as well as a more recent, but still centuries old graveyard. It was also locked, however, so I just took some photographs through the gate. I've been in there when it's open, however, and shall have to post better photographs on this blog and also at ::Architecturally Gothic::.
After we tried to visit the Blackfriar's graveyard, we walked across the foot-bridge to Balnain House, the front courtyard of which is above the mass graves for the prisoners executed at the Old High Church, as Balnain House was at the time used as a hospital for the Hanoverian troops. It's a sombre place, and I am surprised no latter monument has been erected to those buried there. If it hadn't been for Lyn telling us, I'm not sure I'd have known about that at all. I've lived here 5 years, and I'm still learning so much about this (relatively small!) city.
|Walking beside the canal|
After that we headed along the canal (a beautiful walk in itself) to Inverness' closest thing to a necropolis - the sprawling Tomnahurich cemetery that winds its way up to a war memorial at the top of a small but steep hill. It's in the suburbs of Inverness, rather than its centre, but not quite at the city's edge - however it has some very beautiful views, and is something of a park as well as a place to bury the dead. Some of it is wooded, and it's a very beautiful place. It has a lot of Victorian monuments, many of which are rather ornate. It also has large areas of more modern grave-stones - in general a bit plainer than their historic neighbours.
|Looking out over more recent graves from the hill.|
|Finial type monument between stone graves|
One thing that is unusual in Tomnahurich are the cast-iron monuments. Most of them are in the form of a traditional Victorian Gothic-Revival headstone, but cast as an iron frame with an inner plaque, often a stone plaque. These are often the graves of people who worked at the foundry and ironworks in the city, and I wonder if they're the graves of those who died in industrial accidents, or perhaps those who had died after many years working at the ironworks. One curious iron monument is one that I spotted that appeared to be an architectural finial used as a monument, mounted on a small stone. Similar finials top the gables of the finer Victorian houses and buildings across the city, and I wonder if the monument was either cast from the same mould, or was initially made as a finial, and then used as a monument.
We spent quite some time walking around Tomnahurich, examining the monuments, pondering about what the symbolism meant in regard to those buried, and admiring the fine stonework - the monumental masons of Invernes were evidently quite skilled! I tried to take more photographs, but I was loosing the light, and I will have to return in summer, or earlier in the day.
We had a fun, if rather long walk around the various graveyards and cemeteries of Inverness - or at least those that were accessible. We had planned to go further North to the graves of the patients of Craig Dunain (a Victorian 'lunatic asylum', which I have written about ::here::) but it was getting too dark, and late enough in the evening for busses to be infrequent, so we headed back after Tomnahurich. It was very nice to catch up with friends, even if not as many folk turned out as could have, and a good walk around Inverness, too!