Reminiscing about wandering through the medieval ruins of Inchmahome Priory.
Capture Cultura is an homage to places around the world that I have been too and fallen in love with for so many reasons. And while this site only touches the tip of an iceberg of countries and cultures I hope to explore in the future, for now these travels are on pause as travel restrictions remain a part of life with Covid-19.
Increasingly, I am drawn to my memories of Scotland. When I ventured to Scotland, I was in my early twenties and the country has always been close to my heart. Perhaps it is the wild and rugged countryside or my Scottish heritage, but going to Scotland felt like a homecoming of sorts.
Not to mention, I am a total nerd for medieval ruins and luckily for me, Scotland (like the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland) is peppered with an array of ancient castles and monasteries that spark my imagination with a childlike wonder—as if I might even spy King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table come riding through an medieval castle’s keep.
One place that particularly made my thoughts run wild with daydreams of ages past was Inchmahome Priory. Located on Inchmahome Island in the middle of the Lake of Menteith—known playfully as the “only lake in Scotland” as lakes are called lochs. The priory was built in 1236 by the Earl of Menteith, Walter Comyn. After the Scottish Reformation in the 16th century, the priory fell into decline.
One has to take a boat to reach Inchmahome Priory. Waiting on dock at the Port of Menteith, the lake’s calm waters ripple gentle in the wind and lazily lap against verdant green shores. Fishermen in wee boats break up the reflection of dove grey clouds.
As the ferry draws towards us, I feel like embarking will transport me through time. We slowly make our way towards the island, the boat bumping up and down softly for only a few minutes before reaching Inchmahome Island. Stepping onto soft ground, I feel the intense tranquility of the island seeping into my soul. While hundreds of years have past since the priory was used as a place of worship, there seems to still be a holy atmosphere leaching from its cold grey stones.
Yet, beneath the remnants of religious buildings and structures that once served as living quarters for Augustinian canons, a wilder energy pervades—making me wonder whether the ancient Celts ever visited the island, and if they too viewed Inchmahome as a spiritual place.
Curious to learn about other holy places around the world? Travel with me to Luang Prabang, Laos.