We are now on the island of Iona. Our hostel is located on the far northern side of the island, and we are surrounded by sheep.
Our previous stop in Oban gave us some amazing views, including this one that was taken from the girls room at the hostel.
Prior to that, we spent time in Inverness and visited Loch Ness, Urquhart, Culloden battlefield, and a iron age burial cairn. I was facinated by these locations, but today I’m due to talk about Iona.
We got here via a ferry, a bus and another ferry. The bus ride exposed us to the insanity that is the one lane roads that twist and turn through the highlands. If you are one of those people with a weak stomach, reconsider taking these roads.
We are here to see the Iona Abbey and nunnery. The abbey that you see now is largely later construction, but the history of the site goes back to the 500’s when Saint Columba first came to the island. He performed a number of miraculous acts, and wrote a number of holy texts in a hut located in front of the abbey.
Inside the abbey and on the grounds, number of burials were found during excavation. People sought to be intered here, in hopes that the holiness would wipe out their sins. The courtyard of the abbey is lined by grave slabs. These used to be located in several places around the island, but have been moved to preserve them. Several more, and the remains of the former high crosses, can be found in the abbey museum.
Interestingly, the abbey is currently home to a religious community, who have worked to restore it and the other structures related to it.
The nunnery is in a ruined state, and has become a public garden. It’s beautiful to look at, even though it was raining heavily. There are a number of burial slabs at the nunnery, marking where women were buried. Everywhere you look at the nunnery, you see arches. It’s easy to imagine how light and airy it could have been.
The weather here in Iona has been typical to the area, cold and windy. I’ve decided that if I ever decide to live in Scotland it will be in the southern end.
Our trip so far has exposed us to abbeys,both large and small, big cities and tiny island towns, churches of all sizes, and many amazing sights. Which is a lot considering we’ve only been here a little over a week!