Kilmodan Sculptured Stones
We have travelled across Scotland all of our lives, and yet there are still places which take us by surprise. The Cowal Peninsula, tucked away in a corner of stunning Argyll, is home to one of those recent surprises.
Kilmodan Church and graveyard
The Kilmodan Church and graveyard has a truly amazing collection of carved stones. They comprise nine late-medieval West Highland grave slabs and one post-Reformation grave slab from 1636. This grave-slab commemorates the church minister of Kilmodan, Donald McCloy, who ministered there from 1611-1651. Records show he resigned due to old age and the fact that a large number of English speaking (as opposed to Gaelic speaking) Lowlander Scots moved into the parish.
An 11th stone was believed to be the head of the medieval Cross of Garvie but is now thought to be a stone pillar worn to its present shape by its use as a tethering post.
The decorations on the stones include:
Panels of interlace and intertwined plant stems
Swords and tools, including what appears to be a blacksmith’s tongs
A range of animals, both real and fantastic – a deer hunt, a unicorn, and animals battling with axes and spears are all depicted
Human figures on four slabs
The surrounding churchyard contains many more fine post-Reformation gravestones and tombs, many of which are well preserved.
A visit to this wonderful place, where you are likely to be the only visitors, can be included in any of our tours of the west coast and Argyll.