The Bridge with the oak tree growing on it.
St. Mary’s Well in the rain.
Clooties on a tree near the well.
The same surnames on the clan markers on the Battlefield are the surnames of co-workers, friends, and neighbours; there are still people for whom the dead are names in the family tree. It wasn’t something I knew people felt very strongly about until I met some of these people at a protest against luxury housing being built on land that was part of the battle and likely has corpses on it, who were very upset because it was members of their family who died in the battle, and who couldn’t collect their sons, brothers, husbands etc. after the battle because of fear of the Hanoverians, even if they died centuries before and had never met. They spoke quite passionately, and before that I didn’t realise that it was such a personal thing for some still. Ancestry is very important to some people, even if it’s not something that’s as meaningful to me; I’ve always felt sort of detached from my long-dead blood ancestors, but a deeper connection to figures in history who align more with how I think, some of whom I am quite sad I can’t write letters to! Since meeting those people, I’ve felt like it’s important to treat it as a the site of something nasty in history, and while I think tourism is an important part of transmitting history, it shouldn’t make the nastiness seem ‘fun’ – I think the bench is a good idea; gives people somewhere to sit and reflect on what happen, and what can get people to feel justified in killing each other.
The Gaelic inscription on the simple bench.
The sun begins to set over the dregs of snow.