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Fort Augustus, South Loch Ness (Credit: Visit Inverness Loch Ness)
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Lost Bell of Kilchuimen, Fort Augustus

By Cath Fraser

Lost Bell of Kilchuimen Journey Stone
Image provided by Cath Fraser

In May 1559, the Dowager Lady Lovat sailed down Loch Ness to Fort Augustus and stayed in the Fort. Before returning home she ordered the ancient Celtic Bell of Kilchuimen to be put into the boat, intending to set it up at Glen Conveth near Beauly. In the middle of Loch Ness their boat was involved in a violent storm. One of the men advised throwing the Bell into the Loch, as they could not carry it back. When this was done a short time later, the storm calmed down and the Dowager Lady Lovat got back to shore. According to local folklore/superstition, from that time on the waters of Loch Ness (below where the bell was thrown overboard) became medicinal, and was widely used for giving to cattle when sick.

Many thanks to Cath Fraser of the Nessie Needlers stitching group for sharing with us the story behind her journey stone, created as part of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands.


Prior to the beginning of the stitching of each tapestry panel, each stitcher of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands was tasked with telling their interpretation of the 'Spirit of the Highlands and Islands' within a blank outline of a stone. The possibilities were truly endless - is it represented in the land? The people? A historical site? A favourite memory?

In any case, each journey stone represents the connection between of each individual stitcher, their story, and their own sense, or 'spirit', of place. Discover more of the stories behind the journey stones of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands here.