Hugh Smith’s let­ter from Is­lay

The Oban Times - - News - Hugh Smith, 4 Flora Street, Bow­more, Is­lay PA43 7JX Tel: 01496 810 658

Open air wor­ship

WOR­SHIP­PERS from the var­i­ous con­gre­ga­tions through­out the is­land will take part in an open air ser­vice at the foot of the Kil­dal­ton Cross on Sun­day Au­gust 13, be­gin­ning at 3pm.

This now an­nual act of wor­ship con­tin­ues a long tra­di­tion at one of the is­land’s most his­toric and sa­cred sites.

The Kil­dal­ton Cross dates from the sec­ond part of the eighth cen­tury and is widely re­garded as be­ing the finest sur­viv­ing cross of its kind in Scot­land. Spe­cial­ists also con­sider it to be the most per­fect mon­u­ment of its type to sur­vive in Western Europe.

It stands in the burial ground which sur­rounds the for­mer parish church of Kil­dal­ton (Cill Dal­tain), the Church of the Foster Son, and which most likely refers to St John the Evan­ge­list, one of the 12 dis­ci­ples and writer of the Gospel that bears his name.

The Kil­dal­ton parish is of me­dieval ori­gin and early records date it to around 1425AD. The church build­ing is cer­tainly older and prob­a­bly dates from the late 12th to the early 13th cen­turies.

Fol­low­ing the Re­for­ma­tion in 1560 the Kil­dal­ton Church con­tin­ued as a place of wor­ship and served a parish which stretched from MacArthur’s Head in the north to the Oa penin­sula in the south. The even­tual drift of the pop­u­la­tion to the Ard­beg set­tle­ment and sur­round­ing dis­tricts led to the dis­con­tin­u­a­tion of wor­ship at Kil­dal­ton and the for­ma­tion of a new place of wor­ship at La­gavulin at the end of the 18th cen­tury.

The open air ec­u­meni­cal wor­ship at this hal­lowed site re­calls the al­lure of and the ethe­real na­ture of the Celtic Church where the ac­cent was on the telling con­nec­tion be­tween peo­ple and cre­ation and the height- ened aware­ness of time and sea­sons.

All de­nom­i­na­tions will be wel­comed at the ser­vice at the cross where midge re­pel­lent is not com­pul­sory but is highly rec­om­mended.

Art ex­hi­bi­tions

AN EX­HI­BI­TION of works by the Aviemore-based artist Ann Vas­tano has opened at Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle and will con­tinue un­til the end of Septem­ber.

The St Columba Gaelic Centre dis­play is en­ti­tled ‘An Til­leadh’ (The Re­turn) which is an apt de­scrip­tion as the artist was born on the is­land when her par­ents lived at Bush­mill Cot­tages in the Gru­inart district where her fa­ther was a dairy­man with the farm­ing Epps fam­ily. She left these shores when she was six years old and spent her for­ma­tive years at the Grant fam­ily’s Roth­iemurchus Es­tate be­fore study­ing at Gray’s School of Art at Aberdeen.

She has also ex­hib­ited at the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment and one of her com­mis­sioned paint­ings graces the walls of Scot­land First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon’s par­lia­men­tary of­fice.

‘An Til­leadh’ is sub­ti­tled in Is­lay Gaelic and also avail­able at the venue are Gàidhlig Ìle cal­en­dars which show­case the ex­hi­bi­tion con­tent. Pro­ceeds from cal­en­dar sales go to the Is­lay And Jura Sick Chil­dren’s Fund and spon­sor­ship has been re­ceived from Cale­do­nian MacBrayne and the cater­ing equip­ment spe­cial­ists New Con­cept who have been in­volved in the de­sign and sup­ply at Bow­more’s lat­est eatery and pi­azza out­let.

As well as be­ing an Ileach the artist is a god­daugh­ter of Bern­eray’s Mary Sin­clair who now lives with her hus­band Fin­lay at Brid­gend.

An­other art ex­hi­bi­tion by an artist who hold is­land life in high re­gard is cur­rently run­ning at the Out­back Gallery on the north west of the is­land at Sanaig­more.

This fea­tures works by Fiona Charis Car­swell who has a long as­so­ci­a­tion and a pa­ter­nal con­nec­tion with the neigh­bour­ing isle of Jura.

Fiona, who lives in Ch­ester and is also well known as a chil­dren’s au­thor and book il­lus­tra­tor, spent long sum­mer hol­i­days on Jura when she was child. She adored the is­land way of life and its peo­ple and this en­chant­ment has re­mained as she still reg­u­larly vis­its the is­land and is heart­ened that her own fam­ily share her en­thu­si­asm for the ‘deer isle’.

The Out­back Gallery, owned and op­er­ated by Pe­tra Pearce, is open seven days a week from 10am to 4pm and, ex­hibits apart, also pro­vides splen­did cakes and coffee.

Ki­dal­ton Cross.

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