Sticky

Scotland no longer feels like home, which is fair enough for it isn’t. I have discharged my duty by filling in fellow clansmen from the USA on our history and taken a couple of bus tours round clan country and to the Culloden battlefield. Our clan was centred in Pitlochry and that’s where we are staying. The coaches come into the town at 11am and from then on hordes of tourists from across the world process the half mile down one side of the High Street and then cross the road to go up the other. They are beguiled by shops selling tartan, woolly pullies and souvenir kitsch that make decent people shudder.

I know this part of the world well but one place I tracked down I had read about but never seen. At the end of 20 miles of single-track road across a field full of curious black cattle and by the edge of a loch lies a little burial ground. Near to it lived Marsali who was much too beautiful for her own good. A MacIntosh chieftain from fifty miles to the north hungered for her but she rejected him, married a local and had three sons in swift succession. A few years later her rejected suitor came raiding. He crossed the loch but Marsali was not at home so he killed her husband and dashed out the brains of her children on a boulder by the burial ground. The MacIntosh met a sticky end when the posse sent after him caught up and the marks on the fatal boulder where its members sharpened their swords are still visible.

 

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