Wayfarer column- Was St Columba involved in the birth of Scotland?

Here I am a week later with more tales to keep you entertained.

You must appreciate these tales have to be delicately drawn out from where they have been hiding for a number of years and then have to be presented in a manner that will encourage you to read them.

These are tales which have been passed originally by word of mouth down the centuries to the pages of the Carrick Gazette.

The name Argyll conjures up visions of mountains and wonderful scenery but did you know the name Argyll comes from the Gaelic words ‘Earra Ghaidheal’ meaning coastland of the Gaels. This reflects the ancient Gaelic kingdom of Dalriada founded by Irish immigrants from Antrim in AD 500 who were known to the Romans as ‘Scotii’ in other words pirates or raiders.

The Scotii established their capital at Dunadd in the west of Scotland on an isolated hill fort that rises out of the Crinan Moss. There is a path that winds up the hill past gateways and defendable terraces before reaching a place with markings to show that it is a place with a very special purpose. There is a basin scooped out of the rock in which there appears at one time to have been a seat or throne. We now know that the Kings of Dalriada were crowned here on the Stone of Destiny brought by the Scotii from Ireland.

St. Columba is thought to have performed the first Christian coronation in Britain here in 574 in crowning King Aidan. Can this therefore be considered to be the birthplace of Scotland? It is a very evocative place with magnificent views across to the Paps of Jura and the mountains of Argyll with the ghosts of many Scottish kings rising out of the moss to keep you company. However the Stone of Destiny was taken from here to another Dalriadan stronghold, the mighty Duffstaffnage castle north of Oban where it was in use until 843 when Kenneth MacAlpin transported the stone across to Scone in Perthshire to claim by marriage the Pictish throne and be crowned King of Scots on the Stone of Destiny thereby creating the kingdom that was to become Scotland. So there you have the history of this ancient throne on which Scottish Kings were crowned. The Stone of Destiny came originally from Ireland carried by the Gaels to crown the kings of Dalriada then transported to Scone to become the throne on which future Kings of Scots were crowned. This is a tale I discovered, but others may have a different version.

See you next week.