Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Browsing Posts in Art

This evening, my theme is the unusual but decorative murals painted on the walls of various premises in the town centre of Invergordon which is located about 25 miles north of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The images below arose from a community initiative in 2002 to revitalise the town  following the closure of heavy industries in the locality. The artwork was inspired by a similar project in Chemainus in Canada. The work was undertaken by a number of artists not all of whom were locals. Overall, the project is considered a success, assisting in attracting an increasing number of visitors to the town, aided by the proximity of a deep water port which receives 40 plus visitations from cruise ships each year.

Invergordon Mural

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One of my many interests is prehistory to which end I have a dedicated page on my catswhiskerstours website.

Hitherto, my knowledge of prehistoric rock art has come from my visits to Kilmartin Glen in the west of Scotland, a very rich site full of stone circles, burial cairns, standing stones and rock art. The latter is particularly well demonstrated at a site named Achnabreck where there is a particularly heavy concentration of motives pecked into the rock surface using stone tools perhaps dating back some 3000 years.

Having just re-read my reference books on Achnabreck and elsewhere, I have noticed that all the recorded circular motifs are made of concentric circles.

In the course of recent tour in Scotland I visited a castle where the threshold consisted of, what appears to be, an interesting piece of rock art which could be construed as to represent a human eye. Although now covered with a protective mat, this heavily worn carving would appear to be of significance. Apart from the possible representation of an eye, to my mind this particular carving is different in that it was made using a continuous swirl effect as distinct from concentric circles.

The images above and below show the same carving, albeit from slightly different angles.

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Today, it is raining heavily and overcast, this is locally known as ‘driecht’ It’s a driecht day, meaning overcast or wet and rainy.So, I thought I would take the opportunity to air a theory in regard to rock carvings.

Many of the rock carvings, e.g.Kilmartin and Arran comprise rings of concentric circles with what appears to be a channel through the rings at the six o’clock position. In reading a publication on the archaeology of Orkney I noticed an uncanny similarity between the rock carvings and plans of prehistoric tombs dating from around the same period. Is the purpose of these rock carvings to ‘connect’ in some way with the tombs?