Inchmahome Priory on Lake Menteith
I do enjoy a boat trip! You would think that given Scotland’s propensity to dampness that a local might get more opportunity to travel over water but, alas, day trips requiring boats are not as regular as I might like. All the more reason to be in favour of this trip to Inchmahome Priory, found on the largest of the three islands in Lake Menteith.
Established in 1238 by the Earl of Menteith, the priory served as a place of peace and sanctuary for Augustinian canons until the mid-1500s. There were between 10 and 15 canons (priests, not big guns) on the island at any one time. They would have taken full advantage of the calmness and serenity with their constant tributes to God. They were of course also required to be largely self-sufficient and make use of the produce of Lake Menteith to survive.
Like several of the historical attractions in the area, Inchmahome Priory was visited by Mary Queen of Scots. Although still a child in 1547 and only here for three weeks it still adds a further enchanting edge to Lake Menteith’s largest island. In truth both her and her mother Queen Marie de Guise were there for their own protection while hiding from the English at the time. You can tell why they chose this spot.
With such close proximity to the town of Callander, one of the great walking areas of Scotland, the short trip to one of the more tranquil hideaways of Central Scotland is a great way to end a busy day. A great spot for kids to let off some steam running between the ruins it is also ideal for picnics, or for water activities in the lake (Scotland’s only one actually) for the more active.
All very nice but this is Scotland and every historical attraction benefits from a wee bit of controversy to spice things up a bit. For those who walk to the south of the island, you will find a small hill known as Nun’s Hill. This is where, so they say, a nun was buried in an upright position. This was her punishement for having “sinned carnally” with the earl’s son! Indeed.