Springtime in Scone

There are many ‘thin places’ in Scotland where the past is a mere breath away. Let me take you to one of them …
On the outskirts of the village of Scone sits the ancient site of Moot Hill where Scottish kings were once crowned – upon a large, low mound constructed over the centuries from handfuls of earth brought from all over Scotland. With the symbolic sprinkling of soil, loyal adherents would kneel and swear allegiance to their king.
Today a replica of the Stone of Destiny – upon which these ancient Scottish kings were crowned – sits before a small chapel. Legend has it that the stone originally came from Ireland to Dunadd, Argyll in western Scotland where it was used to crown Kenneth MacAlpine, a 9th century king of Dalriada. From time to time, the stone has been described as black – perhaps part of an ancient meteorite – and carved with all sorts of strange symbols. By all accounts, it was no ordinary stone and would roar if the the rightful king sat upon it. Such layers of myth and legend certainly add to its mystery!
Much later, a more strategic royal site was established at Scone in Perthshire, one presumed to be safe from the incursions of marauders … until late 13th century. During the first War of Independence, the ‘Hammer of the Scots’ stole the stone and built a wooden seat over it for future royal crownings in Westminster.
Some believe that a replica was substituted to outwit Edward’s plans and the original is still hidden somewhere in Scotland. However, a group of students back in the 1950s executed a heist and brought the Westminster stone ‘home’ to the Abbey of Arbroath. The police were involved and the stone returned to London. Years later, after much outrage, this particular stone was returned and now sits within the stout walls of Edinburgh Castle. Is this sandstone block the original Stone of Destiny? Who knows?
Robert the Bruce was crowned at Scone on a spring day back in March 1306. Perhaps the canny monks brought out the stone they had concealed so well? Though an uncertain future lay ahead, it must have been a wonderful occasion.
These thoughts and more were in my mind on the day of my visit – another spring day, some 700 hundred years later, I could hear faint echoes of cheers and laughter. Long live the king! Long may he reign!
A ‘thin place’ indeed!

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2 thoughts on “Springtime in Scone

  1. Elspeth says:

    Wonderful old stones and beautiful flowers.Thanks for another intriguing post

  2. diaspora52 says:

    So glad you enjoyed it Elspeth!

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