Confronted by Neolithic burial cairns and stone circles, their mystery raises questions as to their function, especially with so many of these prehistoric monuments aligned with the sun’s solstices. The Pictish standing stones, rarely fail to arouse our admiration for their artistic accomplishments. But these treasures from the 5th to 9th centuries still remain largely uncelebrated. Depicting graceful animals, hunting and battle scenes and a vast array of enigmatic symbols, will leave you wondering. What was the Pictish beast, or what was the meaning behind the double disc intersected by a Z-rod?
It was to this mysterious, druidic world that the early Gaels came across the Irish Sea in flimsy boats. These adventurers sought a ‘desert place’ out on the extremities of the ocean where they established bee-hive cells which grew into communities as people responded to their alternative worldview. Their worship was inspired by the grandeur of their surroundings, presenting a vibrant faith hammered out on the edge of the world. Acknowledged for their humanity in a brutal world and admired for their affinity with animals, the Celtic saints courageously brought their kindling flame of faith to the warrior courts of the fierce Picts – Scotland’s indigenous people during the first millennia.
Our adventures seek to reconnect not only with the stunning beauty and solitude of the places they inhabited, but to consider their worldview afresh. These journeys will take us up the west coast and over to the islands, as well as to venture inland to the ancient power centres of the Picts.
[See ‘Retreat’ if interested to explore in depth the spirituality of the Celtic tradition].