Friday, July 29, 2011

Saint Fillan got me walking again

It wasn't quite a Lazarus moment, but curiosity about this early Celtic Saint gave my leg the longest stretch it's had since injury back in April. The curiosity was inspired by a tiny writing commission of 62 words as part of the '26 Treasures' project which has matched writers to 26 objects at the National Museum of Scotland, with equivalent schemes in Belfast and Aberystwyth.

The 62 words are now submitted and will be revealed in the '26 Treasures' trail later this year. For such a miniature piece of writing, it's surprising how much 'digging', reading, and walking went into discovering the meaning of the 'Coigrich', this showy reliquary of Saint Fillan's crozier.

It took me walking along a stretch of the West Highland Way nearest to where I live, and had never walked before. I went to find Saint Fillan's mysterious 'healing pool' and the ruins of the chapel priory named for him. The durability of these sacred places, objects, beliefs is striking, surviving the Reformation, the damping down of superstition. Magic is alive and well along those birch-tunnelled burns and amongst the lichen-aged stones.There's a fuller account of this intriguing project on the '26 Treasures' blog (including my piece on St Fillan's Magic here) where each writer discusses their approach to the task, including James Robertson on 'The Maiden' guillotine, and Lee Randell on the Darien Chest. Meanwhile here's some photos of Strath Fillan on a lovely July day.

No comments: