Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ian Latharna Caimbeul - John Lorne Campbell

August 14, 2013 was a miserable day at first. A cold wind and non-stop rain were sweeping over Canna. I had a few hours to spend on the island, and after phoning home from the shelter of the red-box, I put on waterproofs and started walking to the old burial ground. Over the years I've visited it several times, but I'd always walked there by crossing open fields and skirting the edge of the nearby woodland.

But with the heavy rainfall and wind I decided to cut through the woodland to take advantage of the natural shelter. I soon found a path through the trees that appeared to have been recently made, and started to follow it. As I was walking through the woods I came upon a solitary tombstone. It had a simple inscription:

Ian Latharna Caimbeul
1.10.1906    25.4.1996
Fear Chanaidh

It was the grave of John Lorne Campbell. In all my wanderings on Canna over the years I'd never walked this way. I'd been cursing the bad weather, but it had been a blessing: otherwise I would not have found his grave. Campbell died in Italy in 1996, and was buried there. But his body was returned to Canna in 2006. For the story of Campbell's life see The Man Who Gave Away His Island, by Ray Perman.

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