My favorite island souvenirs are the little history books about an island that I find on the island. One of these was The Antiquities of Gigha, by the Rev. RSG Anderson. The book has been very popular. Originally published in 1936, a second edition came out three years later. The copy I bought on Gigha in 1992 is a reprint published in 1978.
I had come to Gigha back then to see if I could find someone to take me to the tiny isle of Cara, which lies a half-mile off the south tip of Gigha. I mainly wanted to sit in Cara's famous Brownie's Chair, but Anderson's little history book also led me to spend some time taking a close look at another of Cara's attractions: the chapel of St Fionnlugh; also refereed to in a 17th century document as Cella Sanctissimae Trinitas - the Cell of the Holy Trinity.
The 6th century St Fionnlugh (the fair-haired hero), that the Cara chapel is dedicated to, was associated with a monastery on Eilean Mor, an island in Loch Finnlagan, 20 miles to the northwest on Islay. Saint Fionnlugh was a contemporary of St Columba, and is said to have saved Columba from a spear-wielding assassin on the island of Hinba. Fionnlugh is also known as the Hermit Saint of Islay, and so perhaps when he needed a break from the hustle and bustle of Islay he escaped for a little contemplative R&R on Cara.
|Cara House and the Chapel seen from the south|
|Cara House and the Chapel seen from the north|
If you ever get the chance to go to Cara take it. I found it to be, like its name, a friendly island that likes to be visited.
|Cara (looking slightly corpse-ish) seen from Gigha|
|The boatman awaits - Gigha seen from Cara|