Thursday, 22 August 2019

Theft from St Finan's Isle

There was a sad postscript to our latest trip on Loch Shiel.  On our April visit to Eilean Fhianain (St Finan's Isle) we climbed to the ruined chapel to see the stone cross and the remarkable bell, cast in seamless bronze, which has been here since around 1100.  A visit to the island has been a highlight of all our trips on Loch Shiel.

In July the Moidart History group discovered that the bell had been removed - stolen - using a bolt cutter to cut the chain sometime between the end of June and early July; the story is reported here.  The thief or thieves must also have had a boat to access the island.

The bell has been recorded as stolen just once previously when a soldier looted it in the chaos following the 1745 uprising.  On that occasion the soldier was flogged and the bell returned.  While flogging is probably not going to happen these days, it might be hoped that somebody would have a search of their conscience and return the bell, which has great cultural value but limited financial value.

We live in sad times.


  1. I suppose that's the problem with anything going online or getting a higher profile. Years ago I mentioned a remote bothy location in a post and shortly after (within two weeks) it suddenly shut. I learned my lesson after that and either left out any bothies visited or didn't name them unless well known examples as I always felt responsible for it shutting. Might have just been sheer coincidence but then again maybe not. Last time I was up in Skye it looked pretty trashed with wide muddy paths to outdoor hot spots, churned up grass verges near parking places and those stupid pebble false cairns everywhere- hundreds of them.

    1. You're right Bob - I'd hate to think that someone had become aware of the bell via mine or Douglas' blogs. It's just very sad that an artefact which has been in that place for over a thousand years has been removed by one selfish individual or group.