The day began with the team meeting for breakfast at the hotel then packing the minivan for our trek to Dunadd, the seat of Kings.
In fact, before heading towards Danadd, we stopped by a beautiful lake, not far from Oban, where we had a short time of devotions. I had the privilege there to share a few things about Celtic spirituality and its relevance for us today.
We took a brisk hike to the high stone edifice of Dunadd, also called Dalriada, [In fact, Dalriada or Dal Riata, was the name of the early Scottish kingdom having the capital at Dunadd.] (Gaelic for Reti’s share, or Reti’s tribe). This name is the name given to the Irish and Scottish kingdoms which 1500 years ago embraced both Argyll and County Antrim in Ireland. The heart of this kingdom was here at Dunadd, which was the seat of the Kings. Travelling by sea, a King could reach Dunadd by boat and ascend this high rock that was protected on all sides by a marshy bog. Today, this part of Dalriada is rich in the remnants of the past. There is even a stone at the top that has the footprint of a king chiseled in the rock, a symbol of the king’s power.
[I have to add here some pictures that I could not find yet]
Next we move on to visit the isle of Seil and the ancient rock of Brendan’s Seat. Brendan was one of the earliest Celtic Christian saints. The seat is actually a stone chair hewn out of solid rock. It is believed that Brendan would come here to gather his people where he would meet with them for worship, instruction and more. Today, the location requires a hike up a mountain where the rocks of ancient towns (some believed to be bronze age) were covered over with dirt and grass. The walk to the Seat of Brendan was challenging and required careful foot placement, step by step. Once at the Seat, one could see for miles and get a sense of how this location was the spot of leadership for the time. The team spent time at this location in worship, prayer and reflection.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Ross is the Presbyterian minister of the church in Kilbrandon, but also a scholar. Together with Todd Johnson, he has edited for the Edinburgh 2010 event a monumental work (400 large size pages), the Atlas of World Christianity (see HERE also the website of this publication). During our hikes that day, I talked a lot with Rev. Ross about the difficulties involved in working with a large number of authors.
Robert Rae is an amateur historian and a sailor. He shared with us some of his studies and some interesting arguments about the central role played by the Isle of Seil in Celtic history.
Following lunch, the Celtic trail team moved on to Church at Kilbrandon where a presentation on Celtic Christianity was presented by Robert Rae, a local Celtic historian and the church Pastor, Rev. Ken Ross. Robert Rae did an excellent job with research that presented the case for Brendan’s ministry in the region. The book was sold out almost completely and a new print run is prepared now.
During our time in the church we were invited to put in a bowl of water colored stones representing our hopes and dreams, as a symbol of presenting them to God.