East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society made an expedition to Inchcolm Island on Saturday 4th Sept. led by Chris Tabraham,the recently retired Senior Inspector of Ancient Monuments and also principal historian of Historic Scotland. He is also the editor of the Transactions of the society. Chris has a thorough knowledge of the abbey, outlined its history and pointed out all the features of interest. The building complex is of particular interest because many of the buildings are more complete, than those of similar function, at any other Scottish medieval abbey.
In the event time did not permit a visit to the war time fortifications but it was interesting to learn that the second war soldiers were initially billeted in the medieval abbey and some, at least, slept in the monks’ dormitory. Soldiers often sleep in worse conditions.
Inchcolm is an island in the Firth of Forth. It was attacked by the English in the Middle Ages and played an important role in the two world wars in the 20th century.
It is also the site of a medieval Augustinian abbey. Its history goes back to ancient times. It may have been significant in Roman times and was certainly important in the time of St Columba after whom it was named. It is referred to in Macbeth as a burial place of the Danes who paid good money for the privilege.
The expediton left from Hawes pier South Queensferry on the Forth Belle at 1 pm and returned at 4 pm It was a beautiful afternoon and there was much of interest to see from the boat. Much information about the history of the firth of Forth was provided by the commentary supplied on the boat.
The expedition was greatly enjoyed by the group.