written by
Andrew Baxter

Explore the hidden Highlands at Elgin Cathedral

Blog 1 min read

Elgin is an ancient medieval burgh and the main town in the modern Scottish county of Morayshire. On the outskirts of the town, King Duncan met his fate on the battlefield against Macbeth. Shakespeare has always been good at deploying creative license for dramatic effect. Duncan wasn't murdered whilst asleep in his host's castle. Instead, he fell at the height of battle. Obviously Shakespeare thought a bloody dramatic assassination, foretold by weird witches, was more exciting than the truth. He probably was right.

Over twenty years ago I worked in Elgin and I always thought it was an underrated town. It deserves more visitors. Too many people head through Elgin or use it as a base, to explore the distilling delights of Malt Whisky Country. Yet, despite being remote from the Royal Court in Edinburgh it was an important centre in medieval Scotland.

One of the reasons for Elgin's importance was the fine cathedral (once the second-largest in Scotland after St Andrew's) that became the seat of the Bishops of Moray. It's had a troubled history - destruction, reconstruction, and neglect - eventually led to the magnificent ruins we can explore today.

Elgin Cathedral in the Snow
The towers of Elgin Cathedral - Photographer: Gilbert Pellegrom | Source: Unsplash

Once you've spent time exploring the cathedral, I would recommend wandering next door to the Elgin Biblical Garden. A dedicated team of volunteers look after the garden. They created a tranquil place to walk, sit and contemplate. The original vision for the creation of the garden was that it should be a place where you explore some of the Bible stories and the plants mentioned in the Bible. Maybe you can find the 110 plants mentioned within the Bible planted around this hidden garden.