Covenanter’s Grave

Six miles from West Linton, deep in the Pentland Hills and on the western slope of Black Law is the Covenanter’s Grave. It can be tricky to find, particularly in claggy weather. Although in an isolated spot, last time I was there a few months ago there was a surprisingly strong O2 mobile phone signal. Good footwear and waterproofs are strongly advised for a visit. Also some food and maybe a hot drink since it’s a fairly lengthy walk there and back.

The history: On November 28th, 1666, a battle took place at Rullion Green near Penicuik. On the night after the battle, a local shepherd Adam Sanderson answered a thump on the door of his isolated cottage. It was a desperately wounded fugitive from Rullion Green, John Carphin of Ayrshire, who wanted help but would not come into the house in case his presence should bring trouble on the occupants.

The shepherd helped Carphin to stagger a few hundred yards up the West Water. “Bury me within sight of the Ayrshire hills,” was the Covenanter’s last request.

Sanderson carried his body up Black Law and buried it near the summit with a view across to the hills – an act of charity he performed at risk of his own life. Later a memorial stone was put up, discreetly lettered so as to be indecipherable to unfriendly eyes.

Another stone stands on Black Law today, erected in 1841 and inscribed with the facts of the burial.

I sat nearby for a while enjoying the tranquility and bit of lunch. Before heading back, I pulled up a clump of heather and placed it in front of the stone.

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