Travel Report: Our Lady of Perpetual Succour & St Cumin’s Church – Morar, Scotland.
June 2019. There are some truly lovely spots in and around The Silver Sands of Morar, near the Scottish village of Morar. After an hour wandering up and down the sands, we jumped back into the car and made the twelve minute drive to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour & St Cumin’s Church. Overlooking Loch Morar in a beautifully isolated location, this handsome, grey stone, slate-roof building dates back to 1899.
The wealthy Lovat family built the church due to local discontent. At the time worshippers had to travel to the northern shore of the loch to a somewhat ugly chapel in the settlement of Bracara. It was Simon Lord Lovat who chose the new church’s location, although the poor guy didn’t actually get to see the project through. Shortly after discussing early plans for its construction, he dropped dead of a heart attack on the 6th of September 1887 while out shooting.
As a result, Lady Lovat oversaw construction at her own expense. The contractor, a Mr. Michie, sourced the stone from the quarries of Kinlochmorar. The grey basalt used was subsequently rowed twelve miles down the loch and then unloaded into wheelbarrows! The wooden roof meanwhile was designed to resemble an upturned boat.
Mr. Michie was a bit of a controversial figure, especially regarding his handling of the church’s construction. There was extreme poverty in the region at the time, hence he took advantage of the labourers by grossly underpaying them for their backbreaking work.
It was empty that day when I entered the church with my sister, her husband and my niece. Thus we were able to enjoy the beautiful interior in perfect silence. The main altar presents a relief of The Last Supper, while two of the stained glass windows honour St Columba and St Margaret of Scotland.
The church garden is worth a look too, with a number of statues and memorial stones scattered around. Better still, take a drive down to nearby Beoraid Cemetery, home to a number of notable graves, including that of David Stirling, founder of The Special Air Service.
*Much thanks to the parish priest Fr Stanislaw J. Pamula and local historian Alasdair Roberts for their assistance during my writing of this article*.
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