The other week, we finally made the short boat trip out to Inchmaholm Priory on the only lake in Scotland, the Lake of Menteith (all others are called lochs). For someone interested in history, it has taken me far too many years to get there, but it was worth the wait.
Established in 1238, on the site of a previous church, Inchmahome Priory was a haven of peace and spirituality on the largest of the three islands on the lake, with its community of Augustinians, their parishoners and visitors. But like most of England and Scotland in the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation intervened and this gentle way of life came to an end. The monastic church and cloisters are mostly in ruins, although there is still a sense of how they must have appeared when complete.
Those stone benches still exist and as I sat on one in the perfect silence and felt the cold seep through my trousers, I could imagine those long ago Augustinian brothers in the midst of their business.