The Highland Churches

Catholic: Cannich, Eskadale, Beauly & Inverness

Church of Our Lady and St. Bean at MarydaleThe Highlands of Scotland retained an unusually strong Roman Catholic presence during the years following the Reformation. Strathglass had a reputation for remaining ‘pestered wi’ popery!’ and many priestly vocations came from the glen. When the Catholic hierarchy was restored two notable churches were built in the Glen - Eskadale on Fraser land in lower Strathglass and Marydale on Chisholm land in Upper Strathglass.

Marydale comprises the Parish Church of Our Lady and St. Bean, the Parish Hall and, located in the old presbytery, Sancti Angeli Benedictine Skete. It is situated in fifteen acres of church croft land including the small Scots pinewood on the right as you approach the church. Marydale has a weekly Mass and sometimes a mid-week Mass as well: from mid-January ‘05 it is served from Inverness (Sancti Angeli Skete is based in the old presbytery at Marydale). Eskadale has a monthly Mass and is served from Beauly.

In Beauly a church was built on the site of the ruins of the Valliscaulian monastery (a sister monastery to Pluscarden). It has a resident Dominican parish priest. St. Mary’s Inverness is a well attended city church on the banks of the River Ness: Rt. Rev. Mgr. Robert MacDonald is the parish priest and dean of the area. Also in Inverness is St. Ninians in Culduthel Road.

The Church of St. Mary and St. Bean: Parish Church for Upper Strathglass, Glen Urquhart & Drumnadrochit

Eskadale ChurchThe titular saints are Our Lady and St. Bean, traditionally the first missionary of Strathglass, to whom the pre-reformation church was dedicated (see history page). The present church was built in 1866, with the school (now the church hall) opening a few years later. A large number of those who worked on the hydro-electric scheme in glens Cannich and Affric attended Marydale. Older parishioners remember going to primary school here, obtaining their kilts from the kiltmaker at Invercannich.

The church retains some relics of the Highland mission, with a holy water stoup from Knockfin in the porch and, just outside the door, a cupstone mounted on a plinth. This cupstone, traditionally used for baptisms in the glen, was last used during the Jesuit mission, notably by Father Farqharson S.J. who is commemorated on the plinth. The church has recently been restored through a massive fund raising effort by the parishioners, co-ordinated by Father Paul Bonnici: major grants were received from Historic Scotland and the National Lottery.

Our Lady and St. Bean, Marydale, Cannich for further info contact St. Mary's Beauly.
St. Mary's, Beauly. Tel: Fr. Colin Davies. 01463 782232. E-mail: stmarysbeauly@btinternet.com Web: www.stmarysbeauly.org.
Inverness: St. Mary’s, Huntley Street. Very Rev. James Bell 01463 233519. Web: www.stmarysinverness.co.uk
Inverness: St. Ninian’s, Culdethel Road. Fr. Stuart Chalmers 01463 791957 Web: www.saintninians.org.uk.

Church of Scotland: Cannich, Struy & Beauly

The Church of Scotland at CannichLeaving Cannich by the road to Mullardoch is a small beautifully proportioned whitewashed kirk, built in the 1890’s by John Robertson of Inverness. Mr. Robertson, a farmer of Comar provided a capital endowment, on condition a place of worship was built in Upper Strathglass. A local tradition calls it the ‘Footstep to Heaven.’ ‘It speaks volumes for the faith and energies of the congregation of 100 years ago when, with an annual income for the “Schemes of the Church” of under £20 they were able to make a decision to build, obtain a site.....and have the building completed in the space of only two years' (Church records).

A few miles away, on the Beauly-Cannich road, is the kirk at Struy. Opened a few years earlier, it is typical of the period, with two turrets and a bell tower. Both kirks are part of Kilmorack and Erchless parish.

Cannich and Struy are now served by the minister at Beauly (Croyard Road). For information visit www.beaulychurch.org.uk

Episcopalian Church: Glen Urquhart & Inverness

Episcopalian Church in Glen UrquhartSt. Ninian's, Glenurquhart is a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. We are located on the A831 about 6 miles west of Drumnadrochit on the road to Cannich. We welcome both visitors and residents of the area to join us for worship. Our worship services are at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday and Thursday. The service on Thursday is an informal communion service and provides a quiet midweek opportunity for worship and fellowship, while on Sundays we have a sung Eucharist from the 1982 Scottish liturgy followed by coffee in our lower level. We invite you to join us.

This congregation is named for St. Ninian, who along with St. Columba, is credited with the spread of Christianity from Southern Scotland to the Moray Firth. His original church was called the Shining White House. Our church is also a white house where we strive to shine God's light into the world. We participate in several local ministries and support several foreign missions including the Star Fish Project, the Send A Cow Ministry, and the Scottish Episcopal Church Mission Association.

St Ninian's Glen Urquhart: Rev Christine Mylne Tel: 01456 450715; Website

Highland Orthodox Community: Community Of St. Andrew at Inverness and in the Highlands

Reader Ignatios serves Divine Office in his oratory at Fort Augustus (Kilchuimen)May we begin by expressing gratitude to Sr. Petra Clare for giving us this opportunity to advertise our existence? Sister’s generosity is testimony to progress made towards the healing of R.C. and Orthodox inter-church relationships since our Churches were split apart by the Great Schism in the 11th century.

TThe Orthodox Church returned to Scotland after the Second World War with the establishment of Communities in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, to meet the spiritual needs of immigrants from the Orthodox East. Other Orthodox Communities also gradually emerged, and all soon began to attract Scottish converts.

In 1990 Fr. John Maitland Moir served the first Divine Liturgy in the newly established Orthodox Chapel at Ardross Castle. Over the fifteen years since then a regular pattern of worship has emerged.

Ardross Castle: Divine Liturgy monthly, usually Saturday.
Inverness: Royal Northern Infirmary Chapel, by courtesy of the Hospital Chaplaincy. Sundays as possible.
Fort Augustus: Daily Office. Usually monthly Divine Liturgy.
Information: Reader Ignatios Bacon Tel. 01320 366457.