Weekly Photo Challenge: Community

There is a community up there, there must be; estimates suggest in the region of fifty thousand, the majority unmarked.  The residents of the Necropolis look down on Glasgow, even its cathedral.  This is no quiet wall and tree-sheltered enclosed cemetery, it stands high and proud, approached from St Mungo’s by a single-arched bridge that flies over Wishart Street, as though crossing the Styx; no pennies for the ferryman.

Glasgow Cathedral

I had not done my research so this was a random visit; no appointments, no calling cards, just passing by to see who might be there.  It started gently enough with William Miller hugging the side of the pathway, the ‘Laureate of the Nursery’ – author of Wee Willie Winkie.  From there on it became a little more worrisome:

The Necropolis The Necropolis- no nosesThe Necropolis

And then I came across this plain but elegant tomb:

The Necropolis

My eyes were adjusted to the bright winter light so it was difficult to see inside the iron railings.  I pushed up the iso setting on the camera, held it against an upright and let the sensor do its work on a long exposure. The white highlights are dust that has settled over the centuries, most dramatically on her face such that she appears to be staring, eyes wide open towards something we dare not see. I am not fond of the results:

The Necropolis

Thanks to my dad, raised on scientific certainties, I am a fully paid up member of Cynics Incorporated but these dead communities give me the creeps – I keep thinking that a hand could have grabbed my arm from within the iron railings; I would have joined this closed community on the spot. A Daily Telegraph article by Hannah Betts has done nothing to improve my equilibrium:  “My grandmother bedded down there next, innocent of that summer’s events, then refused to ever again. My mother braved it to prove her wrong. Next morning, the room was locked. When we quizzed her, she refused to divulge what had happened, saying only that it was “something to do with time”. Somehow this was – and remains – the most horrifying thing I had ever heard”.   I recommend you read the full article here – a wonderfully composed ‘ghost’ story, just right for Christmas.

Sweet dreams everyone.


  1. holley4734 · December 18, 2013

    Great photos!

  2. easyweimaraner · December 18, 2013

    Glasgow is on our bucket list, thanks for the photos, I’m sure we will visit Necropolis hill.

    • northumbrianlight · December 18, 2013

      Be sure to wear your garlic dog collar at the Necropolis :-). The highlight of our Glasgow trip was the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre which I thoroughly recommend – post to follow some time soon – http://www.sharmanka.com/Home/Welcome.html

      • easyweimaraner · December 18, 2013

        Oh that’s great! I would like tho join the glasgow ghost tour, but I think there are so much things I would like to see, that one day wouldn’t be enough :o)

  3. suej · December 18, 2013

    I love the richness, depth and the detail of that first image …. Now I’m off to read the ghost story while it’s still light!!

    • northumbrianlight · December 18, 2013

      Thanks Sue – would love to know what you thought of that story.

  4. Sreejith Nair · December 18, 2013

    Beautiful shots… the selection of monochrome fits perfect here.

    • northumbrianlight · December 18, 2013

      Many thanks – only b&w would work for this + that’s what the camera was set for + a red filter so there was no going back.

  5. Tish Farrell · December 18, 2013

    wonderfully eerie!

  6. LaVagabonde · December 18, 2013

    I love the last shot, the eyes especially. Do you feel ill at ease in all cemeteries or just this one?

    • northumbrianlight · December 18, 2013

      Not the small ones but the bigger places like this, Père Lachaise and Isola di San Michele definitely give me the creeps. Doesn’t stop me going though 🙂

  7. Graham Stephen · December 18, 2013

    Looks like a taphophile’s delight

    • northumbrianlight · December 19, 2013

      Indeed it does Graham – I had to look that up, so I have learned something 🙂

  8. safia · December 19, 2013

    Oh, yes, that is indeed creepy, but I think the Victorians are to blame for that with their melodramatic treatment of death (taking the cue from the Queen on the death of Albert, perhaps?). Strange too to have a graveyard on a hilltop like that – quite a statement.
    If you have time, could you please visit my competition entry and leave a comment:
    Thank you so much.

    • northumbrianlight · December 19, 2013

      You are absolutely right, it is an entirely Victorian creation. I thought it might have Celtic origins but it only dates from 1832.
      Superb expats blog and I have left a comment – looks like I will be changing my toothpaste 🙂

      • safia · December 19, 2013

        Thank you so much. You won’t be disappointed and if you get it in the UK, let me know what they charge there. Over here it works out at less than a quid 😉

      • northumbrianlight · December 19, 2013

        Wow….£6.15 + pp 😦

  9. Malin H · December 21, 2013

    Very eerie and yet beautiful. Especially the tomb…

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