Church congregations on Bute will come together this weekend for a favourite Easter traditions: the Easter Sunday sunrise service at St Blane’s Chapel at the south end of the island.
The service takes place at 7am on Sunday, April 5, with musical accompaniment from the ‘kist o’ whistles’, a venerable pedal-powered organ played by island resident Ian Sinclair.
All are welcome to attend the service: if you haven’t been to St Blane’s Chapel before, you reach it by turning off the A844 at Kingarth Cemetery, and continuing to the very end of the single-track road before following the signs and walking up the hill to your left.
Hot drinks will be provided afterwards to revive those unfamiliar with such an early rise!
* According to www.undiscovered-scotland.co.uk, most of St Blane’s Chapel, the atmospheric venue for the annual Easter sunrise service, dates back to the 1100s, although the first Christian settlement on the site is thought to have been established in the late sixth century, when St Catan - whose name lives on in the nearby village of Kilchattan Bay - set up a monastery in the area.
He was succeeded as abbot of the monastery and bishop of the area by his nephew, who later went on to become St Blane and who started his life as a Christian missionary on Bute.
The chapel itself was the parish church for the whole of Bute until the 1300s, and fell into disuse in the late 16th century after the then parish priest refused to embrace the Protestant faith following the Reformation of 1560.