Repost: On Visiting My Scottish Roots

This was originally posted on this day in 2009

Lauren and I were able to take a nice trip down into England last week, with stops in the Lake District, York and Durham County. On the way back to Aberdeen, we made two important stops. One was in the Glasgow neighborhood of Giffnock, where my Dad spent his very early years before my grandparents decided they would move to Canada. We even found his old house and took some photos; he later said it hasn’t changed much.

The second stop was in the little village of Balquhidder, located in the hills outside of Stirling. It was quite a detour, and we really weren’t quite sure what to expect. All we knew was that this was the place where the McLaren clan had resided for hundreds of years.

When we arrived, we quickly discovered that it was well worth the drive. It was a bit rainy and misty, but we were blown away by the surrounding hills and the nearby lake. I am now convinced that this is why I have always been drawn to these settings – it’s in my blood.

IMG_9822The main feature of this village is the ruin of the Old Kirk, where one can find the gravestones of many a McLaren, one of which and the actual McLaren crest.

The most special thing for me was the sign on the side of the kirk which read For generations of MacLarens, their place of worship and within whose walls their chiefs are buried.

In a year where I have been wrestling with the true heart of discipleship, it was really amazing for me to pause and stand in a place where my ancestors had gathered to worship God and consider the meaning of it all.

It really was nice to be able to stop here, and it will definitely go down as a highlight from our year in Scotland. I have grown very fond of this country; there’s just so much history, and everything you could ask for in terms of natural beauty. It’s even more special when you know that your family has been part of that history and lived in these amazing places. I hope to be able to visit again in the future, but for now we can say that we have done our best to see as much of it as we can.

Here are a couple more photos of the church yard.



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