It was while researching ‘Peter the puggled gardener’ that I came across a reference to this ‘GRAFFITO’. It is of a galley inscribed on a natural rock above Loch Creran in Argyll.

Today I went to look for it! This was no easy task! The steep face of Beinn Churalain on which the GRAFFITO is inscribed has rocky outcrops everywhere, and at present the hillside bracken is dense and more than 3 feet high. It took me two hours to find this ancient graffiti in the middle of nowhere!

The inscribed galley is small, less than 2 feet long and 2 feet high.

Below the sketch the initials DS and the date 1729.

In June 1970, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland [now known as Historic Environment Scotland], went to Creagan to record the galley. Apparently the galley is “strikingly similar in essentials” to the elaborately carved galley on the tomb built in 1528 for Alexander MacLeod in St Clement’s Church at Rodel .

The CANMORE record states that this type of galley “can hardly have survived until the 18th century”.  It would seem that the 1729 date was added sometime after the carving of the galley, which is probably quite ancient.

The field visit of June 1970 stated: “On the hull of the galley there are faint traces of a group of letters beginning AST, the letter A being of the form with a V-shaped cross-bar which is commonly found in monumental inscriptions of the late-16th and 17th centuries. It seems probable, therefore, that the original sketch was made at a time when such galleys were still plying on Loch Creran, perhaps in the latter half of the 16th century, but that it was substantially re-cut in 1729.”

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