Groam House Museum is a small, free museum, just 30 minutes from Inverness. I was eager to visit this museum because it houses some impressive Pictish stones. Before leaving for Scotland I didn’t have time to read about the Picts, so I was ready to discover their story. At Groam House we’ve had one of the best experiences in a museum. Maybe because of its small size and remote location, but surely because the museum guide was so happy to see us and told us a lot about the museum and the Picts.
Groam House Museum opened its doors in 1989. I share a few highlights from the museum. Also, they held lectures throughout the year, for a small fee of £6. You can see on their website details about those lectures.
The Picts were native to eastern Scotland, while the Scots arrived from Ireland to settle in the western parts. As the Vikings attacked and plundered the eastern coast, the Picts suffered heavy losses of both life and property. So, alliances with the Scots would be natural, until the Picts were virtually wiped out by the Vikings. The Scots would take over the eastern part of Scotland and the Pictish way of live and culture would disappear. It’s quite remarkable that these things happened 1,200 years ago. I had no idea these things happened so recently. I have a book by Plato in my library, that was published 1,100 before the Pictish culture died out, and we don’t have any records or knowledge about them.
This large stone was carved in the 8th century. Its patterns are lovely, it looks so intricate. On the other side there is a Christian cross, the one you can see in the next picture.
This is a fabric hanging made by Marianna Lines in the 1980s. Using natural pigments, she has recreated the design of the Pictish stone on fabric. Now is not permitted to make rubbings of any historic stones.
These stones are sculpted with tales, like the one of damnation with a human being attacked by three different beasts. Two stones are part of a tomb or a decorative wall from a church. We don’t know if these patterns had a meaning or not.
On the first floor of the museum there is a collection of artworks made by George Bain. He was inspired by Celtic design and created some beautiful pieces of artwork. On the ground floor there are more Pictish stones. There is also a gift shop with relevant books, if you are interested in learning more about the Picts.
Fortrose is a small town, worth a visit. It was a bit chilli when we visited and we had other plans for the afternoon, so we missed the ruins of the cathedral. I’d love to visit the town again and see the cathedral too.
Groam House Museum is on the High St, Rosemarkie, Fortrose, IV10 8UF. There is a car park nearby.