Irish-Scotch Travel Journal Day – 10

The Isle of Skye

On our UK Kingdom Travel Journal in 2018, we had as our post-humous guide the Venerable Bede via his Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

On this trip, our post-humous guide is Adomnan of Iona via his Life of St Columba. Adomnan was the ninth abbot of Iona Abbey, and he wrote his biography of Columba in the late seventh century, within 100 years of Columba’s death. The stories of Columba’s life had certainly been preserved in the oral tradition within the abbey and were probably written down as well, providing Columba with very good source material.

Our visit to the Isle of Skye today was made special by Adomnan’s account from one of Columba’s trips to Skye:

“Only an hour later – look! – a little boat came in to land on the shore, bringing in its prow a man worn out with age. He was the chief commander of the warband in the region of Ce. Two young men carried him from the boat and set him down in front of the blessed man. As soon as he received the word of God from St. Columba, through an interpreter, he believed and was baptized by him. When the rite of baptism was finished, as the saint had predicted, the old man died on the same spot and they buried him there and raised a mount of stones over the place. It is still visible there by the seashore. It is still visible there by the seashore. The stream in which he had received baptism is even today called by the local people ‘the water of Artbranan.'”

Adomnan, Life of St. Columba

This chief was almost certainly a Pict. The “region of Ce” was Pictish territory, and Adomnan mentioned earlier in the story that the man was a pagan. Also, Columba had to share the gospel with him through a translator.

Columba also knew the man was about to die. As a result, he didn’t waste any time. He didn’t try to build a relationship or engage in friendship evangelism. Even if the Lord had not shown Columba the man was going to die, the man had come from a long way and may never have met another Christian who would share the gospel with him. So, Columba made the most of the opportunity.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV).

Being wise means being able to assess the situation properly to know whether you should build trust, plant seeds, or go right to presenting a person with making a decision for Jesus. Columba chose wisely, and as a result, Adomnan was writing about 100 years later, and we are still reading about it 1,300 years later.

Though we had the GSB Research Division on it, we could not determine where “the water of Artbranan” was. Apparently, no one knows, but Adomnan knew and noted it was still there if someone wanted to fact check him. That makes the story even more credible.

The Isle of Skye is also the locale of St. Columba’s Isle near Skeabost, which was where it is believed he established a monastery and later a medieval church was built, the remains of which can still be seen. Sadly, we missed this. I place the blame on the GSB Research Division, both of whose members were in the spa getting manicures and their hair done the afternoon before our stop in Portree.

Banner in St Columba Scottish Episcopalian Church

I did happen upon St. Columba’s Scottish Episcopal Church in Portree. It does not claim a location Columba visited, though it does honor Columba in name and with a banner citing the 1400 year anniversary of Columba’s bringing the gospel to Scotland.

The preferred cruise excursion on Skye of the typical non GSB Travel Journal, non Kingdom history loving Jesus-following tourist is the scenic drive around the coast of Skye or hiking. Our team split between the two tours. Ann scaled a mountain to the base of the Old Man of Storr, while the rest of us drove past it in a bus.

Highland Cow on Skye

We did cover more ground than she did though and took in a waterfall (see pic above) and some of the most beautiful scenery of long, lumbering coasts, mountain landscapes on beautiful blue water horizons, and even a Highland Cow. I’m sure Columba would have been as captivated by the scenery as we were. GS

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