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Christ in a Cave

In 1887 a startling painting of Christ on the Cross, surrounded by doves, was discovered by a fisherman in one of the nine caves on Davaar Island, which is at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch in Kintyre. It is lit only by a single shaft of light coming from a hole in the rock above it, and was taken at first to be a miracle, though it later transpired to have been painted by Archibald MacKinnon (1850-1935), a local art teacher, who had been given the vision of the painting in a dream.

Davaar Island is tidal, reached only at low tide by walking across the natural shingle causeway, apparently known as the dorlin. The painting can be found in the seventh of the nine caves on the island, in as near a state now as it was when it was first painted, having been restored following vandalisation in 2006 by someone over-painting Christ’s face with that of Che Guevara.

There is also a Stevenson lighthouse on the island, built in 1854, and, since it was automated in 1938, three years after the death of Archibald MacKinnon, the island is uninhabited, apart from a few sheep and the Face of Christ in a Cave.

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