You know how much I love Pictish stones - so imagine my delight when I was out with my friend Andrew McAlindon the other day and just happened upon this one 😍 This is the Fowlis Wester Sculptured Stone, an impressively tall example of a cross slab (the cross is on the other side, you can see the arms projecting from the sides). There is a life-size replica outside in the village and I was disappointed for a split second when I read "replica." But then we quickly saw that the real one was in the church, and the church was open. There were other stones in the church as well - another cross slab and some fragments on the wall. (it is not uncommon for Pictish stones to be sheltered in churches).
This stone dates to the 8th or 9th century, and I'll leave it to Canmore (the national record of Historic Environment Scotland) to describe the carvings : "At the top there is a large double disc and Z-rod flying above a large horse (with disproportionately small head) and rider trotting to the left. An equally large hound pads along below the horseman, accompanied by two small hounds, and below again are two horse-riders side by side, all facing left. Beneath the horses a figure in a long tunic leads a cow with a bell round its neck, followed by six armed warriors marching abreast. The basal part of the panel is occupied by a crescent and V-rod with spiral decoration, a large bird and a monster devouring a human figure, along with smaller motifs no longer intelligible."
So let your imaginations run wild, what story do YOU think is being told here?