Sergeant Davies’ grave

The moss is still warm from the sun that has abandoned it. A magpie iridesces away, its cash-register cackle silencing the glen. Bronze bracken keeps pace with us on the hillside. Bare, ghostly larches hang at the top. We have walked here in a clammy mistdrift along the drove road of Glen Ey, following a tale of mystery.

One Sergeant Davies, by all accounts a foppish fellow and an unlikely army officer, disappeared here in 1749, while on patrol, it was supposed: he parted company from his men to chase a stag in Glen Ey on the way back from a rendezvous, and was never seen again. A year or so later, a ghost announcing itself as the sergeant appeared to a young man of Inverey, asking for burial. It led him to the Hill of Cristie in the glen, where bones were found, and clothes belonging to Davies. The ghost spoke to the youth in perfect Gaelic – or so he said – but the sergeant had never spoken it in life.

the glen breathes stories
out of unquiet silence
death visited here

Mandy Macdonald

Writer and musician Mandy Macdonald lives in Aberdeen, trying to make sense of the 21st and other centuries. Her poetry can be found in many anthologies and online and print journals in the UK and further afield. She is a member of Intuitive Music Aberdeen (, an ensemble specializing in music created by the performers, often in combination with poetry. 

Mandy’s first collection, The temperature of blue, was published in February 2020 by Blue Salt Collective (, and is available from