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Jesus rocks in the Scottish Highlands
by MAUREEN CULLEY

21st September 2006



'Sermon on the Mount' in the Scottish Highlands


Arms outstretched and head tilted, it is the very image of Jesus preaching to the masses.

But, for all its similarities, this is not a sculpture of Christ, like the iconic statue overlooking the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

Instead, it is a strikingly shaped natural rock on a mountaintop in the Scottish Highlands, spotted by a hillwalking couple who were so stunned by its likeness to Jesus, they nicknamed it "Sermon on the Mount."

Helen Buckton and her husband, Mick, were amazed to see the form of Jesus, with his arms reaching out and hair made out of moss, in the crags while out climbing in the Glen Affric area and quickly got their camera out to take photographs to share with friends and family.

They spotted the rock while walking off the hills during an expedition this summer.

Helen Buckton, 56, a carer from Dalgety Bay, Fife, said: "I happened to look back and see this strange shaped rock. I couldn't believe it.

I thought at first it looked like an angel and then I realised that it looks a lot like Jesus stood there, with his arms outstretched, looking down on his flock, perhaps preaching to them. My husband agreed totally and we took some photographs.

"There's also grass on the top of the rock that looks like hair. We have been calling it 'Sermon on the Mount,' ever since."

Mrs Buckton and her husband, Mick, 62, who works as a stock controller, have been together for 23 years and have such a strong love of the mountains, they married two years ago on top of Ben Vorlich in Lochearnhead.

Instead of the traditional white dress, the bride wore a bright red cagoule and hiking boots for the three-hour trek up the 3,232ft mountain in Perthshire for the ceremony, conducted by her brother, Rev Alex Douglas.

She said yesterday that she is not particularly religious herself, but finds walking in the mountains a very peaceful experience.

And on the day she and her husband noticed the 'holy rock,' they were tackling three Munros - Scottish peaks above 3,000ft - starting with Mam Sodhail, Carn Eighe and then Beinn Fhionnlaidh.

She said: "It's absolutely wonderful - the fresh air, exercise and such beautiful scenery all around. Just being in the middle of nowhere and getting away from the hustle and bustle is lovely.

"When you're in the mountains, it's peaceful and so quiet. You never hear anything apart from a bird or a sheep. To see a rock that looks like Jesus just astounded us. We were both amazed.

"My husband and I are keen Munro-climbers. We've been doing them for about 10 years now and out of the 284, have 45 left to do. On this particular day, we were doing three - and it was on our descent of the second Munro that I happened to look back and see this stunning rock.

"I would hope, though, that anyone inspired to go and see it remembers that you have to be really fit to tackle these Munros and always go out into the hills well prepared, with the proper clothing, food, water and a compass."

The rock resembles the art-deco style 125ft statue of Christ the Redeemer In Rio de Janeiro, a landmark symbol of Christianity that was unveiled in 1931 and it is the latest in a long line of 'sightings' of Jesus whose likeness, in recent times, has cropped up in a piece of toast, a slice of burnt fish, a frying pan and a cloud formation.


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