by Fiona Campbell-Howes
This is the Kebbuck Stone (see Canmore), a relief-carved cross slab dated to the 8th or 9th century, which today sits in the back garden of a cottage near Ardersier.
It’s usually overlooked in the corpus of early medieval (“Pictish”) stone sculpture because the carvings have almost completely worn away and the surface of the stone is overgrown with lichen.
It was badly eroded even in 1893, when antiquarian George Bain wrote in his History of Nairnshire:
“The slab is very much wasted from the effects of weathering and ill-usage, but the faint outline of a Celtic cross can still be traced upon one side of it. It is a cross of the earliest form—incised and undecorated—and it would have made a most interesting memorial of early Christian times had it been better preserved.