Glemavis, The Auld Grey Kirk

I drive past Glemavis, The Auld Grey Kirk, New Monkland Parish Church almost daily, a church that often catches an admiring glance from me, I’ve been meaning to photograph it for a while, but it’s just never been the correct time. It’s so close to a school and most times I am near it, the school traffic is in it full glory. In this modern world a man walking around close to children with a camera is far more suspicious looking than the entire ISIS army standing outside the school :), for some strange and fascinating reason every human thinks that you want to photograph their child. Trust me, photographers don’t, sorry to break this to you, but your child only looks cute to you, to us photographers your child looks like a character in the hugely popular Minecraft game ūüôā . Joking aside, its not worth the hassle of having to explain that you didn’t travel¬† to Glenmavis in Airdrie to capture pictures of children.

Another reason for not shooting the Kirk, was that we aren’t always blessed with perfect weather,¬† my last few blogs and photo-walks around other churches and graveyards, the weather has been grey and dramatic (which I love) as can be seen in another of my blogs for Slammanan¬†Parish Church, outside Falkirk. For this shoot I wanted nice colours and bonnie sky’s. Today was the perfect day. I have never seen¬† lighting quite like it in all my years alive never mind all my years of being a photographer. The start of December 2017 has brought fascinating colours, awesome afternoon winter sun, and spectacular golden hours both at dawn and in the evening. But today the 21st December 2017 at 8:00am was something to behold in Lanarkshire, it was just starting to brighten up, the temperature was unusually about 7 or 8 degrees , the mist was lifting , quickly, every two steps I took, it vanished as quick as it appeared, almost eerie,¬† ¬†there was still that winter chill in the air, so the mist was hovering not quite sure if it had to evaporate or freeze. In some areas it decided to evaporate, but in areas the sun never quite caressed yet, it lay still and was enchanting. Today was the day “The Auld Grey Kirk on the Hill” New Monkland Parish Church was going to be photographed.


I knew I had around 45 mins to capture what I needed before I¬†was overrun with suspicious parents believing I had singled out their child,¬† of all children in Lanarkshire to get in my car and drive to Glenmavis to photograph, or worse still, before ISIS descended on Glenmavis like I described above. I have it on good authority that ISIS headquarters are based somewhere in Thrashbush, Airdrie ūüėČ ha ha. The light was also changing quickly, It was as though Mother nature Knew I was waiting on this exact moment. Grabbing my camera I froze and almost couldn’t take any photos mesmerized by the sky, the mist was acting as some kind of amazing filter , the sky was a pink, purple blue feat of spectacular beauty, what a show.


Glenmavis¬†is famous for its church, referred to locally as “The Auld Grey Kirk on the Hill”.¬† It is the original New Monkland parish church.¬† It was originally built in 1640, and stands on a hill overlooking the village – some 600 feet above sea level. From this hill on a clear day, it is possible to see the Isle of Arran, which lies some 60 miles to the west.¬†In 1777 the church was rebuilt from it’s single storey form into the building that stands to this day. (This is why the steeple of the church looks out of proportion to the present building). The “Auld Grey Kirk on the Hill” name comes from the discolouration of the stones of the building owing to smoke and fumes from nearby heavy industry. – Since this industry is now a thing of the past, the building has reverted to it’s original stone colour. See my blog on Coatbridge.

To finish I will say thank you to the people of Glenmavis, I shouldn’t really be as surprised as I am, however every person I met stopped to talk to me, to tell me of this wonderful church, the pride they had for it was awesome. in total six people stopped to tell me what they knew, encouraging me to walk around and admire the church. Here was me thinking I was going to be wrestled to the ground and paraded about the village as some sort of child snatcher,¬† what I got was people who literally crossed the road to tell me about the history of this church. Even the suspicious gentlemen who may have been the caretaker of the church, after challenging me about what I was doing, invited me in to have a look around this truly historic and wonderful church,¬† inside I was so excited to see it, that I forgot to take photos ;/ he was such a warm and knowledgeable man, pointing at the¬† Covenanters replica banner that took pride of place over the door way, I really wish I had got his name, he’s in one of the photos of the main door, so if you know him, please let me know so I can personalise this paragraph a little better. thanks for reading, and Glenmavis, what a wonderful slice of history you all enjoy, it’s easy to see why. For reference if you see highlighted colours these are links to other pages and info about things I write about, please click, even share my photoblogs. Thanks again, here is a selection of photos of¬†Glemavis, The Auld Grey Kirk.

Mark Mutch O’Hare