A young couple raced across Scotland for an ancient handfasting ceremony after their original location, the Crannog Centre, burnt down in the night.
Klara Valkounova and Elliot Nurse, both 25, were both excited for their handfasting ritual while holidaying in Scotland.
However, a fire consumed the Crannog on Friday June 11- the night before the Oxfordshire couple’s ceremony.
“I woke up in the middle of the night and the Crannog Centre had emailed us at 2am to say the crannog had burnt down,” said Klara.
“It has been so crazy and I feel so sorry for all the people who work there.
“It was heartbreaking.”
‘We have to leave immediately’
But determined not to return south without holding the ceremony – which involves tying hands together to symbolise the bonding of two lives – Klara rushed to find another location.
She called Reverend Lindy Irving for help at 7am on the Saturday, just hours before the couple were due to check out of their Fort Augustus accommodation.
“She was so amazing and kind and she managed to squeeze us in on the Saturday,” said Klara.
“We had to pack the car and leave immediately.”
Interfaith minister Reverend Irving said she was delighted to help the couple after hearing their plight.
“They told me they had set their hearts on having a betrothal handfasting,” she said.
“They were willing to meet me anywhere on their journey down south from Fort Augustus.”
The spontaneous duo agreed to meet the minister at the stunning Falls of Dochart for their dream ceremony before driving back home.
“It was such an honour to be able to be able to do this for the couple after all they’d been through,” said Lindy.
“And something nice to come from what had happened at the Crannog Centre.
“It was so fortuitous that they could meet us at the Fall of Dochart. The setting was beautiful – you couldn’t really ask for much more.”
“It is definitely an adventure we will never forget,” added Klara.
After the “magical” ceremony, the couple explored the village of Killin quickly before jumping back into the car to travel to their next destination.
“This was a spiritual thing for us,” said Klara.
“We wanted to celebrate our love and our bond and our future together.
“We’re not married, but this was a little ceremony for us to promise that we will love each other forever.”
The couple have been together since they were 18. This was their first time in Scotland and they “fell in love” with the country.
Klara’s family is from the Czech Republic. She hopes that, once it is safe again, her parents can visit Scotland with them.
The Crannog Centre recently reopened after the major blaze.