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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Che vandal attacks Christ image
Christ's crucifixion painting
The image of Christ was defaced in an apparent political attack
An investigation is under way after a famous Argyll cave painting of Christ's crucifixion was badly damaged by a vandal.

A large red and black image of the revolutionary Che Guevara has been painted over the original work, on Davaar Island at Campbeltown Loch.

The damage was discovered last week and has caused outrage in the area.

Nobody has claimed responsibility but a young man was apparently seen leaving the island carrying a bag at the time.

The image of Christ on the Cross was painted in secret in 1887 by a teacher from the area, Archibald MacKinnon.

It is said he had a dream telling him where to paint it.

It attracts hundreds of visitors every years, some of whom think of the painting as sacred.

'Saddened and outraged'

Over the years, the elements have taken their toll on the painting and Mr MacKinnon restored it twice himself, as have other artists, including the former head of the art department at Campbeltown Grammar School Ronald Togneri.

Ironically, Mr Togneri was amongst the first to see the damage.

Christ's crucifixion painting
The cave painting was created in the late 19th Century

The owner of the island, Joe Turner, said he was saddened and outraged by the attack.

It seems unlikely that the vandalism was a random attack.

The island can only be reached in a private boat or by taking a 40 minute walk across a causeway at low tide.

However, nobody has claimed responsibility or offered any explanation.

Mr Turner said the challenge now was to look at options for restoring the painting to its former glory.

See footage of the vandalised painting

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