Sunday, April 21, 2024

The Culloden Battlefield near Inverness, Scotland

Culloden is a tract of moorland located in the county of Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands. As we drove towards the battlefield, our tour bus passed through charming towns and breathtaking scenery.

Crossing over the River Ness into Inverness

Our tour guide told us to quickly glance to see these bible passages engraved on the wall of a building in Inverness.  Luckily, I could snap a few photos of them as our tour bus passed themThey are a series of thirteen verses carved on the first floor walls of a city center building on the High Street. The building dates back to 1815 and at one time was the Athenaeum Hotel. Our tour guide said they were placed there to remind local politicians of their Christian duties.

Please click on the photo collage above to enlarge it.

The Battle of Culloden took place on April 16, 1746.  It was the last battle of the “Forty-five Rebellion,” when the Jacobites, under Charles Edward, the Young Pretender (“Bonnie Prince Charlie”), were defeated by British forces under William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.

The battle, which lasted only 40 minutes, resulted in bitter defeat for the heavily outnumbered Jacobites. Some 1,000 of the Young Pretender’s army of 5,000 weak and starving Highlanders were killed by the 9,000 Redcoats, who lost only 50 men. 

The Highlanders finally broke and fled, and some 1,000 more were killed in subsequent weeks of hounding by British troops. Hunted by troops and spies, Prince Charles wandered over Scotland for five months before escaping to France and final exile. The Battle of Culloden marked the end of any serious attempt by the Jacobites to restore the Stuart Dynasty to the British throne.

Leanach Cottage

During the battle, a similar cottage stood on this spot and served as a field hospital for Government soldiers. Over time, the cottage has seen many changes.

After falling into disrepair, Leanach Cottage was rebuilt in the early 19th century. The cottage became a symbol for the battlefield, and the people who lived there became the site’s first tour guides. The cottage’s last resident, Mrs Annabelle Cameron (née Belle Macdonald) moved out in 1912 and the cottage stood empty. In 1944, Leanach Cottage was given to the National Trust for Scotland by Hector Forbes, the landowner. In the early 1960s, the cottage became the first ‘museum’ at Culloden Battlefield.

 Please click on the photos above to enlarge it.

Thatching on the cottage is made from heather collected from the battlefield and then crafted together by local tradesmen, while the walls are a mixture of stone and turf.

Please click on the photo to enlarge

Today, Leanach Cottage houses temporary exhibitions relating to the battlefield. These exhibitions cover current research including new archaeological discoveries, people’s connection to the battlefield, and the threats to the battlefield in modern times.

Please click on the photo to enlarge it.

Please click on the photo to enlarge it

Please click on the photo to enlarge it.

Please click on the photo to enlarge it.

The Culloden Battlefield was once wild fields of heather grazed upon by cattle. Since 1746, people from all around the world have visited the battlefield. The story of the Jacobite Risings has influenced works of art and literature across many generations, from "The Skye Boat Song" to the Outlander series..

In 1881, Duncan Forbes, the landowner of the moor, placed stone markers to show where most of the battlefield soldiers were buried.

As we walked along we saw stones for prominent Jacobite Scottish clans who fought and died on the battlefield.

Some stones were marked "mixed clans"

One of the most recognizable features of the battlefield today is the 20-foot (6 m)-tall memorial cairn erected by Duncan Forbes in 1881.

Inscription plaque on the cairn. 

Another stone of note is for the Frazer clan, due to the popularity of the novels by Diana Gabaldon and the subsequent TV series "Outlander."

The novel features Jamie Fraser, a hero of historical fiction. It looked like a visiting fan left a bouquet of roses in front of the Fraser Clan stone.

Have you read the Outlander books or watched the TV series?

We spent a lot of time on the battlefield so we only had a few moments inside the Culloden Visitor Center. 
A group of volunteers were there, entertaining visitors with music.

We were back on the bus passing beautiful fields full of sheep...

Another sight our tour guide pointed out to us was the Culloden Viaduct.

The Culloden viaduct consists of 29 arches and was designed by Chief Engineer Murdoch Paterson and constructed by the Highland Railway. It spans over the valley and River Nairn and is the longest masonry viaduct in Scotland, measuring 1800ft (549m) in length. The viaduct was opened in 1889 and remains in use today as the primary rail link into the Highlands.

We were on our way towards the Victorian town of Pitlochry in the heart of Scotland-- more about that pretty town in my next blog post.

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Barbara Rogers said...

Thanks for wonderful photos of Culloden, a really sad battle for the highlanders. Yes, I'm currently listening to audio-book of Galbadon's latest in the Outlander series. The mix of history with fiction is always interesting in her writing.

ellen b. said...

Loved this post and all the info you provided. We are still in the early planning stages for our trip to Scotland, Lord willing. Inverness and Pitlochry are on our radar to visit. Have a good week!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

It has been many years since I visited Scotland but I do remember how beautiful the Highlands were. Thanks for bring back memories. Karen (Back Road Journal)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Have not read (or watched?) the Outlander series, but we have watched several series set in Scotland and your photos reinforce what I've always thought it would be -- stunning and "wild" scenery, so beautiful. It sounds as if you had a really good tour guide , letting you know when to be ready to take pictures even if you weren't stopping.

NCSue said...

Oh my - this looks glorious. Love every image!
Thanks for sharing at

stevebethere said...

Nice post good read and photos too

Have a scotstastic week and thanks for your kind recent comments 👍

Handmade in Israel said...

What an incredible trip! The scenery is so beautiful. You can't beat a bit of Outlander culture too ;-) Leanach cottage looks like a wonderful restoration.

Joanne said...

That sounds like another fabulous day filled with beautiful scenery. I am learning so much history reading this series on your blog.

Little Wandering Wren said...

I would love to do this trip! You choose the perfect time of year, the colours are lovely. Thank you for allowing me to join you on a virtual trip. Next time, I will
prepare to read about Pitlochry with a cuppa and some Scottish shortbread!
Wren x

nic said...

No, I don't read or watch Outlander, although it has been filmed in the studio around the corner for many years now and my husband and dog almost featured unintentionally when they stumbled into the filming location in our local glen :D We visited Culloden (my husband has MacDonald/MacMasters roots, part of his family hails from Tiree under the Lords of the Isles, although you can also tell the Viking DNA) and the Clava Cairns nearby on our last visit to Inverness. Thousands of years of Scottish history in one small stretch.

Lillian "sognafaret" said...

Thank you for showing me

EricaSta said...

Such interesting information in this post, which fills me with joy. I only know about Scotland from the stories of friends and we have been wanting to visit this area for a long time! Of course I know the story of the Outlander. Scotland is similiar to Ireland but espite everything different.

Thank you for sharing with MosaicMonday
Have a pleasant week. Greetings from Heidrun

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

British history is so ancient and so bloody. The battlefield and surroundings are so beautiful. I love the old cottage and the thick stone walls and thatched roof. You saw so much on your trip. You are doing a great job of documenting it.

Jeanie said...

I never watched or read Outlander but this is another very interesting post. I wonder if in your Scottish travels they ever told you about the Rievers. I think they were more of the King James era.

Schotzy said...

Wonderful photos and commentary! We were at Culloden in 2022 but we got there after the info center closed and it was extremely hit, so we were there but really saw nothing! I love your accounting!

Rambling Woods said...

I lost the thread of our "clan" up in the highlands...

Jim said...

Interesting to see the history.

magiceye said...

Beautifully captured in pictures and words!

Photo Cache said...

Beautiful photos. I wish one day I could visit.

Worth a Thousand Words

thomas lee said...

great battle

Michelle said...

I have read the Outlander books and watched the series. I thought it was good and full of history. Lovely photos and thank you for linking up.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

I love the old grave stones. Beautiful area, steeped in history!

Lowcarb team member said...

I did enjoy this post and all the information you provided.
Thank you.

All the best Jan

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The viaduct is my favorite photo but it's hard to pick a fav. What a fabulous trip!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat
Sorry I was away and I am late visiting and commenting.
Your Scotland photos are wonderful, it does look like a great place to visit.
Of course I enjoy seeing the critters you captured, the Highland cattle are favorites. Thanks so much for linking up and sharing your post.
Take care, enjoy your day and have a great week ahead.
PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.