FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Culloden and Fort George

Posted in Inverness, Scotland by folkestonejack on April 18, 2011

As I had only one full day in Inverness I tried to make the most of this by heading out from Inverness on an early morning bus (no. 2) to Culloden Battlefield (a journey of about 25 minutes) from where I could walk to the Nairn viaduct and Clava Cairns before doubling back to the visitor centre at Culloden battlefield ready for its opening at 9am.

The battlefield visitor centre provides a fantastic explanation of the background to the conflict and the steps that led to the battle at Culloden. It’s fair to say that I had a limited knowledge of the battle and seem to have picked up many of the common misconceptions so it was good to get a much better grasp of what took place. I can’t stress highly enough what a good insight the visitor centre gives you into the reality – and with an interactive experience that helps to deliver this is an interesting way. One side of your route through the centre follows the government forces and the other the Jacobite forces – with the feed of artefacts and information broken up by hands on displays, moving maps and a battle immersion experience.

In particular I had fallen foul of the misconception that the Jacobite forces were a rabble (rather than a potent and organised military force) and was glad to have that corrected. I also had no idea about the night march to try and make a surprise attack on the government forces at Nairn in the early morning. How differently would things have turned out, had they succeeded?

At the end of the museum you can pick up a battlefield guide – a GPS device that shows you whereabouts you are on the battlefield and automatically starts playing when you reach the appropriate spots. Genius! I had a good wander round and got a reasonable grasp of the battlefield – ending back in the museum for the final displays on the aftermath of the battle. I would heartily recommend a visit to anyone.

I took a bus back into Inverness and headed to the bus station to catch the 11A bus to Ardesier, from where it is about a a 30 minute walk to the vast and imposing fortress that is Fort George. Unlike some of the forts I have visited recently this one is still an active military base, giving it a slightly different feel. I had a great time wandering around the walls and exploring the buildings open to the public before retracing my steps to Ardesier and catching the bus back into Inverness.

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