Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns

Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns are tight here on our doorstep in Culloden, Inverness – where we live.

The Battle of Culloden is both very sad, sinister and fascinating. Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in the brief battle that was the culmination of the Jacobite Rebellion (one of several) known as the Jacobite rising of 1745, also referred to as the ’45.

The history of the Scotland, it’s monarchs and rulers, the clans, the Jacobites, the Royalists and the Hanoverians is fascinating. It is something that we offer to explore with you on our Highland tours. Of course, there are recorded battles in and for Scotland going back as far as circa AD 84.

The battle of Culloden took place on 16th of April 1746. The Jacobite army led by Bonnie Prince Charlie lost to the government troops. After an hour, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his men withdrew from the bloodiest battle on record in these isles. It was the last hand-to-hand battle fought on British soil. It is a common misconception that this was the Scots vs the English. In fact, it was a fight between those loyal to the deposed Catholic King James VII of Scotland (and II of England) and the House of Stuart versus Hanoverian forces (aka Red Coats) led by the Duke of Cumberland.

The Jacobites included patriotic Scots and disaffected Britons, as well as some French and Irish. The Jacobite Risings through the 17th and 18th centuries inspired many often romanticised stories, poems and songs depicting great acts of bravery, military wins and losses.

The Hanoverian army comprised also comprised some Scots – clans loyal to (or at least in league with) the government, Protestant/Anglican English, plus some German, Dutch and Irish. The House of Hanover (the Hanoverians) were a German royal dynasty who provided the monarchs of Great Britain and Ireland from George I in 1714 until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. Government losses were much lighter than the Jacobites with a reported 50 dead and 259 wounded.

The Culloden Battlefield Memorial Project, visitor centre and exhibition is a modern and vastly upgraded experience, which opened in December 2007.

Just down the road from the battlefield is Clava Cairns, also known as Balnuaran of Clava. These are 4,000 year old, well-preserved standing stones, stone circles and burial cairns. As well as being considered part of the ‘Princes Trail’, the cairns are said to be the inspiration for Craigh na Dun – the fictional stone circle which features prominently in Diana Gabaldon’s popular Outlander books and the resulting TV series.

Also featured in the pictures below are the remains of the church and a standing stone at Milton of Clava, plus the Prisoners Stone and Clootie Well both of which are part of the history of the Battel of Culloden.