THE BONNIE PRINCE

The aftermath of Culloden exacted penalties
which were to leave a permanent scar on the
Highlands of Scotland in the deliberate extinction
of the Celtic way of life – by killing, destruction,
confiscation and deportation. A tragic time,
unequalled by any other in Scottish history.
Iain Campbell

Five miles east of Inverness lies the Culloden Battlefield – the site where (in 1746)  the Jacobites (many of them Highlanders) met the Government forces.

See, since 1688 the House of Hanover and the Jacobites (Stuarts) had been fighting – both thought they had a right to the throne. (The Jacobites wanted to overthrow the House of Hanover who were currently on the throne.) Now, they were meeting in Culloden and Bonnie Prince Charlie (Stuart) himself led the Jacobites to battle that day. The place chosen was a treeless, boggy and bare moor.  (That’s the Jacobites description, not mine.) The Jacobites had left their belongings back at the Inverness base and were ready to battle.

However, the Government (Hanover) forces were spending the day at a party,  drinking in honor of the Duke of Cumberland’s 25th birthday in Nairn – ten miles away from Culloden. So, the Jacobites decided to make a surprise attack there. They marched all night, but were still two miles short when they saw daylight. No surprise there. Discouraged, they went back to Culloden.

By the time the two armies met, the Jacobites were not only tired, but hungry (they hadn’t eaten in two days) and the conflict which had been going on for decades was over in an hour. Fifty government soldiers were killed, but 1,500 – 2,000 Jacobites lost their lives. As the Jacobites fled, the government soldiers came after them, killing soldiers, residents and bystanders. They were ruthless.

Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped and became a hero for leading the Jacobites even though they lost the battle – and the war.

A young lass named Flora McDonald helped the Bonnie Prince escape. And the most memorable thing about the story to the Scots (at least it seems that way) is that he promised to write her when he reached safety, but he never did.  She risked her life, but never heard from him again.

The visitor’s center is set up much like one in the states – a restaurant, gift shop, DVD and exhibits – then you walk out and stroll around the battlefield itself. However, the stroll on this particular day was a wet one.

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