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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fortrose and Culloden

On our first trip to the UK, Karen and I spent a week in Cornwall, including a visit to Land's End, the southernmost point in Great Britain, a land of wind, rain, rocky coasts, giant brown spiders in our cottage, and palm trees. Since we were in the Scottish Highlands, we decided to go to Britain's farthest north point. But, first, a visit to Culloden, and the military death of Scottish independence.

Fortrose Cathedral ruins
In a driving rain, we stopped first in Fortrose, an old cathedral town with, not surprisingly, an old cathedral. Ruins, actually. Built in the 13th and 14th centuries, it began to fall apart only 200 years later.Still visible are the effigy of Countess Euphemia and the partial effigy of Bishop Robert Cairncross.

Gothic arch, heavy rain

Effigy of Countess Euphemia

Partial effigy of Bishop Robert Cairncross

Memorial plaque, Fortrose Cathedral

Then, it was on to Culloden, site of the last battle on British soil (1746) and the end of the Jacobite uprising against the Hanoverian line of kings. More than 2,100 Jacobites were killed, wounded, or captured; more than 300 British forces. Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Stuart) and the dream of a Scottish king were over. I know that Karen will write much more about Culloden in her blog, Letters from Shenanigan Valley, but this was the next logical topic on our trip.
Boggy Culloden battlefield

We made our visit on a gray day, when the scrubby, undulating fields were as boggy as the day of the battle. The original walls which offered troops firing positions have been re-built, though lower. Blue flags mark the position of the Jacobite lines; red mark the British. Small memorials mark where Jacobite clans fought, and in the shadow of the Culloden memorial that honors all the dead, are smaller monuments to the dead of individual clans, buried on the battlefield.

Plaque on Culloden memorial

Culloden memorial in the mist

Culloden memorial cairn

Monument to the Athols of the Highlands

Karen photographing monument to French who fought for Jacobites

Monument to the dead of Clan Mackintosh

Battle mixes the dead where they can not be separated

Flowers for Clan Munro

School trip to Culloden battlefield

It is a somber place, Culloden, a battlefield, a military graveyard, and a field of lost dreams.

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