The evening sun hovered teasingly along the horizon. The snow glistened and crunched beneath my feet like a bed of shattered crystals. A long, clear, frozen icicle hung from a lone tree which stood proudly beside an ancient cottage in the middle of the field.
Culloden Battlefield - The location of the last significant battle on British soil.
Fought on the cold grey morning of the 16th April 1746 – this was a battle between the house of Stuart and the house of Hanover for the British throne.
Today the wind howls hauntingly across gravestones and memorial cairns which pepper the ground of the open space of the field. Blue flags fly where the Jacobites once stood, red flags mark the Hanoverian positions, iconic reminders of the brave and bloody battle that ended the Highland way of life.
Charles Edward Stuart, acting in his father’s name, landed in Kinlockmoidart with the intention of leading an uprising to restore his father to the British throne.
He gathered his forces near Glenfinnan and slowly they made their way towards Edinburgh, then down to Manchester and finally to Derby. They were only 100 miles from London when they made the decision to turn back.
The 5000 strong army made their way back through England and then up into Scotland where, at Culloden, a final confrontation with a 9000 strong Hanoverian army, lead by the Duke of Cumberland, ended the battle between the two houses once and for all.
The battlefield laid silent, save for the murmurs of dying men. The air hung heavily with the smoke and smell of fired muskets and the bodies of the brave and fearsome men, who had followed their Prince, stained the ground of Culloden.
The Scottish Highlands - changed forever – in this place, on this day in 1746.