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Culloden Battlefield

by Mike (Sluggo) Orr

The last Scottish uprising (1746) ended on the Culloden Battlefield near Inverness. Bonnie Prince Charlie had managed to march an army of Highlanders all the way to Derby (less than 150 miles north of London) in an attempt to reclaim the British throne for the Stuart family, but then had to retreat when King George sent troops behind him to Scotland. Charlie got his ass kicked on Culloden in a 40-minute battle that changed Scottish history. The next hundred years saw the breakdown of the clan system, the Clearances and mass emigration.

The clan system weakened when Gaelic, tartans and bagpipes were banned to discorage future uprisings, but it finally disintegrated when the interests of the chiefs and their people were no longer the same. Before, the people mainly served as a pool of fighting men for the chief's army. But after, the relationship became economic, and many chiefs found it more economic to turn out their tenant farmers and raise sheep instead. That left a third of the Highland population homeless, and with the potato famine (yes, it happened in Scotland too) it encouraged folks to get the hell out of there, to Canada, the US and Australia.

Now the tide has turned, and the Highlands are getting a net immigration from England. The Isle of Skye is now 40% English. (Hark, I hear Macbeth turning over in his grave, muttering "God forbid" in Gaelic.) One wonders how long until the place gentrifies and the original inhabitants can't afford to live there any more. But crappy weather and an isolated location serve to prevent the region from Londonifying.

Select any of the photos below, or click on the first one for a slide show.


Government line

Jacobite line


No dogs

Changing hut




Copyright © 1999-2004 by Mike (Sluggo) Orr