Month: October 2020

The National Trust of Scotland has reaffirmed their opposition to a new attempt to develop Treetops Stables, Faebuie, Culloden Moor as a holiday complex.

They state,“We opposed the original planning application back in May 2018, and the application was subsequently turned down by the Highland Council.”

The Battle of Culloden ranged over a large area. The National Trust of Scotland own a key part of the battlefield at Culloden but not the land on which the stables are built.

Nevertheless, they have raised their concerns in the past against developments that threatened the integrity of the wider historic battlefield.

The wider historic battlefield has Conservation Area status, applied by Highland Council.

Culloden Muir Conservation Area

This was a protective measure put in place after the Scottish reporter overturned a decision by the council to refuse planning permission for a luxury housing development at nearby Viewhill Farm. This, as predicted, now represents an intrusive and unwelcome presence within prominent view of the main battle site.

The new proposal is currently before Highland Council.

Details can be found on the following link:

Objections to this proposal can also be found on the site and persons wishing to lodge an objection, as has this writer, should send these to:

Examples of objections to which one might refer are those of the Group To Stop Development At Culloden, Dr David Learmonth, A. S. McKenzie (short and concise) and Patricia Robertson among others.

The relevant National Trust of Scotland website statement can be found at:

A petition is available online: with the appropriate link below.

At the time of writing the petition, which is addressed to Historic Environment Scotland, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop.msp, Local Government and Communities Committee Members, had around 110,000 signatures.

12th October 2020

By Alison Campsie

The manager of Culloden Battlefield described official approval of plans to build a holiday park close to the historic site as “depressing”.

The holiday park sits around a mile north of the section of battlefield owned by National Trust for Scotland, with the conservation charity amongst those who objected to the plans. PIC: Pixabay.

Proposals for the holiday village near Culloden Moor, which features 13 to 16 wooden chalets and a 100-seat restaurant, have been recommended for approval by planners at Highland Council, despite strong opposition.

Councillors will take final decision next month.

The plans were strongly condemned by historians and campaigners given the site, the old Treetops equestrian centre at Feabuie, is where British troops “saddled up” before their 1746 clash with the Jacobites.

The new holiday park sits around a mile north of the section of battlefield owned by National Trust for Scotland (NTS), with the conservation charity among those objecting to the plans.

Raoul Curtis-Machin, NTS operations manager at Culloden Battlefield, said: “We objected very strongly and the fact that it is going to get approved is very depressing. We can do no more at this stage.

The planning system doesn’t allow us to object any more strongly. It’s just depressing.

“I don’t feel like our views are being heard. I am speechless.”

Mr Curtis-Machin said it was possible that the only way forward to protect Culloden was to buy up battlefield land.

Original plans for the holiday park were turned down in May 2019 on environmental grounds but a fresh application has been accepted by planners following amendments.

Andrew Grant McKenzie, a member of the Historians’ Council on Culloden and founder of Highland Historian consultancy and tours, is a former general manager at Culloden Battlefield.

He said the decision to recommend the application was a “disaster for academic and conservation at Culloden”.

Mr McKenzie added: “We are now closer than we have ever previously been to being able to accurately map the movements throughout the battle, but every year since 2018 we have had key areas literally taken from us by the Highland Council’s decisions to approve planning applications.

“This means that we are quickly losing the possibility of ever understanding this battle site holistically and accurately. If this particular application goes ahead, the damage done by the decision will inevitably reach far beyond the boundaries of this specific application. And yet, the same decision-makers now have none of the excuses given in 2018 and 2019.

“The information of critical contemporary academic research is fully available to them.”

CUARAN, BROUGE, PUMP, PAMPOOTIE, BOG SHOE all are used to describe this common Highland Footwear.

Modern day Highland Dance Shoes and Ghillie Brogues originate from this humble shoe.

Martin Martin, a visitor to the Highlands, wrote in 1703 ~ “The shoes anciently wore, were a piece of the hide of a deer, cow or horse, with the hair on, being tied behind and before with a point of leather.”

Edmund Burt, a Englishman visiting the Highlands in the 1730’s wrote ~ “They are often barefoot, but some I have seen shod with a kind of pumps made out of a raw cow hide with the hair turned outward. They are not only offensive to the sight, but intolerable to the smell of those who are near them. By the way, they cut holes in their brogues though new made, to let out the water when they have far to go, and rivers to pass; this they do to prevent their feet from galling.”

This is a pair was reproduced using tanned hide.





















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The most often repeated misinformation – from the printed press to the BBC – is the idea that the property owned by the National Trust for Scotland (outlined in green on the map) is the entire battlefield. It is, in fact, less than half the active ground of combat. The map below was created by Dr. Christopher Duffy, the most repected military scholar on the battle, when he was asked by the then Historians’ Council on Culloden, led by Deborah Dennison and Dr Duffy, to place current landmarks on the same map as the depiction of the battle action.

The blue spots represent current or proposed development on the battlefield (there are more since this was done) At the moment, aside from the spa and resort proposal (which is behind the Government lines to the east) there is a private road and large luxury house in planning for a most critical part of the actual brutal bloodshed on the field of combat.

Another piece of so much ‘fake news’ about the battle is the idea that this ground was insisted upon by the Prince – against Murray’s recommendation. This is simply not true and primary sources confirm this. The Prince and the High Command had chosen their ground the day before at Newlands to the east where the ground was drier and offered better sight lines along the battle array.

The position they had to take on the morning of April 16th when the exhausted Jacobite Army woke to find Cumberland had moved past Newlands, was between the Culloden Park Walls and the Culwhiniac enclosure. This position protected the Jacobite battle line from outflanking – critical for a force less in number, artillery and cavalry. The only alternative was to run and allow Cumberland to take Inverness, which, with Fort William in Government hands and Fort Augustus soon to fall, and would have resulted in the same Government desvastation of West Highlands and Islands which happened after the defeat . There was a chance the Jacobites could fight off Cumberland and most agreed (not just the Prince) they had to take it. Contrary to more common myths, the Jacobite right flank conducted a brilliant and successful fight against the Government. There were many complicated factors which led to the Jacobite defeat – it was likely, but not certain.

If you look to the Jaoobite left flank (the north) you will see that they moved forward from the original battle array (at the Culloden Park walls) into deep bog. This was largely Clan Donald under Perth and Glenbuchat. They were subjected to a terrible barrage of artillery fire as they waded through the thigh high bog. Ironically, had the Government used their previous tactic of sending in their cavalry and dragoons to combat the Highland charge (as they had at Prestonpans and Falkirk) the bog would have been an important protection for the left flank againt the cavalry charge. As it was, clan Donald was caught in it in the charge – this is where Young Clanranlad and Glenaladale was wounded and where Keppoch fell.

Three days after the battle, when the Government finally gave permission for the bodies to be buried, the pits were dug at the centre where about 700 Jacobite dead lay in piles. Did the men pressed to gather the bodies into carts go all the way north to the Culloden Park walls to pull bodies out of the deep bog? Their carts could certainly go nowhere near it. We know that at least 1200 jacobites were killed on the field and we know that the pits contain between 700 and 750 bodies. Very few of the dead were rescued from the field as the Government forces killed most who tried. The maths is simple.

The developers who want to build on this ground and drain the bog brought in GUARD to do an archaeological study. GUARD has been for the past ten years a group of archaeologists for hire, no longer a part of the University of Glasgow. They did some metal detecting on this ground and declared there was no evidence that anything happened there. But the eye witness statements from both sides of the battle do not confirm this conclusion. This ground has also been scavanged by souvenir hunters and later by metal detectorists (taking away buckets of musket balls from the field) for the past two hundred years – so the evidence has been long destroyed. It is also likely that remaining metal has sunk deep into the bog beyond the reach of surface detectors.

What is clear is that these facts are not widely known by the public or by the politicians and those who wish to exploit this ground for profit or luxury houses are winning the day. 87 objection letters have been written by history and cultural organisations to the Highland Council and are being ignored. A petition of over 100,000 signatures was also ignored. Even public statements by Scotland’s most esteemed historians, Prof Sir Tom Devine and Prof Murray Pittock have been ignored. Only a massive public uproar might change government policy to destroy this war grave. If you feel strongly about this – write to the FM and to your MSP. Write to Historic Environment Scotland to protest their lack of a consistent stance to protect this ground. Once lost – it is gone forever.

Culloden Battlefield 16 April 1746 and now



by Chris MacLennan and Alistair Munro

October 6, 2020

A photo montage showing local councillor Ken Gowans with the Culloden boundaries

Controversial proposals for a holiday village near Culloden Moor are to be recommended for approval by Highland Council, despite strong opposition.

Members of the south planning committee are to be asked to back the development, which has attracted outrage from those opposed to developments on the historic battle site.

Inverness Paving wants to build a four-star, £1 million holiday village with 13 lodges, a 100-seat restaurant and cafe and shop at the former TreeTops riding centre in Faebuie, a mile-and-a-half from the battlefield.

The chosen location was reputedly the staging ground for government troops preparing for combat against Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army.

An initial application was refused by the council under delegated powers on the grounds it would not “preserve, enhance or develop” the wooded site, citing both the Highland-wide development plan and the Culloden Muir conservation area.

At the time there were 87 objections to the development, including those from historical societies and organisations.

Campaigners opposed attend along with the land owner. The protest – all from “Stop Development of Culloden” Mary MacLennan, Kate McManus, Katrina Woods, Carolyn Seggie, Paul Jameson
Pictures by JASON HEDGES

Now, Highland Council officials are recommending the plans for approval.

Elected members have been told by Highland Council that, with the exception of an objection from National Trust Scotland, who were consulted on the application, “all other outstanding concerns/technical issues arising from the consultation process have now been addressed by the applicant”.

Officials say initial concerns identified as the primary reason for refusal in 2018 have now been addressed.

Highland Council’s principal planner, John Kelly, added: “It is our intention to present the application to members at the South PAC meeting on November 3, 2020, with a recommendation to grant planning permission”.

That has angered local councillor Ken Gowans, who said: “Myself and the late Jim Crawford were both pivotal in getting the conservation area put in place, which this development is inside.

“The conservation area is not intended to stop development of say single houses or farm structures, but it is designed to protect the area against what we would consider to be larger scale developments of three houses or more – and this development is of course significantly larger.

“I am very disappointed and disheartened that on this occasion, with such a scale of development, that Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has chosen not to raise any objection as a statutory consultee.

“Given that it is within the conservation area, I would have thought that would have had a significant bearing on their opinion.

“After all, HES’ role is to protect the history and heritage of Scotland and Culloden Battlefield is such a significant site we would have thought they would have had a much more robust approach to this.”

He added: “There have been concerns raised locally by the community council, the local community, as well as across Scotland and the world.

“This is not just a local issue. It is national and international, as is reflected by the 300 objections that have been lodged.

Artists impression of the four-star holiday village


For more information and how you might support the cause to halt this unwarranted development see: