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The National Trust for Scotland is marking the 275th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden with a series of online events on Saturday 17 April.

Working with historians, archaeologists and local partners, the Gaelic Society of Inverness and XpoNorth, the Trust has created a thought-provoking programme to share the latest research and to promote the protection of the battlefield. Tickets can be purchased here.

As part of the commemorations, the Trust has launched Culloden’s Fighting Fund to help us protect Culloden Moor. The battlefield is a powerfully emotive place, and it’s rare for a landscape of this age to be so relatively intact.

But the field of battle and the views that surround it are increasingly under threat from development, and we must work harder each day to protect its sense of place.

Action is needed now.

Help Culloden Today

The Highland Council has refused planning permission for the change of use and conversion of Cuchunaig steading.

The original application of 2015 and subsequent application of 2018 were refused, and were also rejected by the Scottish Government Ministers. One would now hope that as with the recently rejected  Treetops Stables  development (December 8) that the fate of this development has finally been determined.

The Culchunaig farmhouse sits on a pivotal part of Culloden Battlefield, outside the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland property, but where fierce hand to hand fighting took place and where soldiers of both sides fought and died.

During the battle HRH Prince Charles Edward Stewart took up a position just to the top right of the building as shown in the picture below.

The Highland Council listed six reasons underpinning their decision to refuse planning permission, which are detailed in The Highland Council Decision Notice below.

Refusal of Planning Permission_ Culchunaig Farmhouse_20-04611-FUL_2293396









A great result for the conservation of Culloden!


Below is a short video from the Roaul Curtis-Machin, Operations Manager at Culloden, National Trust for Scotland concerning developments on Culloden Battlefield.

The 16-luxury house estate at Viewhill that the Group to Stop Development at Culloden (GSDC) was originally set up to oppose can be clearly seen in the video. Like an eyesore as forewarned and fully visible from what some refer to as the ‘core battlefield’.

These are the same houses that the developer, planning agent, HES, the Scottish Government-appointed Reporter and pro-development local councillors, amongst others, insisted would not be the case.

And this is the view through just a small gap in the trees along the B9006 road which are likely to be felled in the near future.

We all share the concerns of the NTS and welcome their revised recognition of the importance of other key sites such as Culchunaig, and GSDC calls on all like-minded individuals and organisations to work to prevent further unwanted developments on the battlefield.

Culloden 300 with Raoul Curtis-Machin

Thanks to David Learmonth and the GSDC  for their commitment to preserving the integrity of the Culloden Battlefield.

This y-DNA project currently has 370 members. Only male testers who have done a Y-DNA test are eligible to join.

Thanks to the participation of the 370 male testers to date and the tireless work of administrators Joanne Cameron, Loraine Smith and Kim Taylor good progress is being made in identifying the various Cameron cadet lines with yDNA, and that is expected to continue as more men test. You should be aware that in order to determine if you match a particular cadet line, you will need to test at the highest level (BigY).

The goal of the project is the identification of the yDNA mutations that delineate the direct Lochiel line, the lines of the founding ‘tribes’ (Macgillonie, McMartin, McSorley), and the numerous cadet lines.

In addition, the aim is to identify and categorize the many yDNA signatures belonging to Camerons who are not descended from the line of the Chiefs or from one of the original ‘tribes’.

Lastly, evidence is sought that might validate or disprove any of the many legends regarding the origins of Clan Cameron. This necessarily involves analysis of results for other Clans that appear to have genetic links with the Camerons  (for Group A of the project, the main stem of the Clan, this is so far some MacPhees, some MacNabs, a group of Grants, and a small group of MacMillans).

Thanks to Project administrator Joanne Cameron who recently posted the following summary of findings to date.

Cameron yDNA Project findings to date.











There have been 9 new subclades downstream from R-A6138 (the Cameron defining SNP) in the last year. The advances in our understanding and better definition to the Cameron tree only comes about through the testing of the BigY700. If anyone is wondering what they need to do to advance their research of their family line then this is the way to do it. If you know of 3rd or 4th Cameron male cousins (the further out the better) then consider asking them to test also! The science really is doing all the talking and from here it can only get better! We currently have 4 BigY 700 tests in the works, it will be very interesting indeed to see what these tests reveal.








MacGillonie subclade.


Clunes subclade.












McMartin subclade, our largest pool of BigY 700 testers in the Project to date.



Congratulations to Commissioner for Clan Cameron in Australia,  Dr James Lachlan Cameron, who has been recently awarded the Doctor of Philosophy from the Australian National University.

James has been the editor of the Clan Cameron Australia newsletter since 2009, and was President of Clan Cameron New South Wales from 2009 to 2017.  He has attended Clan Cameron NSW and Scottish events since he was a teenager. James has had a keen interest in Clan Cameron and Highland history since a young age, and grew up in a family environment where they were definite influences.  His Cameron ancestors arrived in Australia on The Boyne in 1839, a voyage that carried over 250 Highlanders, including over 100 Camerons.  His Cameron grandfather grew up on a property 40kms north-west of Dubbo, NSW, and was a policeman.  His father was an economics teacher and horse breeder, and mother a French teacher.

James has had a varied career, from managing an American Express branch in Sydney, to teaching English in South Korea and Germany, to working as a policy manager for the Australian Automobile Association and with the Australian Institute of Building in Canberra.  From the start of 2016, he has taken on the new challenge of Executive Director of the Australian Construction Industry Forum.  For three years he has also studied and worked in Scotland and England.

James was born in and grew up mostly in Bathurst, New South Wales, but also attended Sydney Technical Boys High School for several years.  James undertook his undergraduate studies and Honours year at the University Of New England, Armidale, and Masters and je has recently completed his PhD at the Australian National University.

James’ doctoral thesis examined the electoral success of the Scottish National Party (SNP) across the first five elections of the Scottish Parliament from 1999 until 2016. The key findings of James’ study are that the SNP has been successful in Scottish elections primarily because of a process of professionalisation over several decades, opposition and governing competence, and effective leadership. The findings suggest that the SNP is no ordinary party, but a party that has and will play a pivotal role in Scottish, British, European and world history. James asserts that the success of the SNP undoubtedly has and will inspire nationalist and regional parties in other advanced countries.

A fan of country towns with heritage buildings, James currently lives in Goulburn, New South Wales, which is strategically located an hour’s drive from the work and study opportunities of Canberra, but relatively close to Sydney and hometown Bathurst.    When not working, studying and involved in clan matters, James likes to spend time with friends, learn languages (speaks fluent German, broken Gaelic, and some French and Dutch), read widely, travel, and watch the occasional film.

Members of The Highland Council’s South Planning Applications Committee have unanimously refused permission for a planning application from Inverness Paving Ltd regarding land at Treetop Stables, Faebuie, Culloden Moor, Inverness.

Councillors have refused the application for change of use from an equestrian centre to holiday, leisure and hospitality facilities including 13 lodges, cafe/shop, reception, laundry and restaurant.

Members unanimously approved a motion by Cllr Ron MacWilliam seconded by Cllr Carolyn Caddick to refuse the application which was contrary to officers’ recommendations to grant planning permission.

The Group to Stop Development of Culloden campaigners opposing Treetops Stables development have a hard fought win. Mary MacLennan, Kate McManus, Katrina Woods, Carolyn Seggie, Paul Jameson

Inverness Paving Ltd’s plans for a change of use from an equestrian centre at Tree Top stables in Faebuie to a leisure facility with 13 lodges, café/shop, laundry and restaurant were first rejected in May 2019, but reappeared a few months later with some alterations.

Full new plans were submitted in May this year, and attracted renewed protests and objections.

According to historians, the site was the staging ground for government troops preparing to do battle against the Jacobite army.

The first application was refused by the council under delegated powers on the grounds that it would not ‘preserve, enhance or develop’ the site, citing both the Highland-wide development plan and the Culloden Muir conservation area.
At the south planning meeting, councillors pointed out that the changes in the new plans were minimal, concerning the siting of lodges and access paths leading to them.

They raised numerous areas of concern, including road safety, tree management and ‘development creep’ in the extended battlefield area.
Local member Carolyn Caddick said: “All the information that’s come forward from the applicant is not suggesting anything different from the last application.
“There have been three to four thousand objections, including the two community councils, and Scottish ministers say if we move to approve they may call it in.

“This is a huge development where there should be no development.

“It will compromise and have a significant impact on the battlefield, a site of international and national importance.”

She went on to second a motion by councillor Ron MacWilliam to refuse the application based on a raft of policy contraventions.

Mr MacWilliam said: “This has got to stop somewhere. This battle took place over a wide area, you have to reasonable about where you’re allowed to build and not build, and we keep going back over it.

“I recognise the need for economic growth and the provision of tourist facilities, but this is a battlefield war grave, a place of quiet and we need to keep it intact.”

Core battlefield owners, the National Trust for Scotland welcomed the decision, and called for a national conversation about Culloden.

Phil Long, NTS chief executive said: “This is an excellent and wise decision by Highland councillors and we commend them for it.

Councillor Ken Gowans’ advocacy for the Culloden Battlefield conservation area and his staunch opposition to this project is also recognised and appreciated.

A photo montage showing Ken Gowans with the Culloden boundaries.

Cr Ron MacWilliam






Cr Carolyn Caddick


The Highland Council

Group to Stop Development at Culloden Moor – Facebook

A plan for a Culloden steading conversion re-appears after Scottish Ministers knocked back the proposals sparking the ire of campaigners trying to prevent battlefield developments

A drone image of the current steading

The man behind an award winning architectural practice has submitted an application for a similar project despite it already having been through the entire planning approval process only to be ultimately rejected by Scottish ministers.

Campaigners aiming to preserve the historic Culloden Battlefield have reacted with fury at the re-emergence of the plan to convert a steading on the battlefield into a large home.

It comes less than a month after being rejected by Scottish ministers and before Highland Council could even formally recognise that outcome at the next south planning applications committee on Tuesday.

Previously, it had been granted planning permission but the Scottish Government called it in to examine the council’s contested decision, a reporter recommended approval but in a final twist Scottish ministers rejected it.


But the man behind the development, architectural technician Mark Hornby of MRH Design, says the plans to create a U-shaped home at Culchunaig Steading have been greatly scaled back.

In a design statement, Mr Hornby said the new proposal took into account the objections of Scottish ministers and the revised plans mean that only the existing building is part of the development.

“The revised and scaled down proposal now submitted has taken the comments and findings of the Scottish ministers fully into consideration and has been guided by the concerns and issues raised,” he said.

“In particular, ministers considered that only the ‘sympathetic’ conversion of the existing steading would be assessed as acceptable.

“The proposal is now governed solely by a strict conversion and refurbishment of the existing building. The scope of development has been scaled down with only the existing building comprised within the development.”

The move provoked uproar from the Campaign to Stop Development at Culloden.

Group spokesman David Learmonth said: “This is a truly appalling case of the inability of Scottish planning law to preserve sites of national importance.

“It is beyond appalling that any Scottish battlefield, much less Culloden, denominated as ‘of national importance’ is given no more regard under standard planning laws as just any other piece of land within the nation.

“To date, Culloden Battlefield has already been encroached upon to the north (Viewhill) and further proposed developments to the east (a holiday park at Treetop Stables), south (Tannach, new house), south-west (Culchunaig, new house) and north-west (Muirfield, new house).

“Each and every one of these developments is located on strategic locations of Culloden Battlefield and threaten to destroy the integrity and archaeological features and remains.”

It is not known when the council will make a ruling on the application, which has received 18 objections.

On Tuesday, the south planning applications committee will also determine whether hugely controversial plans for 13 holiday lodges, a shop or café and restaurant at Treetops Stables will get the go-ahead. If councillors give conditional approval, Scottish ministers will be told and will decide whether to call it in for a final decision.

By Scott Maclennan –




Published: 17:30, 06 December 2020

Updated: 08:47, 07 December 2020

The Group to Stop Development at Culloden

An appeal from the Group to Stop Development at Culloden (GSDC) that a strong message needs sending that once planning permission is refused for any site within the Battlefield that decision must be considered Final. No more re-submissions of renewed plans within days of a refusal.

We need each and every GSDC member and friend to help us to send that message loud and clear. Anyone in the Highland region, Scotland or worldwide can do so. Currently there are just 19 objections on the new planning file for the house at Culchunaig.

HRH Prince Charles Edward Stuart took up a position during the latter stages of the battle of 1746 in the field just above the steading depicted in the photo. From there, ‘Prince Charlie’s Stone’ once stood.

If you need any help in writing your objection, please look up the GSDC objection that can be found in the comments section in the planning file (link here:…).

Please write to with your objection to planning application 20/04611/FUL.

Thank you for your support!

Group to Stop Development at Culloden Facebook


Campaigners fighting developments at Culloden face a fresh front after plans to build a house within the historic boundary of the battlefield were revived – just a week after Scottish Ministers took the unprecedented move of rejecting proposals for the site.

Owners of the steading at Culchunaig, which sits just south of the perimeter fence of the NTS-owned portion of the battlefield and where ‘major action’ on the Jacobite right wing unfolded during the battle in April 1746, have returned with a “scaled back” plan to develop the derelict building.

Their original proposals, which expanded the original steading with a contemporary design, was rejected by Scottish Ministers last month when they took the unusual decision to reject the Planning Reporter’s recommendation to approve the development.

The rejected house would lead to a “surbanising effect” of the landscape with the site highly sensitive to development given the “national historic significance” of the battlefield, ministers found.

The applicants have now come back with a new application for a more traditional design for the site.

A statement from the architects said: “The revised and scaled down proposal now submitted has taken the comments and findings of the Scottish Ministers fully into consideration and has been guided by the concerns and issues raised.

“In particular Ministers considered that only the ‘sympathtic’conversion of the existing steading would be assessed as acceptable.

“In particular, the proposal is now governed solely by a strict conversion and refurbishment of the existing building.”

The new design offered a more “sympathetic” to the historical setting and location of the building, the statement added.

Contemporary elements have been removed with the new design keeping to the original spaces for doors and windows. Exisitng slates will be used for the roof, instead of metal cladding.

Plans for new outbuildings, including a garage and summerhouse, have been scrapped.

Last month, the Group to Stop Development at Culloden hailed the “momentous turnaround of events” when Ministers rejected the design plan for Culchunaig.

Today, spokesman David Learmonth said the Government now had to step in and offer ‘meaningful’ long term protection of Culloden.

He said: “It is appalling that Culloden battlefield is given no more regard under Scottish planning law than any other ordinary piece of land.

“Highland Council, Historic Environment Scotland and National Trust for Scotland have ignored the GSDC, and failed together with the Scottish Government to define any meaningful mechanism to preserve this special location for future generations.”

He said the battlefield had been encroached on all sides by a number of proposed and approved developments.

“Every one of these developments is located on strategic locations of Culloden Battlefield and threaten to destroy the integrity and archaeological features and remains,” he said.

Meanwhile, Highland Council officials have recommended plans for a holiday park with 13 lodges and a restaurant at Faebuie, which sits within the Culloden Muir Conservation on Area and the historic battlefield boundary, are approved.

“It is time for the Scottish Government to take a definitive stance to recognise and implement measures to preserve the cultural and national significance of this historical site,” Mr Learmonth said.

An objection has been lodged by the Administrator of this website and can be downloaded at:  Objection to 20_04611_FUL_1 December 2020

The Highland Council planning website relating to this application can be found at

With acknowledgement and thanks to:

By Alison Campsie

Friday, 4th December 2020,