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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:

Donald Cameron of Lochiel was the 19th chief of Clan Cameron. Soon after Prince Charles Edward Stuart set foot on the Scottish mainland Lochiel raised the greatest number of men willing to fight for the Jacobite cause from Lochaber.

Lochiel, 19th chief of Clan Cameron

On the 19th August 1745, he led his regiment for the Gathering of the Clans and with pipes playing and banners flying, arrived at Glenfinnan with 827 men.

He was one of Prince Charles’ most trusted advisors and commanders. His honourable Nature in ensuring that prisoners of war were always well treated earned him the name of “Gentle” Lochiel.

He commanded the Lochiel Regiment throughout the 1745/46 campaign and personally led the Cameron men and the Stewarts of Appin in the Highland charge of the Jacobite right wing on the field of Culloden 16 April 1746.





Cameron of Lochiel Flags of the ’45’

He was within ten paces of engaging the British Army Regiments of Barrel’s and Munro’s with his sword and stopped briefly to fire his pistol. In the act of drawing his sword, he was seriously injured in both ankles by a blast of grape-shot fired by enemy cannon.

Lochiel was carried by his men from the field, along with the Cameron banner, which was bravely saved that day. He later joined Prince Charles on the ship that sailed with them to France.

The pistol of Lochiel which he fired that day on Culloden field has been recently restored by Paul Macdonald of Macdonald Armouries.

It is one of the finest examples of a scroll-butt Scottish steel pistol, crafted by Alexander Campbell. Alexander was one of the best craftsmen working in Doune, a village famous for production of Scottish pistols throughout the C17th and C18th.

The pistol is crammed with hand-engraving, etching and inlaid silver scroll-work and badges. One of the silver badges on the grip bears the engraved decoration of the Cameron Clan crest. The five arrows represent the five cadet branches of Clan Cameron. These are surmounted by UNITE, an Anglicised version of the original Gaelic motto “Aonaibh Ri Cheile”.

One of the retaining screws for the belt-slide was missing, necessitating the hand-crafting of a period-style replacement and an overall refurbishment of all metalwork.

The pistol is a rare national treasure and testament to our unique martial culture, aspirational craftsmanship and the fearlessness of our forebears.





It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Valerie Cairney, a great lady and mother of the Scottish Banner publisher and editor Sean Cairney.

Valerie, along with husband Jim, came up with the idea of a Scottish publication in the 1970s. Under Valerie’s stewardship, and now that of son Sean, the Scottish Banner has helped to bring together the global Scottish community with her love of Scottish heritage and culture.

In the September edition of the Scottish Banner Sean writes of Valerie’s passion for and dedication to celebrating Scottish culture and its people and of the joy she had in attending Highland games across the world and connecting with the people, many of whom became life-long friends.

Clan Cameron in Australia wishes Sean and the family our sincere condolences.

Another link has been added which may be of value to those seeking clarity regarding some Scottish place names and terms.

I have included a few below as an indication of what one might find useful.

Go to Links on the website Header.

Run rig

Run rig, or runrig, also known as rig-a-rendal, was a system of land tenure practised in Scotland, particularly in the Highlands and islands. It was used on open fields for arable farming. Strips of land allocated to tenants.


Crofting is a traditional social system in Scotland defined by small-scale food production. Crofting is characterised by its common working communities, or “townships”. Individual crofts are typically established on 2–5 hectares (5–12 1⁄2 acres)  for better quality forage, arable and vegetable production. Each township manages poorer-quality hill ground as common grazing for cattle and sheep.

Highland Clearances

The Highland Clearances were the evictions of a significant number of tenants in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, mostly in the period 1750-1860.

Factor: In Scotland a factor (or property manager) is a person or firm charged with superintending or managing properties and estates—sometimes where the owner or landlord is unable to or uninterested in attending to such details personally, or in tenements in which several owners of individual flats contribute to the factoring of communal areas.


A person who holds a lease and sublets land to others. (Tacksmen were found mostly in the highlands from the 17th century, and were often a close relative of the chief. Although some of them farmed the land themselves, most lived off the difference between the low rent they paid to the chief and the rents they charged to sublet the land.


The term for a peasant farmer. They occupied cottages and cultivated small land lots.

Highland Cottars (including on the islands, such as Mull) were affected by the Industrial Revolution. Landowners realized that they could make more money from sheep, whose wool was spun and processed into textiles for export, than crops. The landowners raised rents to unaffordable prices, or forcibly evicted entire villages. This resulted in the mass exodus of peasants and cotters, leading to an influx of former cotters into industrial centers, such as a burgeoning Glasgow.

The Statutes of Iona

Passed in Scotland in 1609, required that Highland Scottish clan chiefs send their heirs to Lowland Scotland to be educated in English-speaking Protestant schools. As a result, some clans, such as the MacDonalds of Sleat and the MacLeods of Harris, adopted the new religion. Other Clans, notably the MacLeans of Morvern & Mull, MacDonalds of Clanranald, Keppoch, Glengarry, and Glencoe, remained resolutely Roman Catholic.


Often mistakenly called “plaid” (particularly in the United States), but in Scotland, a plaid is a large piece of tartan cloth, worn as a type of kilt or large shawl. The term plaid is also used in Scotland for an ordinary blanket such as one would have on a bed.

The Dress Act of 1746 attempted to bring the warrior clans under government control by banning the tartan and other aspects of Gaelic culture. When the law was repealed in 1782, it was no longer ordinary Highland dress, but was adopted instead as the symbolic national dress of Scotland.

Declaration of Arbroath

The name usually given to a letter, dated 6 April 1320 at Arbroath, written by Scottish barons and addressed to Pope John XXII. It constituted King Robert I’s response to his excommunication for disobeying the pope’s demand in 1317 for a truce in the First War of Scottish Independence. The letter asserted the antiquity of the independence of the Kingdom of Scotland, denouncing English attempts to subjugate it.

Generally believed to have been written in Arbroath Abbey by Bernard of Kilwinning (or of Linton), then Chancellor of Scotland and Abbot of Arbroath, and sealed by fifty-one magnates and nobles, the letter is the sole survivor of three created at the time. The others were a letter from the King of Scots, Robert I, and a letter from four Scottish bishops which all made similar points. The Declaration was intended to assert Scotland’s status as an independent, sovereign state and defend Scotland’s right to use military action when unjustly attacked.

“As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself”


Landless farm labourer or servant. Rustic.

Authority of the clans (the dùthchas and the oighreachd)

Scottish clanship contained two complementary but distinct concepts of heritage. These were firstly the collective heritage of the clan, known as their dùthchas, which was their prescriptive right to settle in the territories in which the chiefs and leading gentry of the clan customarily provided protection.[14] This concept was where all clansmen recognised the personal authority of the chiefs and leading gentry as trustees for their clan.[14] The second concept was the wider acceptance of the granting of charters by the Crown and other powerful land owners to the chiefs, chieftains and lairds which defined the estate settled by their clan.[14] This was known as their oighreachd and gave a different emphasis to the clan chief’s authority in that it gave the authority to the chiefs and leading gentry as landed proprietors, who owned the land in their own right, rather than just as trustees for the clan.[14] From the beginning of Scottish clanship, the clan warrior elite, who were known as the ‘fine’, strove to be landowners as well as territorial war lords.[14]


In reference to the history of Scotland, a township is often called a toun (the Lowland Scots word for a township), although before the Anglic language Scots became widespread in Scotland the word baile was more commonly used.

(Bhaile) a town, village, hamlet, township or homestead. [Gaelic]