We left Loch Ness, not having spotted Nessie. My children seemed entirely non-plussed, little cynics that they are. We drove north past Inverness, and to Clava Cairns, the site on which the fictional Craigh na Dun is based. Clava Cairns is the name given to a collection of three bronze age circular tomb chambers surrounded by a number of standing stones. One of those stones is split. Keri was among several women in our group who had read the Outlander books, and they were all anxious to see, and have their pictures taken with the split rock. Keri was equally anxious to post her photo on and send copies to her Outlander-loving friends back home. As a non-Outlander person, I can attest that Clava Cairns was still worth seeing. Although nowhere near as famous or dramatic as Stonehenge, the structures here are open to the public. The ability to walk in -- and on -- some of the stone structures gives you a different kind of sense of the place.
I was further relieved to leave the place with Keri in tow. I think some of the descriptions she has heard about the lack of hygiene in 1745 Scotland convinced her that she belongs in the present.
The Trust has also constructed next to the site a fantastic museum that, quite explicitly tells the story of the battle -- including the lead-up, the fighting and the aftermath -- from the Jacobite and Government perspectives. I'll give here an absurdly short, mostly objective version. The death of Queen Anne in 1701 left a vacancy on the British throne that Parliament was determined to fill with a protestant, prompting the Act of Settlement of 1701 that, in turn, led to the coronation of a German, George I. Many in Britain, with concentrations of people in Scotland and Ireland, were irate, wanting as the king any of a number of persons from the House of Stuart who had a more senior claim on the crown. All of those persons were Roman Catholic.
In 1707, the Scottish Parliament ratified the Treaty of Union, effectively dissolving itself and merging Scotland into the United Kingdom. Disappointment led to dissent led to open revolt by the Jacobites, those who favored the re-instillation of someone from the House of Stuart. There were two main Jacobite rebellions, one in 1715 and the other in 1745. The second was led by Prince Charles Edward Stuart (aka Bonnie Prince Charlie), grandson to King James II (of England). The Jacobites saw a series of military successes in 1745, pushing well into England. For a variety of reasons, including bad intelligence that was likely the result of a Government spy, the Jacobites stopped and returned to Scotland. That gave the Government time to put together its forces and, by the spring of 1746, the Government army, under the Duke of Cumberland, had pushed far into Scotland. On April 16, 1746, the Government army routed the Jacobites in less than one hour in the Battle of Culloden, effectively ending the rebellion.
There are many, like our guide, Steve, who still identify with the Jacobites. Hard as it may seem to believe for us Americans, such people view the Hanovers/Windsors as usurpers to the crown, and long for a day when Scotland can regain its independence. As mentioned in a prior post, that date may be as soon as next September when the Scottish people go to the polls to vote on a national referendum that would allow Scotland to withdraw from the United Kingdom.
We checked into our hotel late, returned for dinner at the Bristo Bar and Kitchen (all the banoffe pie had been eaten, but the chef put together a banana/toffee ice cream dessert for Lauren nonetheless) and fell dead asleep. We had a great time in the Highlands but were happy not to be on a tour bus or in the home of some stranger. Keri went for a run this morning and I dropped off our last loads of laundry here. We spent the afternoon at the National Museum of Scotland, a wide-ranging and attractive museum in central Edinburgh. The artifacts and descriptions of Scottish history are quite good. The other sections -- animals, science, other peoples and cultures -- are more impressive for their breadth than their depth.