16 August 2012

Culloden to Banchory

Culloden Battlefield Monday was a travel day for our tour group as we left Inverness and headed to Banchory.  Our first stop of the day was at Culloden Battlefield.  It is the spot where the dreams of Bonnie Prince Charlie returning to the throne of Scotland were crushed.  Since then, Scotland has been assimilated into Great Britain.  Driving towards it, there seems to be nothing special about the place.  Then you see a long line of blue flags, and then a line of red flags.  These indicate where the front lines of the Jacobites and the English were on that fateful day.

The visitor center had excellent exhibits describing both sides of the story until they merged and became one.  There was so much to see and learn ~ from the root causes of the conflict, to the decisions made on both sides, to how the actual weapons used worked,  displays of weapons, archaeological artifacts from the battlefield, re-enactments of battle, and at last, the aftermath and how it affected the Scottish people.

Culloden Memorial Cairn I walked the battlefield in company with other members of the tour.  It was windy, damp and cold. We talked about how it must have been similar to what we'd heard the Jacobite soldiers had to deal with ~ how they'd walked through the night in the rain and cold, how some had walked for days. Today, there is a large memorial cairn to the memory of all those lost in the battle and markers placed where the different clans fell in battle.   Over 1500 Jacobite soldiers fell but only 50 English soldiers.

Cottage at Culloden
To the side of the battlefield is this stone cottage, a reconstruction of one that was there during the battle.

Stone, turf and thatch
I was intrigued by the combination of materials used to build it.  Rock, sod and thatch.

Heather at Culloden Battlefield
To be on the front line of a battle like this was a death sentence.  I found myself wondering at how mankind gets themselves in these positions where they feel life is worth sacrificing to these causes ~ knowing that they are likely going to their death.

I thought about how it must have been for the Jacobite soldiers walking across this expansive field, about how they were trying to advance quickly, maybe hoping to survive and what it would be like to slog through bog, stepping over the rough ground, the gnarly heather that in places was thigh high ~ trying to do so quickly to gain advantage ~ then later needing to retreat even more quickly over the same ground.

I thought about these Jacobite men ~ tired, lacking sleep ~ cold and with little to no food in their bellies ~ their wool soaked and heavy.  Then about their families at home ~ waiting, wondering ~  did they know they would never see their men again?  Did any of them have any idea of the terrible retribution that would follow?  The relentless killing, of the starvation and persecution that followed in the days, weeks and years after.

To walk this field and see the exhibits was much more moving than I had imagined.  It was fitting to see it during a damp grey day.  I think we all felt the weight of it, as the coach was much quieter than usual as we left for our next destination.

The Glenlivet Distillery
Things definitely started to look a little brighter by the time we got to The Glenlivet Distillery!  No photos allowed inside the buildings, but you can catch a small glimpse of the tall copper stills through the windows.  The air was saturated with the smell of malted grain and whisky!

Warehouses at The Glenlivet Distillery
In the warehouses, the barrels were stacked to the rafters and left to "sleep".  The angel's share filled the buildings with scent.  The tour ended with a lovely tasting of the Glenlivet whisky of our choice.  I had the 18 year old Scotch with it's lovely overtones of sherry!

Corgaff Castle
We drove on towards Deeside, passing Corgaff Castle sitting in a lonely spot on the hills.

Narrow bridge for a big coach!
Our coach driver, Barry, was terrific at getting the coach through places you'd never imagine a bus could go, like over this narrow steep bridge, without any hint of problems!

Statue at Banchory Lodge
At last we ended up along the River Dee, at Banchory Lodge.  I loved this cherub statue in the rosebed.  It had a poem inscribed around the base:
O'The Red Rose Is A Falcon
And The White Rose Is A Dove
The Red Rose Whispers of Passion
The White Rose Breathes of Love
 ~ John Boyle O'Reilly
Banchory Lodge
The Banchory Lodge was so peaceful and quiet with wonderful views of the river.  A nice place to land after a day of travel.





6 comments:

Laurie said...

What a solemn yet beautiful experience. I love the cherub.

Margaret said...

Once again lovely photos - that poem is beautiful. Inspiring for a piece of needlwork perhaps. thanks for the great travelogue.

Marty52 said...

What a great tour of the UK you are taking! Thanks for the pictures of Culloden... my husband's ancestor lived near there way back when. He was a Scottish covenanter and was killed in the mid-1700s. It must have been such a hard life back then.

Marty52 said...

Ah... make that the mid-17th century, not 1700s... got my dates screwed up. ;0)

Carole said...

Dear Lisa
I decided that it was finally time that I write and acknowledge my presence. As that is what I feel, as I have been reading your blog for a bit. I have gone back and read from your first postings. I have really appreciated your strength and courage thought your daily struggles and loses. I thrill as I see your handy work. Aahhh, but now as yor travel I so look forward to your wonderful pictures and the great detailed narrative, thank you. Confession, I keep checking back, oh dear she couldn't post today, oh I wonder what she saw. You are taking a few extra people along with you in your travels, well done. Are you going to spend some time in London? I so look forward to that, too. I will be going to England this fall, so loving every post. Carole

hpk said...

The O'Reilly poem continues:
But I send you a cream white rosebud
With a blush on its petal tips
For the love that is truest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on its lips.

I always figured that poem was where you got the name for your blog!

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