About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Culloden Battlefield and Cawdor Castle

We enjoyed another Scottish breakfast in our hotel this morning - eggs, bacon, sausage, potato scones, black pudding (didn't eat this - click on the link if you don't know what it is!), cereals, fruit, yogurts, toast, teas, and juices.  Its a pretty hearty breakfast.  

After filling up for the morning, we headed into town to catch a bus to Culloden Battlefield.  The Battle of Culloden, on April 16, 1746, marks the end of the power of the Scottish Highland clans and the start of years of repression of Scottish culture by the English.  It was the culmination of a year's worth of battles.  At the center of it all was Bonnie Prince Charlie.  

On this field Jacobite troops under Bonnie Prince Charlie were defeated by supporters of the Hanover dynasty.  This battle marked the end of Jacobite resistance and the beginning of the clans fall from power. From then on, clan chiefs were desposed; kilts, tartans and bagpipes became illegal and farmers were cleared from their ancestral lands.   

Brandon listens to narration from a hand held GPS tour guide.  As we walked the paths of the battlefield, we could listen and learn about the battle.

Many of these grave markers can be found in the field.  Entire clans fought, died and were buried together. 

This cottage was used as a makeshift hospital during the conflict.

Inside the Visitor's Center is a large display of artifacts, history and even a 360 degree movie that puts you at the center of the battle.

Brandon tries out one of the muskets used in the battle.

He also tried out a sword and shield.  The real soldiers would have also had a short bladed knife in their shield hand, but that was too much for Brandon to hold.  

This was an impressive place to visit.  This battle, had it gone the other way, could have changed the outcomes of the Seven Years War with France which could have led to a very different outcome for the American Revolution.

Our next destination was Cawdor Castle, a few miles down the road.  We had to catch another bus to get there.

Brandon shows off some moves while we wait for the bus.  What moves are they?  We are not sure...he's 10 years old, that explains it all.  

Cawdor Castle is the residence of the Dowager (widow) Countess of Cawdor, an aristocratic branch of the Campbell family.  The castle's claim to fame is its connection to Shakespeare's MacBeth, in which the three witches correctly predict that the protagonist will be granted the title "Thane of Cawdor".  There is no real direct connection, since MacBeth took place 300 years before this castle was built.  

We had to walk up a beautiful country lane to get to the castle.

No pictures are allowed inside the castle.  It is the home of the Countess, who moves to another residence in the summer.  We are pretty sure that opening up the castle in the summer helps pay for its upkeep.  

We had lunch in the cafe before touring the castle.  

Inside the castle you can see a tapestry bedroom, tartan hallways, antique artwork and modern art side by side.  

The gardens around the castle are fantastic.  

At one end of the gardens is a network of trails that pass through the forest.  Brandon wanted to hike the short trail loop, so off we went.  The forest is very similar to the Pacific Northwest, thick with ferns, rhododendrons, and even some redwood trees.  

Old wagon display next to the ice cream stand where we had a fun snack.  

Walking back to the bus stop we realized we had over 45 minutes before it would arrive, so we popped into a little tea room in Cawdor and enjoyed a drink and cookies.

This evening my feet were really hurting from my shoes.  My normal pair of shoes got soaked on the day we left for Scotland, so I wore a different pair.  These shoes have proven to not be very comfortable for lots of walking.  I decided to take a break in the hotel room.  Brandon and Katrina took a walk down the river so that Brandon could view the second suspension bridge in Inverness.  

River Ness - photo by Katrina

Church across the street from our hotel - photo by Katrina

All of these pictures of the bridge and river are from Brandon and Katrina's walk - photos by Katrina.

We hung out in the room for awhile, then headed around the corner for dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  It was good, but we have found that great Mexican food just does not exist in Europe.  

Tomorrow morning we will catch the train to Edinburgh.  

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