26 April 2010, Monday
Sandra is a big fan of the Battle of Culloden. Getting there proved a headache because it is not signposted very well. We got lost even using the sat nav. Pulled up in front of a butchers shop, got some directions and found it. Have you heard of “rip off Britain?” Well, this place is rip off Scotland. They wanted two pounds to park in their car park. There is no other place you can park your car if you want to see the battlefield. Then they wanted 10 pounds each to get into the visitors centre. Sandra refused to pay and we left. I took one photo. Iam sorry I did not have any others but I was so pissed off all I wanted to do is get out of there.
Have a look at the website – very interesting – http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/inverness/culloden/index.html
On reading the link I discovered some interesting information on what might have been if Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) had insisted on travelling to London. Read on.
Undaunted, the Old Pretender’s son, Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender or Bonnie Prince Charlie, took it upon himself to restore the crown to his father. The following year, 1745, he landed in Eriskay, then at Loch nan Uamh before raising his standard at Glenfinnan.He gathered an army largely made up of Highlanders, but including some Irish and French troops, to take on the Government. They quickly reached Perth and then Edinburgh, before heading south towards London.
The Jacobites reached Derby on 4 December 1745. It was becoming clear that support from English Jacobites was not emerging as Charles as hoped. And it was becoming equally clear that the French were not going to invade in a timescale that would be of any help to Charles’ Jacobite army. Meanwhile Government armies were gathering and the military situation looked increasingly bleak.
Charles Edward Stuart met with his key advisers in what is today the upstairs room of a Derby pub through most of 4 December. Charles was all for pressing on to London: the majority wanted to retreat to Scotland. Charles finally angrily accepted the need to retreat as night fell. The Jacobites began their retreat from Derby on 6 December 1745. What none of them knew was that the Welsh Jacobites has risen in support of them, and others in Oxfordshire were on the point of doing so. Neither did they know that London was in panic and that George II’s court was packing his belongings onto ships on the Thames ready to flee to the Continent.
It has been said that had the Jacobites pressed on, George II would have fled; that the English and French would have avoided a further 70 years of conflict; that the English would not have had to raise taxes in the colonies to pay for the French wars; and that the Americans would have had no cause to fight a war for their independence. And, arguably, the French revolution would not have happened. The world might have been a very different place but for a closely argued decision taken in the upstairs room of a pub in Derby one dark winter’s evening in December 1745.
My birthday is on 6 December. Scary? Just think that battle would not have been fought and things would have been vastly different. But history is full of instances like that.
Culloden was just a place I visited and did not stay very long in 2010. It was not until I started reading some books by Diana Gabaldon – the “Outlander” series which is not a television series and very good entertainment it is. All of a sudden Culloden became alive to me.