Reenactment Redcoat Soldier at Fort George, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on a stunning piece of 18th century British military engineering as manifested in the 250-year-old Fort George at Ardersier, eleven miles east of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

The catalyst for the construction of the Fort was the Jacobite Rising which was finally crushed at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.This was a failed attempt by the House of Stuart to overturn the Hanoverian dynasty. However, the Battle of Culloden proved conclusive and after that event the Highlands remained peaceful notwithstanding which the Fort has continued as army barracks to this day.

The Fort was designed by military engineer, Major-General William Skinner as an impregnable base for George 11’s army in the North of Britain. The complement was some 2000 men comprising two field battalions of infantry, an artillery unit and officer corps. The building included staff blocks, barrack blocks, powder magazines, ordnance and provision stores, a bake house, brew house and chapel.

Construction took twenty years and cost of nearly GBP200,00 exceeded the GNP of Scotland at the time.

The site covers forty two acres and has a rampart extending to over half a mile.

Location on a promontory (jutting into the Moray Firth) affords advantage through strength and isolation. The high ground nearby (one mile to the east) was out of range for guns and howitzers of the day.

The project succeeded to the extent that no further military uprising occurred post Culloden and, of course, the Fort is still in use today, a great testament to the architect and builders of the 18th century.

In 1860 the fort was remodelled and re-fortified as a powerful coastal defence battery in context of a strategy to counter the threat of a French invasion.

A compelling visitor attraction, especially for persons interested in the military. The western tip offers good views over the Moray Firth  where, occasionally, dolphins can be seen feeding. 

Fort George is an active military base resulting in a somewhat incongruous mix of serving military personnel and tourists.

Principal Bridge and Gate, Fort George

Garrison Chapel, Fort George, Scotland

Residence of Lieutenant-Governor and Fort Major

Gun emplacements along seaward curtain wall

Curtain wall bastion overlooking Moray Firth

Parade ground at Fort George

Armorials over Principal Gate at Fort George

Ravelin ditch at Fort George, Scotland

Video clip of Parade Ground

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