Pagoda Roof at Dalwhinnie Distillery

This morning we departed our lodgings in Pitlochry, central Scotland and embarked on a trip to Inverness in the North taking in the following:

First to Dalwhinnie Distillery where we joined the eleven o’clock tour followed by samples. This experience lasted over one hour and was led by a very skilled guide.

Information on Dalwhinnie Distillery

Lizzie’s Dram for sale at Dalwhinnie

The average annual temperature in Dalwhinnie, Scotland is cool at 6.2 degrees Celsius (43.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

The name Dalwhinnie translates as ‘Champion’s Field’.

Dalwhinnie Distillery is relatively young by the standards of Scotland’s whisky distilleries, having been established 1898 with location influenced by the nearby rail line and clear spring water 2000 ft up in the Drumochter Hills.

Almost immediately on opening, Dalwhinnie was a casualty of the crash which ended the speculative whisky boom. The distillery subsequently changed hands a number of times before being acquired by Distillers Co in 1926 and ultimately Diageo now.

Aided by the current strength of the whisky market,Dalwhinnie is now producing about 2.2m litres per year which is stored in about 5000 casks.

In market terms, Dalwhinnie is well positioned and ranks within the top 15 single malts sold worldwide.

Tour Group at Dalwhinnie.

Next,. further North to Culloden Battlefield where we arrived about 1.20 pm. After lunch some of the guests toured the battlefield.

Information on the Battle of Culloden

Jacobite Lines at Culloden

The two protagonists, Bonnie Prince Charlie (leader of the Jacobite forces) and the Duke of Cumberland (head of the Hanoverian, Government forces) were actually cousins. Their respective forces assembled at mid-morning on April 16th 1746.The two armies faced each other some 400 meters apart but the two lines were not parallel. Charles had some 6000 men while Cumberland commanded some 8000. However, Charles took comfort from the famous Highland Charge to redress the imbalance.

The ground in front of the Jacobites (on the left) was boggy. They were joined by handfuls of French and Irish troops-which were held in reserve.The Jacobites front line comprised Clansmen clustered around their respective chiefs, e.g. MacDonalds.

Unfortunately, the Jacobites were not battle ready being tired, hungry and in poor spirits. Food had not arrived from Inverness and some men had left the field to scavenge for food. However, they still retained the memory of the successful charge at Prestonpans.

The Government redcoats comprised 7 infantry regiments from England and Scotland. There were 500 men in each regiment standing 3 ranks deep. Each regiment was named after its respective Colonel, e.g. Barrel.

The Redcoats stood in well-ordered ranks, each man issued with 24 rounds of ammunition and a warming tot of brandy.

Battle Commences

At 1.00pm Charles orders his cannons to launch the battle. In response Government guns commence repetitive firing. the Jacobites stand whilst cannonballs tear into the ranks. No order is given to advance. Finally, Jacobites on the centre and right broke ranks and charged. At this stage Government gunners switch from cannon to more lethal grapeshot which produces small pieces of metal hitting directly the advancing Highlanders.The effect is devastating. The Charge degenerates into a shambles. A bunching occurred because Highlanders on the right flank had less distance to travel over dry ground whereas those in the centre drifted to the right to benefit from the firm ground and were hemmed in by a stone wall which separated the two opposing lines.Both groups charged towards the south end of the Government line which resulted in chaos. On the left flank the Highlanders moved more slowly; they had further to travel and became stuck in the boggy ground. The MacDonalds struggled to make any headway.

Barrel’s regiment took the full force of the Highland assault but stood fast. the Highlanders were packed into an unstoppable mob taking punishment from grapeshot and musket fire. The Highlanders crashed into Barrel’s regiment and now had the advantage; they could use their broadswords and dirks to awesome effect. Barrel’s soldiers were hacked down and the line smashed open. Then the Highlanders attacked Munro’s regiment alongside that of Barrel.

Turning Point

The momentum of the charge had been dissipated. However, despite the Highlanders initial success the Redcoats did not turn and run. Cumberland moved up forces from the second line to reinforce the struggling front line. This was the pivotal point of the battle.The Jacobite command had no control over its troops. Highlanders pitched into the gap in the redcoat ranks and straight into the musket fire from the soldiers of the second line. The Highlanders became surrounded by Redcoats who were in a horseshoe shape and the resulting slaughter is estimated to have killed/wounded about 700 in just 2 or 3 minutes.

The Highlanders retreated the way the had come-straight into a hail of musket fire from Government forces which had moved up behind the wall on the left.

Battle Lost

At this stage Charles is persuaded to leave the field and Cumberland commences his retribution for which he was awarded the nickname “butcher”. No mercy was shown. Any injured clansmen on the field were shot, clubbed or bayoneted to death. About 200 Clansmen were buried where they fell. So ended the last battle on British soil.

Burial pits of Jacobite casualties.

Battlefield landscape.

Next to the Clava Cairns Prehistoric Site, about ten minutes from Culloden.

Information on Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns Site

Clava is a prehistoric cemetery which dates from around 2000 BC albeit on a site previously used by prehistoric peoples for domestic purposes. The cemetery site experienced two stages of use:

  1. Around 2000 BC a row of up to five burial cairns were erected of which three remain.
  2. Around 1000 BC the site was re-used and the small Kerb Cairn built.

North-Eastern Cairn

A passage grave intended for  a single body, presumably of a high status person. The passage is aligned to the mid-winter solstice. Originally completely closed.The Cairn is surrounded by a graded stone circle, which is actually an ellipse.

North-Eastern Cairn, Clava

Cup marked stone embedded in foundations of N.E. tomb

Central Cairn

This is a Ring Cairn, not a passage grave, which was positioned so as not to obstruct the view between the N.E. and S.W. cairns. It was never roofed whilst the now empty interior was originally filled with rubble.

Ring Cairn, Clava, Scotland

South-Western Cairn

Also aligned to mid-winter sun. When first constructed was substantially higher and completely roofed.

S.W. Cairn

Kerb-Circle

Situated 50 feet to east of Ring-Cairn. Maximum 12 feet in internal diameter.

Kerb-Circle.

Finally, we drove into nearby Inverness, (capital of the Scottish Highlands) arriving about 4.30 pm following which guests visited the town centre and then checked into our lodgings for the night.

Inverness Castle. (Court and city admin centre.)

Inverness and River Ness.

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