Culloden Battlefield near Inverness, Scotland

Welcome to Culloden Battlefield, the site of the last major battle fought on British soil. Here, on April 16, 1746, two armies clashed in a final confrontation over the thrones of Britain. In just one hour the army of the British government under Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland crushed forever the Jacobite army under Prince Charles Edward Stuart. This is a very emotional battle for the Scottish people, as the Clans lost their right to wear their plaid colors, play the bagpipes or publicly meet as a family group. Scotland_Inverness-1100621r

The wild and atmospheric moor where the battle took place is where more than 1500 men are buried as a result of the Battle of Culloden.  Click on the link for more details of this historic event in Scottish history. The Memorial Cairn is in the background of this photo.

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Inscription on the Memorial Cairn.

inv-1100669rFlag marking the start of the English line of defense.

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Flag marking the start of the Jacobite line. (According to the audio tour guide)

inv-1100635r inv-1100644r inv-1100638rcrMemorial flowers and stones on family memorial sites. Andrew P. Fazes, President of the Luton Paranormal Society was filming the moor for paranormal activity while we were there. I checked the website and see nothing there from our visit that day. Hope we didn’t scare the ghosts away!

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Placed on either sides of the road driven through the battlefield in 1835, these headstones bear the names of the clans. Erected by Duncan Forbes in 1881, they mark where the battle dead, who amounted to over 1000, were buried by local people. They were identified by their clan badge, a plant sprig worn in their bonnet.

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Old Leanach cottage:  The original farmhouse of Leanach survived the battle and has been restored several times. The roof is heather thatched, a traditional Highland craft.

Following the Battle of Culloden, the way was opened for the Highland Clearances that started some decades later, when vast numbers of Highlanders were cleared off their land by the landowners to make room for more profitable sheep. Surplus tenants were ‘cleared’ off the estates from about 1780. The first mass emigration was in 1792; known as the ‘Year of the Sheep’, when most of the cleared clansmen went to Canada and the Carolinas. Scots left their native soil to live out their lives in America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. ~ Education Scotland.gov.uk

Prince Charlie eventually made good his escape to France, but the price of his adventure for the Highlands was high.

Final destination for my Scottish ancestors? Minnesota… worked out well for me.

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West Highland Way: Milngavie to Drymen

8-29-2015:  Our long awaited start to the West Highland Way has finally arrived.
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We stroll down to a cute little dining area with flags at the tables to identify our country. Kind of glad this part of the world isn’t upset with the U.S.A. right now as our flag towers over the table. 

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Living large at Best Foot Forward Bed & Breakfast this morning as we fuel up for our first day of hiking with granola cereal, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, toast, juice and most importantly… coffee.

The air is peppered with light conversation as we visit with neighboring tables with flags from Scotland, Germany and Holland. All are here for the same purpose ~ to hike the West Highland Way.

WWW_Day1_E-1090153eWe thank and bid farewell to our hosts and they seem to especially giggle when Randy tells them his name:  I’m Randy! 

WWW_Day1_E-1090167eReady or not… here we go!!

Destination:  Twelve miles down the trail to Drymen, Scotland.

A Map of the West Highland Way

 

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12 miles later… Ahhhh, home sweet home as we receive a Scottish welcome at Glenalva Bed & Breakfast. We discover that we may be able to eat our evening meal at the oldest pub in Scotland, but we’d better get our names in as soon as we can.

Can’t miss an opportunity like that, so we drop our backpacks and walk into town. Our list of B & B rules says we must be in by 10 p.m.

Not a problem.

Click on the link below and you’ll view a short slide show/video of the scenery on this day. Locals say the views the first couple of days of the West Highland Way are boring, but I’m quite enjoying the sights.

 

 

 

 

We “sheepishly” begin Camino Day #2…

stage 1 camino ele_st.jeanWe leave Orisson , but not before observing a beautiful sunrise with clouds caressing the valley.

View from orrisontimeline1

2014Cam-7crpopWe have opted for the Napoleon route which is more challenging but especially scenic, if the fog doesn’t hinder our view.

2014Cam-2pldmvcr2Horses are free to graze along the road and hillside.

2014Cam-4pldmvcr…and sheep allow us to tread through their turf, as well.

2014Cam-6pldmvcrThe video below is a short insight into our time spent sharing the path with sheep.   ding, ding, ding…  Heard bells much of the morning.

2014Cam-17pldmvcrInteresting to note that the flock has a definite leader. I can understand the references to sheep more than 500 times in the Bible to help us understand concepts and human behavior.  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27

2014Cam-21dmvWhen you share the path with sheep and horses, you have to expect to watch your step!  This is probably why boots are not allowed near the beds in the albergues!

We are enjoying the mild, but cool, temps as we trudge along.  However, we must continue to be aware that the Pyrenees are known for unpredictable weather.  We were previously told of helicopters having to rescue injured pilgrims on this stretch…  Yikes!