Monday, February 28, 2011

Inverness and Culloden

We left the manse around 8:15am for the hour and a half drive to Inverness, the closest “civilized” city. Helmsdale and Brora are all very well, but there's not much in them. The drive is mostly along the coastline and very curvy. Travel by boat used to be most common along the coast for that reason, and even now it would be faster to travel by boat, but these days everyone has a car so that isn't an option. When we climbed Helmsdale Rock the other day we could see the more southern coast of Scotland across the water.

Anyway, we got there. We first went to Culloden battlefield and museum on the outskirts of Inverness. The museum is well done and informative. The number of deaths in such a short timespan(an estimated 7,000 in 3 minutes) is staggering. It's very sobering- as are all battlefields. I'll admit I'm (slightly) biased on the part of the Scots, and I have to wonder, why were the Jacobites so badly defeated? As with all happenings there must be a providential reason. We came up with a few possibilities:

  • (My Catholic followers should skip this one) Bonnie Prince Charlie was Catholic. Would Scotland have become a Catholic nation under his rule and hindered the Presbyterian movement? And were the Jacobites truly a good representation for the Scottish people? (There were Scots fighting on both sides of the conflict.)

  • Would the Prince have been a competent leader? Obviously he must have had some sort of charisma, but he ended badly and showed poor strategic military judgment. English blockades stopped French supplies from reaching the Jacobite army. A night march and failed surprise attack in the rain exhausted the Jacobite forces right before the action at Culloden. It would be easy to view these happenings as tragic mishaps, but they're not. This is Providence in action. After the battle, Charles fled and after being disguised as a woman reached France, where he died an alcoholic. I think it's safe to say the the Bonnie Prince was not God's chosen model for Scottish leadership.

  • The sufferings imposed on the Scots following the battle caused many to immigrate to America. I am firmly convinced the Scots population of Colonial America contributed heavily to the victory of American Independence, not to mention the spread of Reformed Christianity throughout the new country.

After walking through the museum we stepped out onto the battlefield, where the positions of the government and Jacobite armies were marked with blue and red flags. It was WINDY. We took a picture and went back inside.


The Marchioness at Culloden Battlefield.

I thought the museum was well done. It did a good job of not being horribly prejudiced on either side. There were two re-enactors there, and I have to say I thought their clothes were not at all up to parr. No stays!


Old High Church

After lunch we drove into Inveress and made use of the public transportation system: our legs. We completely wore them out. We walked to the Old High Church and attached churchyard, where the remaining wounded Jacobites from Culloden had been shot.

We walked to the Art and history museum(FREE! Donations requested). It was a very family-friendly museum.

We then walked to a second-hand bookstore full to the top of old books(very tempting, but I didn't buy any). In desperation to find somewhere, anywhere with internet we walked another ten miles(well, maybe not quite that much) to a coffee shop which then closed at 6pm at which time we walked(crawled, staggered, hobbled) back to our car. Scotland has no nightlife.



 We had dinner that night at an Indian restaurant in Brora, a nice place. The W's aren't the type of people who patronize McDonald's, like a certain family who will remain unnamed. I'd ever had Indian food before: Nebraska isn't exactly known for it's Indian population except in the case of medical workers. It was good food. I ordered prawn in a cream sauce, and it turned out to be very sweet. The W's also ordered several appetizers so I got to try several different dishes. Apparently we weren't meant to take our leftovers home with us, so the staff got a bit huffy when we asked.

1 comment:

Nathania said...

They didn't wear "stays"?? Goodness! :-) Not very authentic huh? Sounded like you had a very interesting day with lots of walking! I'm glad you are getting to see so much.