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British Isles 2010

All the things I've seen, places I've been whilst studying throughout the UK and Ireland in summer '10.

Day 32: Culloden and an Overload of Information

Scotland Scotland  |  Jun 14, 2010
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  • After we heard about the Battle of Culloden on the field and got a chance to see the gravemarkers, we headed back inside where we could read more about the Battle. There was also a room that had projectors on each wall with a reproduction of the Battle of Culloden. In another area, there was a dress-up box with period dress clothes in them. I was really amazed at all the information they had available and the lengths they went to so that visitors could really experience what the Battle of Culloden really could have been like.

 The Battle of Culloden was short, but bloody, and many clans died that day. 

Today was our first real day touring with our guide Michael and bus driver Keith but from now on, I’m pretty sure we’ll be getting to know them pretty well because we’re going to be in a different hotel nearly every night. 

On our drive to Inverness, I learned quite a few interesting facts from Michael:

·      University is free in Scotland. And one of the schools, Fettes College, Tony Blair and the fictional character James Bond attended.

·      Farth of Forth: In 1890, the Forth Bridge was built and way over-engineered. The reason was because the first bridge, built by Bouch, fell through when a train crossed (hence the term bouch—pronounced ‘botch’—comes from. Basically meaning doing a shoddy job of something) So, to rebuild the confidence of the people, it was made to be the strongest suspension bridge in the world. When first showing the small-scale model, the designer actually sat on it to show its strength. Michael then joked ‘So technically a giant could come and sit a top the bridge and it still wouldn’t collapse!’

·      Carnegie (of the famous Carnegie Hall in NYC) is actually from Scotland.

·      Michael claims that the oldest alliance in the history of the world is between Scotland and France ‘to keep the English in check.’

·      The Scottish flag was the first national flag.

·      When clans got together, they used to share whisky in a two-handed bowl so it took lots of trust, but gave the Scots a hospitable reputation.

·      Scottish dancing was primarily used to ‘eye people up.’ The constant switching of partners was ideal for those looking to get married. If a guy and girl hit it off, the girl would move into his clan’s house for a year and a day. If all went well, they would get married. The ceremony made it so that a ribbon was tied round their wrists (hence the phrase ‘tying the knot.’)

Early in the day, we stopped by the Blair Atholl Distillery for a few minutes before heading to Culloden.

I personally don’t really know any Scottish history, so going to Culloden was very interesting to me. We get there and had a short tour and explanation set up for us. We were first ushered into a room and the man who worked there started explaining the weapons—both those used by the Highlanders and the British—to us. Then, he took us outside to where the battle actually happened. He explained to us as we walked pretty much anything anyone could ever want to know about Culloden. The battle was between the Highlanders and the other British because the Highlanders were Jacobites and supported Charlie for King of GB. The Battle of Culloden was short, but bloody, and many clans died that day. With the Red Coats’ victory came more slaughter of Highland men, women, and children. They even banned them speaking their own language and the wearing of tartan. Though Bonnie Prince Charlie did not die that day, he did manage to escape—most people think to France.


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