It took me quite a while to come back to this adventure, but it’s one that is still a part of many conversations I had over the last weeks. If I share anything about Scotland with my friends and family, it’s definitely from our adventure to the Isle of Skye and the Culloden battlefield.
We knew this day will bring more sun, so the decision to go to the Sky was an easy one, but fast learners as we both are, we figured that we will want to use the whole day and would rather drive at night than hurry back to see more things in the daylight. That meant that if we wanted to see anything else around Inverness, we didn’t have much choice, but to see it before going to Sky.
I’ve been interested in history for some time, especially both great wars, but Outlander was guilty that I became interested in Scottish history as well. Naturally, that meant that I wanted to visit Culloden Moor – the battlefield of the so-called the last battle. The short battle was the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising in 1745. Charles Edward Stuart and Scots loyal to him were defeated by the English troops lead by Duke of Cumberland.
The horrific battle killed between 1500 and 2000 Scots comparing to 300 English soldiers. Though the battle didn’t end here.
Duke of Cumberland was determined to finish this Jacobite uprising once and for all and he wanted revenge and Bonnie Prince Charlie lost his nerve. He told his remaining 1500 supporters to disperse. He felt defeated and the Government won. But the English wanted more. In the weeks and months after the battle, the Crown together with its Scottish loyalists started with a systemic deconstruction of Scotland’s traditions. Clan chiefs were deprived of their power, kilt and tartan were forbidden, and the Crown seized their estates. In the time after the battle many Jacobites were killed, imprisoned, or sent to the colonies.
Today Culloden Moore is taken care by the National Trust for Scotland. You can walk the fields, see the extensive exhibition, and watch the immersive movie which will take you back into the past.
That was our plan also.
We left our little cottage and drove in the most beautiful sunny day only to arrive to the ugliest fog lingering over Culloden Moore. It felt appropriate and emotional.
The clouds followed us all the way to Skye and for some reason our navigation thought that taking scenic route from Inverness to Isle of Skye will be the thing to do. Tiny windy roads took a long time, but to be fair, if I wouldn’t be driving, I’d be excited to take this road. What is not to love?
We didn’t really know anything about Sky. Just that we should go and see it. Our adventures nature took us to the island and a tap on a map with our eyes (almost) closed we chose the furthest point we could probably find at that point.
We traveled all the way to the Neist Point.
I would advise to visit this magnificent location only if you are really comfortable driving narrow streets and park almost on a cliff. Busy season will make it hard for you to park, so avoid the tourist season if possible.
I’ve been in a desperate need of coffee, so Alina went alone to the lighthouse and I’ve gone to talk to a chatty nice lady who made me the most delicious instant coffee. Heather, sea, coffee, and awesome company were all I needed.
This day felt strangely emotional for me. First Culloden, then the Isle of Skye which did not only charm us with its beauty, but also challenged my driving skills, made me think about my own Country.
Being born in Slovenia that like Scotland was always a part of a “bigger, greater …. whatever” country or monarchy, I feel for Scots. I understand their desire to be independent, to be free. And walking the Highlands, I understand that even more. The feeling of pure freedom, the moodiness of the weather, and the strength of the wind … it changes you. My hope for Scotland one day is to find it’s freedom and to be stronger than ever.
Until next time, be free and strong.