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Is that a Jacobite rising, or are you just happy to see me?!

rain 16 °C
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"My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go." - Robert Burns.

Foodie moment

In the town of Fort William, we stopped off for a quick lunch break at a bakery on the main street. There was a lunch deal for a soup and a scotch pie. A scotch pie is a small double pastry pie that has sausage roll type meat inside and an extremely high fat content, Yummy!


Cultural moment

The West Highland Museum is a fantastic free museum situated in Fort William. As well as interactive exhibitions about the Green Berets, Animals of Scotland and Highland life, it has a large exhibition about the Jacobites.


The Jacobites were a group who fought to restore the Roman Catholic King James II of England (from the Stuart Clan) and his heirs to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland. Most of the reason for the Jacobite cause were related to religion, as the Jacobites felt that parliamentary interference by disallowing a Catholic ruler to succeed the throne was illegal. Catholics also hoped that the reinstatement of King James to the throne would mean they would no longer be forced to attend Church of Scotland services at risk of punished.

The risings were strong in the highlands of Scotland, and for these groups they were more about inter-clan politics, most specifically hoping that the reinstatement of a Catholic king would help rid them of the Presbyterian Campbell clan, who had ambitions to claim their territories through battle. Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender, was James' son and was the second Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. His defeat at the Battle of Culloden effectively ended the Jacobite cause.

If you were found to support the Jacobite cause you would have been punished, so the followers had many secret codes through songs and camouflaged propaganda. At the museum they had a very clever example of this, there was a plate decorated to look like it has purely a smear of colour, but when looked at through a cylindrical mirror, it is a very realistic secret portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie.


Can you see his portrait in the cylinder?

Wow moment

Lisa had researched a hiking trail to the waterfall An Steall in the Nevis Gorge of Glencoe, so we took a windy and extremely tight road out into the forest to find the starting point. Once we eventually finished driving on the scary road evading oncoming cars, we started our hike and it was raining in true Scottish style, so we had out jackets on.


The walk through the forest was really nice and tranquil, and pretty flat, but soon the trail became a lot steeper and we had to scramble over rocks and small streams.


Eventually the trail opened out into a flat glen, surrounded by majestic mountains all sides. Continuing walking, we eventually got to a wire bridge crossing a river. From the ground it didn't look too challenging, so we decided to keep going. I crossed first and was soon aware that it was a little bit trickier that I first thought, very slippery and wobbly. I made it carefully across and Lisa followed. I didn't tell her until she crossed that it was a lot more dangerous that I had initially suggested.


We continued walking until we came to what we nicknamed "The Bog of Sorrows", a mud and water logged field of grass. We spent a long time navigating our way around the sinky parts, mostly keeping our shoes dry (actually Lisa's got a little wet).


Finally we reached the waterfall, and it was well worth it! We could walk right up to the base of it and rest on the rocks. No other hikers had bothered to walk out as far as us while we were there, so we had the whole place to ourselves. After we had soaked up enough of the beauty, we made the strenuous hike all the way back.


What we learnt today

After the fall of the Jacobite cause, King William of England offered all Highland clans a pardon for their part in the Jacobite Uprising, as long as they took an oath of allegiance before 1 January 1692 in front of a magistrate. He also threatened them with reprisals if they did not sign. The Highland chiefs wanted to ask the exiled King James' permission to do this before taking the oath (for fear of reprisal later on). James dithered over the decision as he still though he could return and take the throne, but finally conceded that they could take the oath for their safety. Unfortunately the time it took for him to decide paired with a brutal winter meant that the chiefs were left with very little time to find a magistrate to take the oath. The leader of the MacDonald clan left on the final day to take the oath, but was sent from town to town to find someone qualified to take his oath, meaning he had passed the deadline. He returned home believing he had done his duty.

Later that month, 120 men of the Campbell regiment were billeted with the MacDonalds. In the hospitable tradition of the Highlands they were welcomed. Little did the MacDonald clan know that they had been sent with orders from Secretary of State over Scotland and Lord Advocate, John Dalrymple, who disliked the Highlanders, and had wanted to break the clan system for many years. He decided that the fact the the leader of the MacDonald clan was late in giving his oath was enough reason to exact revenge. Two weeks after arriving, the Campbell regiment turned on their hosts. Not all members of the regiment participated in the massacre, with some companies warning their hosts before hand and others breaking their swords in refusal to contribute. Under Scots law there was a special category of murder, known as “murder under trust”, which was considered to be even more heinous than ordinary murder. On that day the Campbell regiment massacred 38 men, including the clan leader. Another 40 women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.


Posted by travellinglise 10:50 Archived in Scotland Tagged glencoe glen_nevis macdonald_clan

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