image The Battle for Culloden in Scotland

Charles Edward Stuart is a name not often recognized here in America; but if you possess Scottish blood, however, or an affinity for Scottish history, then you most likely know of the Bonnie Prince Charlie and his infamous Battle for Culloden.

Prince Charles Stuart and his Claim for the Throne:

Prince Charles Edward Stuart was born in Rome and lived in a staunchly Catholic household with his father, who would often talk about their heritage (like most Scottish) and who held a claim on the rights to the Scottish and English throne. I like to think that there must have also been talk of Scottish rebellion, and the Jacobite succession in that house because of who Charles became.

With Prince Charles growing up in such an environment, those lectures must have transformed him greatly to become the dreamer he became later in life. He had a dream of being able to take back the throne of not only Scotland but England as well because he felt it was God’s will.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart, Battle for Culloden
Bonnie Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Courtesy of the Scottish National Trust)

Scotland has a very long history of antagonism between Catholic and Protestants, there are thousands of graves throughout Scotland and England as a result of that hatred. As a side note, we as the human race seem to not have learned from our mistakes of the past. We still fight these terrible wars, resulting in THOUSANDS of deaths and refugees…..then eventually mass graves like the one that Prince Charles led many of the Scottish Clans to.

It started in December 1943, when his father named him Prince Reagent. The title of Prince Reagent meant that he could act directly in his father’s name. If we let our imaginations look at his side of the story, where this 21-year-old-boy had just been given a huge amount of power by a father I assume he desperately wanted to impress.

Culloden Field - Battle for Culloden
Aviemore Scotland

His first act was to raise funds to buy two ships, the Elisabeth and the Doutelle. They were able to sail past the English ships on their way to Scotland, Charles learned that the French fleet that was supposed to be supporting him was badly damaged by storms.

News of his arrival in Scotland spread like wildfire to those who still supported his clemency. Please keep in mind that anyone who was found openly supporting his claim, if discovered by the British was killed (sometimes brutally) for treason.

The Social shift towards War:

The Scottish were tired of the suppression of their livelihood, their customs, and the taxes they had to pay to a king they didn’t believe in. Prince Charlie’s Jacobite cause was still supported by many in the Highland clans, both Catholic and Protestant. Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standards, gathered what little money he could from the Highland Clans, and marched on Edinburgh, which was quickly surrendered to him. I imagine this really encouraged him and made him feel as if God truly was on his side, so he surged on.

Edinburgh Castle in Scotland
Edinburgh Castle

On September 21st, 1745, he engaged in the Battle of Prestonpans. By November, he had a band of 6,000 men. They then won the Battle of Falkirk, and after this, the Duke of Cumberland caught up with them at Culloden. Prince Charles knew that he had to defend his military stronghold in Inverness, they were dwindling on supplies and weapons stored there. He chose to engage the English at the Battle of Culloden.

Traveler tip: It takes about a 20 min to reach Culloden from Inverness, so I would recommend leaving in the morning so you get the little bit of the daybreak mist. It’s also the best time to take pictures because there aren’t as many people around.

Courtesy of

The Battle for Culloden:

Prince Charles’ army of Scottish Clansmen were exhausted and starving yet they were still asked to go into battle – because God was on their side right?

It was the last battle they would fight on British soil — the battle itself only took 1 hour and nearly 1,500 people died that day; over 1,000 of them being Jacobite Scotsman.

The Scottish men wore the kilts of their clans and were armed with axes, skindoo’s, swords, and French and Spanish Muskets that were only slightly smaller than those of the British forces. However, the British brought Mortars. It was a quick battle with heavy losses and still stands as a somber reminder of the past.

Traveler tip: If you plan to visit any of the major Scottish Monuments, I would suggest stopping here first. The National Scottish Trust. They manage most of the sites with significant historical value in Scotland.

The Visitors Center at Culloden:

When you arrive in Culloden, you will find a visitors center with items that have been recovered from Culloden. You wander through the history that leads to the battle, and end with a movie, before being led to the field where the fighting occurred. My family history dates back to the 1500’s with the MacKenzie’s and into the 18th-19th Century with the MacFarlane’s, who after this battle, fled to Ireland and then the United States.

Culloden House or Lenach House
Culloden House or Leanach House – Courtesy of

Walking through the visitors center, and learning of how difficult their lives were was extremely sobering for me. What if a cousin had died here; buried in the Clan graves around the field where they fell? The different members of the clans were actually identified by their tartan or a small clan sprig in their bonnet. To see the Mounds of earth on the otherwise flat field, that turned out to be where our Clans had eternally been laid to rest.

It made my heart break for the suppression and tumultuous past that Scotland had been under. Yet I am so proud to be Scottish, I have a family crest from both Scotland and Holland. I know their history, I visited their graves, I visited their clan homes and felt that Scotland was really somewhere I could call home. I know what it is to be proud of my heritage and what my heritage actually is. I know why I tend to love the rain and being outdoors now, the excitement I feel when I think about rainstorms and nature.

Traveler tip: entrance costs about $14 & I would plan on spending at least 2 hours there so you can really soak it in. I personally stayed in Inverness right by the river, and then went to see Culloden, several Clan castles nearby & then of course Loch Ness which is a short drive. From there, I traveled to Portree by car to visit the Isle of Skye.

I think it was sad for both sides of the war. That’s the terrible thing about war, is that their are families on both sides that lost something. But I fear Scotland lost the most in this particular war:

After this tragic event,  those who survived either fled or were taken as prisoners. The Scottish leaders that were captured, were often kept alive… in slavery and at times torture to ensure their clans were kept in line. The brutal suppression of anything that identified the Scottish as a distinct people was banned.

Tartans through the years

The kilts were changed over time, but the Scottish spirit and enduring pride will forever live on. It is in our hearts, it is in our minds and will forever be a place I call my home and my heritage.

To read more about Scotland read:

5 Classic dishes to try in Scotland

Outlander Self-Guided Tour

Written by Janiel Green, Edited by Laura Zoumberis


  1. I love how this is very informative mixed with practical tips for traveling. I have been to Scotland before and absolutely loved it (Fringe Festival), but I should have taken more time to go to museums and learn about historical facts. I love seeing the kilts and what other accessories they wore. Such a great post!

    • I would LOVE to go again when they have their HUGE music festival. Scotland is definitely a place you have to visit more than once to get the full effect.

    • it is really such an amazing experience, they even have the little villages recreated like they use to have them clear up until the 1950’s & they are surprisingly warm!
      Even the cows had their own little huts because of how crazy it gets up there. Let me know when/if you end up going, I might come along and be a guide 😉

    • Ah! This makes me so happy to know it isn’t forgotten and people are actually going! I hope to peak interest in it so we can preserve our history. The TV series Outlander has also helped do this, thank goodness

    • I fell in love with Scotland long before Outlander – but I can imagine which effect this beautiful series has 😉 the very first post on my blog is about my last travel to Scotland- which is too long ago 🙁

    • I might actually go back this next summer. I rented a car and drove all over Scotland, up to the isle of Skye and to the oldest Abbey still operating & lost all my photos from my camera. I’m still in denial and hope I find them at some point. But if not I guess it’s a good excuse to go back. Just glad I uploaded the ones from Edinburgh and my phone into FB otherwise I would have had NO photos whatsoever

    • Ooohhhh! Can’t wait to delve into this post as soon as I get home. I have an appointment I have to go to, but will def look into this. Thanks for the follow! So excited to have someone here who loves Scotland as much as I do!

    • Agh! Tell him if he wears a kilt he gets to free ball it all the time! Lol, bet he would love it then, lol

    • We have Germany’s biggest Highland gathering near our hometown once a year – at least he tried a kilt there and wants to buy one at next year’s gathering 😬

    • OMG! Where in Germany are you located, I am coming to Berlin at the end of Sept (for about 12 hours, lol) if you are there would love to grab some grub or something

    • Well dang it! I’m headed to Zermatt after Berlin – any specific tips for Berlin?

    • Really!!! I’ve always been a terrible cook- do u have any stellar international dishes you would suggest? A friend of mine who is from Jordan is always telling me I need to try Makluba

    • Thanks snuggles & kisses! That’s such a cute name for a site btw! Makes me want to have kids! Well almost….lol….what was it like for you when you first became a mother?

  2. Hi, we hope to visit Scotland later this year but have not planned where to stay or visit yesterday. This was an informative rad and i shall be saving this for when we book soon.

    • wahoo! Where would you like to visit? I drove all over Scotland and have a really good layout and idea of where to see what and how long it takes to get there and such. Just make sure that if you decide on a rental car, that it has unlimited miles and has a GPS unit inside it, you will thank me later I promise

    • I love history too! I don’t have kids, but I think we always tend to want what we don’t have right? Scotland is actually really really family friendly, there are things to do in Edinburgh all the way up to Inverness – complete with a castle that is fully recreated like it was during that time period with actors and everything. Thanks for visiting Bryce and if there is something I can help you with I will do my best 🙂

  3. Love history, love Scotland and love travel so this is the perfect blog for me. Thanks. What an eerie place Culloden is? You have conveyed exactly how I felt when there last

  4. You had me at your title!! And all I thought was “OUTLANDER” 🙂 whoo who!! Thank you for this post and showing us your personal glimpse into this piece of history. It’s very sobering and tragic.

    • YEAH!!!!!! A fellow Outlander fan! I’m so excited for this 3rd season aren’t you?!?

  5. […] Directions: This is the best plotted course I used myself. I utilized google maps & wrote down the exact address for each of the locations. If it was rural I took note of the town name, so that I could at least ask when arriving in that particular town. I found everything fairly easy to navigate to & if I was lost I just pulled out my phone and plugged in the address I had written down into my google maps app  & was easily able to find each location.  Here is the map for your own Outlander Self Guided Tour (via Rental Car). This map does not include leaving from Edinburgh & also a stop in Inverness to see Culloden. […]

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