Inverness and Culloden Battlefield
We got up early and arrived at Waverly Station at 7:30am for our first experience using our Brit Rail passes. All went well and we waited in the First-Class lounge for our train to arrive. Boarding the train was very hectic since the departure platform was only posted a few minutes before the train was scheduled to leave. We were on board and in our seats when Buddy discovered he had left his glasses in the lounge. He decided to get off and search for them while I continued the journey. Unfortunately, he got back to the lounge and the glasses were gone. No one had seen them or turned them in. He had to go order new glasses.
The weather was slightly foggy, as the train left Edinburgh. The rail bridge over the Firth of Forth was voted Scotland’s greatest man-made wonder in 2016 and offered a spectacular view of the Firth. The three-and-a-half-hour trip was uneventful with gorgeous scenery, especially in the area north of Pitlorchy and as we neared Inverness. Inverness felt very small town after spending so much time in Edinburgh.
I finally found the bus to Culloden Battlefield after a walk around the bus station only to learn that the bus I wanted stops at the Post Office. The #2 bus said Culloden, but the driver said the #5 bus that said Balloch was the one that takes you to the battlefield. It always pays to ask. I paid my 4 pounds and 10 pence for the round trip and settled back for the 25-minute ride.
The Culloden Battlefield Museum is an impressive ultra-contemporary building. The exhibits were very well done and I opted to pass up the surround cinema. My sensitive ear wouldn’t tolerate the loud sounds of the hand-to-hand combat. I walked the Battlefield site taking photos of the Old Leanach cottage, the memorial stone tower, and the stone marking the site of the Fraser clan burial. As I stood on the windswept moor, I couldn’t imagine it as an ideal site for a battle. None of the paintings I had seen depicting the battle reflected the actual topography of the site. The knee-high heather and brambles would have presented a challenge to just walk through. I can’t deny that the site has an aura about it that is difficult to ignore even after all these years. The Battle of Culloden saw over 1,200 dead within an hour on that fateful day in April 1746. The short, bloody battle was the last to be fought on British soil.
I would have preferred to spend more time in Inverness to visit the Castle and the Cathedral, but after the walk through the Battlefield, I was ready to head back. The weather had cleared and the return train trip offered beautiful views all the way to Edinburgh.