Culloden Stones To Help Fund New Visitor Centre

By Graham Spicer | 24 May 2006
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shows a photograph of a stone slab with writing on it

The Culloden stones could provide essential funds for the new visitor centre. © NTS

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is hoping to raise badly needed funds for the construction of a new visitor centre at the Culloden battlefield site in northern Scotland by offering ‘Culloden Stones’ that will be sponsored by members of the public.

The Slabs of Caithness stone will be individually engraved with a personal message and will be laid in a Culloden Walk pathway leading up to the new centre, which is due to be started in summer 2006.

"This is a completely new venture for us and we are delighted that it has met with such a great initial response,” explained Karen Reid, Head of Fundraising at the National Trust for Scotland.

“We launched the Culloden Walk appeal at Tartan Week in New York and many people have told us they are interested in sponsoring a stone to mark their family connection with the battle,” added Karen, “or simply because they love Scotland and they want to commemorate this through having their name laid at one of the most iconic sites in Scotland.”

shows a reconstructed photograph of a visitors centre set within a parkland

The stones will be laid in a Culloden Walk pathway in the approach to the new visitor centre. © NTS

Increasing visitor numbers mean new facilities are desperately needed at the battlefield and the NTS needs to raise £1.95 million to complete its world-class visitor centre.

The current visitor centre was opened in 1984 and although it has been extended several times it has already reached its capacity. More than 200,000 people visit the battlefield a year and the new centre, with its exhibition and education facilities, aims to enable more visitors to learn about the story behind Culloden.

On April 16 1746 the Duke of Cumberland led a 9,000-strong force against the 5,000-man Scottish army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart - Bonnie Prince Charlie – at Culloden near Inverness.

The English won the battle within an hour and the clampdown that occurred afterwards marked the end of the traditional highland way of life and quashed hopes of returning the Jacobite Stuarts to the British throne. Today the site is also a memorial and the site of clan graves as well as the Well of the Dead, where many clansmen were slaughtered whilst quenching their thirst or washing their wounds.

a photograph of a stone slab with the words Clan Donald carved into it

A stone memorial marks the mass grave of the Clan Donald. © NTS

“We are very conscious that Culloden is a memorial site and we have made every effort to make sure that the stone sponsorship remains in keeping with the new centre and battlefield,” added Karen.

“We have opted to use Caithness stone and have ensured that the Culloden Walk will be situated in the approach to the visitor centre rather than any where near the graves of the fallen.”

The Scottish Executive have already pledged funding for the centre, which will feature locally sourced oak and Caithness stone slabs in its construction.

With prices varying from £75 for a single stone up to £495 for a 'Chieftain' or 'Gaelic' stone, it is hoped the sale of Culloden Stones will make a significant contribution to the project and let people from around the world mark their connections with the famous site.

Along with using local materials where possible, sustainability and environmental considerations are high on the list of design priorities for the centre. A biomass plant will burn wood fuel from local sustainable sources, likely to be wood chips, which are a by-product of the Scottish forestry industry.

Visit the Culloden Walk website to find out more about the project.

Reader Michael Terwey adds this to our article:

The ‘English’ did not with the battle any more than Prince Charles led a ‘Scottish’ army. Scots and Englishmen fought on both sides as part of a British civil war. Please don’t perpetuate the idea that Culloden was a simplistic Scots Vs English affair. MT

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