Culloden Battlefield is Threatened "The site has national and international importance, not only Scottish. It is one of the few places that openly speaks about the horrifying effects of the Highland Clearances that affect Scottish culture to this very day."
275 years ago Jacobite forces fought the British Army on a remote moorland in Scotland in a clash that might have changed the course of history. Had victory fallen differently, there would arguably have been no American Revolution.
“The moor was covered with blood; and our men, what with killing the enemy, dabbling their feet in blood, and splashing it about one another, looked like butchers.”
April 18, 2021 . . . The Herald THE BIG READ: Fielding off developers - why the fight to save Scotland’s battlefields has only just begun . . . Raoul Curtis-Machen, the trust’s operations manager at Culloden, is pretty clear about what the problem is. “The existing planning mechanisms are too weak,” he says. “We averaged more than 300,000 visitors a year pre-covid, and we work hard to keep the battlefield open and accessible 24/7. Yet we’re frequently surrounded by planning applications for developments, and we struggle to defend against them all.
“Once development takes place on or right beside the battlefield, the fragile but powerful sense of place is shattered. Surely there is a strong case for stronger legal protection for sites like this?” The people who live and work near the site, as well as the wider Scottish diaspora who feel a strong connection to Culloden, feel pretty much the same way. Carolyn Seggie, who belongs to GSDC (Group To Stop Development At Culloden) says there’s a misconception that battlefields already have protection from development.
The 1745 Association: Conserving Culloden Battlefield In the 2021 National Trust for Scotland-1745 Association Annual Culloden Lecture on 'Tourism, Research and Conservation at Culloden Battlefield, 1746-2021', Andrew Grant McKenzie describes the multiple threats to the battlefield posed by commercial development proposals, and expresses the hope that a land purchase programme by the National Trust for Scotland to assemble the entire battlefield under single ownership may preserve it for future generations.
The alternative 'business as usual' scenario poses the very real risk that there will be no Annual Culloden Commemoration in a hundred years' time, for the simple reason that there will be no Culloden Battlefield to commemorate, only a series of Viewhill Farm / Treetops - type developments where the battlefield used to be. Andrew worked with the NTS at the Culloden Battlefield between 2008 and 2018, latterly as its Property Manager, and draws extensively on his first-hand experience there to assess the current position and future prospects for the conservation of the battlefield.
April 7, 2021 . . . BBC News Battle of Culloden's 275th anniversary to be marked online The 275th anniversary of Culloden is to be marked in a series of online events. The battle on 16 April 1746 saw forces loyal to Bonnie Prince Charlie defeated by the Duke of Cumberland's government army. Fought near Inverness, it involved the deaths of about 1,600 men - 1,500 of them Jacobites.
The events will include talks from archaeologists and historians and a discussion on how the site might look by the time of its 300th anniversary.
Culloden - the last pitched battle fought on British soil - is usually marked with a service at the battlefield, but this has not been possible due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Note: Our petition is now closed This is a petition to the Scottish Government It is open to anyone from across the world. Sign this even if you have signed other petitions. Share, share, share too. Especially on the back of today's refusal of planning permission at Culchunaig, by Highland council. Why? Because it's quite likely they will apply again. The GSDC started a Change.org online petition to try to gauge support, asking the Scottish Government to change planning law, with a view to properly protect areas like Culloden Battlefield, which are indisputably recognised as areas of national importance. The next stage for us having gauged that support was to implement a stronger, more official petition to the Scottish Parliament direct. That Petition was submitted and has been accepted. It is very important that it gets 1000's of signatures. This petition closes on the 17th of March, let's hope with the boost we have all just received from Highland Council, the Scottish Government will understand the strength and depth of feeling regarding the level of protection currently assigned to these areas of national importance. This petition will also will send a message to the appointed government agency, HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT SCOTLAND, that they are neglecting their responsibilities. Visit the web site, read the details of the petition in the links, SIGN IT, leaving your full details and please leave a clear and polite comment regards your feelings about the level of protection needed to stop these money grabbing profiteering developers form obliterating these areas of national importance.
Breaking news: Planning application 20/04611/FUL, the third at Culchunaig, rejected today, February 3, 2021, by Highland Council. A pivotal part of Culloden Battlefield, outside the ownership of the NTS property, yet where fierce hand to hand fighting took place. Where soldiers of both sides fought and died. HRH Prince Charles Edward Stewart took up a position just to the top right of the building shown in the picture during the battle. A great day for conservation of Culloden!
Highland councillors are again being recommended to approve a revised plan despite opposition from the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). Council officials will tell next week’s south planning applications committee meeting that the proposal is an "extremely sympathetic and sensitive conversion of a historical building". However, the NTS – which has performed a U-turn in lodging an objection – now believes ongoing research shows the area could have been the location of decisive action during the battle fought between Jacobite and government forces in April 1746.
It also raises concerns that the battlefield is coming under ever-increasing pressure from cumulative development, representing unacceptable "creeping suburbanisation".
December 13 . . . Press and Journal Petition calls for Scottish Government bill to protect Culloden Battlefield from developers A petition has been launched demanding the Scottish Government passes a Bill to protect Culloden battlefield and other historic conflict sites from developers. The move comes just days after Highland Council unanimously refused a renewed proposal to transform part of the Culloden battlefield into a holiday complex with more than a dozen lodges, a cafe, shop and restaurant. Culloden is sacred to many people as the place where, on 16 April 1746, the Jacobite rising led by Prince Charles Edward Stuart was crushed by Government troops in the last pitched battle fought on British soil. Despite its inclusion in Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) Inventory of Scottish Battlefields, the landscape has been the subject of a series of new and repeated planning applications, including one development now described as a “blot” on the historic landscape.
Highland Council Final Planning Decision on Treetops This application is refused for the following reasons: The proposed development would promote unnecessary and unacceptable commercial activity within the boundary of the Inventory Battlefield of Culloden. click on headline for full document
December 8, 2020 Highland Councillors unanimously refuse Culloden Moor planning application Members of The Highland Council’s South Planning Applications Committee have unanimously refused permission for a planning application from Inverness Paving Ltd regarding land at Treetop Stables, Faebuie, Culloden Moor, Inverness. Councillors have refused the application for change of use from an equestrian centre to holiday, leisure and hospitality facilities including 13 lodges, cafe/shop, reception, laundry and restaurant. Members unanimously approved a motion by Cllr Ron MacWilliam seconded by Cllr Carolyn Caddick to refuse the application which was contrary to officers’ recommendations to grant planning permission. The planning application can be viewed on the Council’s eplanning site https://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/ (external link) at the following reference 20/01728/FUL.
National Trust welcomes Highland Council decision on Culloden planning application The National Trust for Scotland, which cares for and protects the ‘core’ segment of the Culloden battlefield has welcomed last night’s unanimous decision by Highland Councillors to reject a bid to convert Treetop Equestrian Centre into a holiday complex. This was the second attempt by the applicant to gain permission for the scheme, which was previously rejected by councillors in May 2019.
November 17, 2020 GSDC takes note of and warmly welcomes the unprecedented decision taken today by Scottish Ministers to refuse planning permission for the house at Culchunaig (18/04194/FUL). It is marked number 8 on the GSDC map and is located on a hugely sensitive site within Culloden Battlefield.
A previous application was approved by Highland Council and HC was minded to grant the second application. The GSDC worked hard to get the second application called-in by the Scottish Government, which happened.
An appointed Reporter then recommended that planning permission be granted. This was overturned and the Scottish Ministers’ decision to refuse is final. A momentous turnaround of events, and one that we sincerely hope marks a new dawn for the protection of the Battlefield especially with still four live applications awaiting determination, including a holiday resort.
November 18, 2020 . . . The National Campaigners hail 'unprecedented' decision to stop Culloden Battlefield house plans CAMPAIGNERS have hailed Scottish ministers' "unprecedented" decision to stop a house being built on Culloden Battlefield. The plans were rejected after ministers said the move would "suburbanise" the Jacobite site due to the “national historic significance” of the battlefield. A dilapidated farm steading near the battlefield had been planned to become a family home – complete with zen garden and chillout zone – sparking a battle with conservationists who were furious about the proposals. The site at Culchunaig, Scottish Highlands, lies near to a section of battlefield owned by National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and is within the battlefield boundary. It was the scene of major fighting during the battle in April 1746 between the Jacobites and British forces.
October 12, 2020 . . . Culloden chief: Backing of holiday park plan near battlefield is 'depressing' The plans were strongly condemned by historians and campaigners given the site, the old Treetops equestrian centre at Feabuie, is where British troops “saddled up” before their 1746 clash with the Jacobites. The new holiday park sits around a mile north of the section of battlefield owned by National Trust for Scotland (NTS), with the conservation charity among those objecting to the plans. Raoul Curtis-Machin, NTS operations manager at Culloden Battlefield, said: “We objected very strongly and the fact that it is going to get approved is very depressing. We can do no more at this stage.
October 6, 2020 . . . Press and Journal Fury as Culloden holiday village up for approval – after previous rejection Controversial proposals for a holiday village near Culloden Moor are to be recommended for approval by Highland Council, despite strong opposition. Members of the south planning committee are to be asked to back the development, which has attracted outrage from those opposed to developments on the historic battle site. Inverness Paving wants to build a four-star, £1 million holiday village with 13 lodges, a 100-seat restaurant and cafe and shop at the former TreeTops riding centre in Faebuie, a mile-and-a-half from the battlefield.
National Trust for Scotland: Public plead to protect Culloden The unique atmosphere, importance as a place of history and remembrance, and the open aspects of Culloden Battlefield must be protected, according to the public.
We are revealing the findings of our Culloden 300 Report, the 275th anniversary of Charles Edward Stuart’s arrival in Scotland which ignited the 1745 Jacobite rising.
Last year, around 3,000 people took part online and in person in the consultation which aimed to establish how people wanted the site of Britain’s last pitched battle to look in 2046, 300 years on from the event that marked the conclusion of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s attempt on the British throne.
Map of the Battle of Culloden provided by The Historians Council on Culloden
It's OFFICIAL!! Treetops holiday park application 18/01399/FUL (Change of use from equestrian centre to holiday, leisure and hospitality facilities including 13 lodges, cafe/shop, reception, laundry and restaurant). REFUSED by Highland Council.
The Scotsman . . . May 10, 2019 Victory declared as Culloden holiday park plan is refused The site sits around a mile north of visitor attraction managed by National Trust for Scotland but falls within the eastern edge of the greater battlefield and the Culloden Muir Conservation Area, which was drawn up in 2015 to protect the sensitive area. More than 100 objections were lodged against the plans with a campaign against development in the historic landscape attracting support from around the world. Highland Council planning officers have now refused the plans, primarily given the holiday park's impact on surrounding woodland and the natural environment.
This petition is addressed to David Fraser Sutherland, Kirkwood Homes Ltd. and Historic Environment Scotland
The Admin and members of GSDC, and all who sign this petition are very concerned that this land will disappear under houses and pavements; thus creating an irreparable scar on Culloden Moor and ultimately will generate disrespect towards those who died and lie buried under its unforgiving moorland. The building of 16 luxury houses at Viewhill farm would convert the existing agricultural land use to suburban, subdivided parcels. Probable widening and extensions of roads accessing this property do not comply with the Culloden Muir Conservation Area. If allowed, this development will affect the area in a dramatic, negative way. Increased traffic, street lighting, issues with drainage and unsightly rooflines, and increased residential noise will greatly affect the Battlefield experience. The area will lose its ability to convey a sense of historical and cultural significance, as a memorial, in which to sit and contemplate, as a place of connection for millions of people around the world.
Map created by Historic Scotland to indicate the area of historical importance at Culloden Battlefield. Note that Viewhill Farm is in black and in the protected area!
Map of the 2015 Culloden Muir Protection Area indicating that the battle took place over a much wider area. Note that Viewhill Farm is in this protected area!
WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT. . .
In 2011, an Inverness property developer presented plans to Highland Council for a 16 unit housing development at Viewhill, just 400+ metres from Culloden Battlefield.
The proposed development was rejected by Highland Council. The Developer appealed. The matter was then decided by a Government Appointed Reporter who ruled in favour of the Developer.
This Group was formed to protest the plans to build the 16 houses. We gathered information, data, maps and legislative references which left no doubt as to the historical significance of the battlefield and the area beyond and, its importance on a National and International level.
The new designated Protection Area of 2015 enlarged the protected zone but does not include Viewhill as permission to build was granted in 2014.
Building houses on that site is deeply disrespectful. It is part of a war grave.
The building of 16 houses at Viewhill converts the existing agricultural land use to suburban, subdivided parcels. Possible widening and extensions of roads accessing this property do not comply with the Culloden Muir Conservation Area and if allowed will further damage the area. This is not an appropriate use for this land.
We need to protect that area for future generations. It was a pivotal battle in British history and is of huge international interest and it is incumbent on us to protect it. “The battle actually covered a far greater area than that which the National Trust owns and runs.” HC Ken Gowans
"Culloden is an incredibly sensitive site. The site is very important to a lot of people...it's almost a place of pilgrimage. There's a particular aspect to that landscape that you could quite easily destroy by building something that was unsuitable for that environment.” Tony Pollard
…………………………………………..the fight is NOT over!
See what Culloden Battlefield might look like if development is allowed to take place! A video by a member of the Scottish Diaspora now living in Australia.
A video by GSDC member Paul Jamieson on the 270th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden. The video starts around 6am on the commemoration Saturday after he spent the night walking the Battlefield. It snowed and rained most of the evening and was still overcast. The march and service at the central Cairn and afterwards the patriots departed but some stayed on meeting and greeting old and new friends...
Culloden Lament... 5th October 2016 by Charlie McAulay Robertson
Two years and more have past since the news was broken. Houses to be built on Culloden moor and then the world it was outspoken. Yes, people from around the globe just could not understand. What does posses those corporate minds, that they would desecrate our sacred land. New laws were passed by government that would give it more protection. Which meant to us that there would be consultation before any house erection. But those unscrupulous business men with there eyes set on the brass. Find loopholes in everything, even the laws that the government pass. So here we are today and the problems are still looming. And believe me when I say, Scotland it should be fuming. They want to wipe away our history, while all we can do is lament. As they cover it up with houses aye, tar macadam, bricks an cement.
Listen to Ted Christopher sing "Freedom's Flame" written by Ted for the Culloden Commemoration
Blàr Chùil Lodair, 16 an Giblean 2016. Tha na faireachdainnean agam an-diugh a’ sìneadh eadar irioslachd agus pròis, irioslachd a thaobh an urraim a thug sibh dhomh cuimhne a ghleidheadh air na Gàidheil cliùiteach a thuit ann an Cogadh nan Seumasach, agus pròis a thaobh an dleastanais a bhuilich sibh orm a bhith a’ riochdachadh Comunn Gàidhlig Inbhir-Nis aig Seirbhis Cuimhneachaidh Blàr Chùil Lodair. Le carragh-cuimhne air ar beulaibh agus raon uaigneach tiamhaidh fo ar comhair, tha sinn uile mothachail air an tuiteamas seo a tha a’ sìoladh sìos thugainn thar nan linntean bhon dearbh latha sa’ Ghiblean 1746. Gu deimhinnte ’s e droch latha a bh’ ann, airson Gàidheal air gach taobh dhen t-strì agus mar sin, tha cothrom againn a-rithist an-diugh cuimhne ùrachadh air na daoine foghainteach a chaill am beatha aig Cùil Lodair agus an comharrachadh as ùr.
Gaelic Society Chief, Prof Hugh Cheape, addresses the gathering at the 2016 Memorial Service and Mgr. Maoilios Caimbeul reads ‘Latha Chùil-Lodair’ / ‘Culloden Day’ by Iain Ruadh Stiùbhart.
'Presenting' or 'lining' is very much part of Gaelic Culture. The presenter sings the line, the congregation sings the line after him. Here is a video of the remembrance service at Culloden.
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