Straddling a nexus of road and rail routes, INVERNESS is the hub of the Highlands, and an inevitable port of call if you’re exploring the region by public transport: buses and trains leave for communities right across the far north of Scotland. Though it has few conventional sights, the city has an appealing setting on the banks of the River Ness.
The second Jacobite rebellion had begun on August 19, 1745, with the raising of the Stuarts’ standard at Glenfinnan on the west coast. Shortly after, Edinburgh fell into Jacobite hands, and Bonnie Prince Charlie began his march on London. The English had appointed the ambitious young Duke of Cumberland to command their forces, and his pursuit, together with bad weather and lack of funds, eventually forced the Jacobites to retreat north. They ended up at Culloden, where, ill-fed and exhausted, they were hopelessly outnumbered by the English. After the battle, in which 1500 Highlanders were slaughtered (many of them as they lay wounded on the battlefield), Bonnie Prince Charlie fled west to the hills and islands. He eventually escaped to France, leaving his erstwhile supporters to their fate – the clans were disarmed, the wearing of tartan and playing of bagpipes forbidden, and the chiefs became landlords greedy for higher and higher rents. Within a century, the Highland way of life had changed out of all recognition.