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3 Apr 2024

Commemorating the 278th anniversary of Culloden

Written by Sarah Burnett
A diverse group of people standing around a stone structure in a scenic outdoor setting.
Marking the Battle of Culloden anniversary in 2022
This April, the Trust will mark the 278th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden with a weekend of events.

This April, we will be commemorating the 278th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden with a series of events, including an in-person discussion with well-known authors Flora Fraser and S G MacLean at Culloden.

The Battle of Culloden, which took place on 16 April 1746, saw the final Jacobite Rising come to a head in one of the most harrowing battles in British history. Over 1,500 lives were lost in the space of an hour. This year’s anniversary service and events will unite people worldwide to commemorate the fallen on both the Jacobite and Government sides.

Wreaths and bunches of flowers are displayed at the base of a large memorial stone. The stone has the following text inscribed on it: The Battle of Culloden as fought on this moor 16th April 1746.  A group of people can just be seen standing to the side of the stone.
Flowers and wreaths laid at the memorial cairn during the 2019 commemoration ceremony

The anniversary weekend, taking place from 13–14 April, will include the annual commemoration service led by the Gaelic Society of Inverness at the memorial cairn. The services first took place at the cairn in 1925 and have continued, in one form or another, to this day. This year’s service, at 11am on 13 April, will include wreaths being laid and a piper.

In addition to the Gaelic Society of Inverness service, the events planned for this year’s commemoration include Fact and Fiction: Telling the Jacobite story, an afternoon tea and discussion between two prominent authors, S G Maclean and Flora Fraser on Saturday 13 April. The pair will explore the trials and tribulations of portraying the Jacobite period; Flora Fraser, author of Pretty Young Rebel: The Life of Flora Macdonald, will share insights into the intricacies of writing biography, while S G Maclean, author of The Bookseller of Inverness, will explore the art of crafting compelling fiction from history.

On Sunday 14 April, visitors are encouraged to join a family drop-in day to try their hands at some conservation work. Throughout the day, the Culloden team will host various activities on the battlefield, allowing families to learn together about enhancing biodiversity and experience a taster of the Trust’s outdoor programmes.

Additional presentations are available in the Gallery spaces in the Visitor Centre. These presentations, which are included in the admission, feature Clach An Airm, which tells the story of one clan and their preparations before the battle, and Fight like a Highlander, where visitors can experience the thrill of fighting with a basket-hilted broadsword on the field at Culloden.

A diverse group of people, some with flags, walking together in a field near a memorial cairn.
Commemorating the Battle of Culloden

Gail Cleaver, Operations Manager for the Trust’s Culloden Cluster, commented: ‘Culloden is an evocative and atmospheric historic site, and our charity is privileged to conserve it for all to experience and to share the story of the battle and its aftermath at our Visitor Centre. The commemoration weekend is always a moving experience, and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors here to explore the stories of Culloden and share them with others – mindful not just of the events and legacies of the battle but of the impacts of war on the lives of people around the world today.

‘Just as at other times of the year, we would ask all visitors to the commemoration service and other events to show respect to the site and the graves area of the battlefield, remembering that over 1,500 people lost their lives here. We would also ask them to stick to the designated routes around the battlefield to help us protect high-usage areas. We’re grateful for people’s support and co-operation in this and for the support from National Trust for Scotland members and supporters. This is vital in helping us continue protecting, caring for and sharing Scotland’s special heritage with everyone.’

For more information about the Culloden 278th anniversary events and to book your place, you can visit: Culloden Events - 5 Upcoming Activities and Tickets | Eventbrite

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