Jacobites & Bravehearts

Jacobites & Bravehearts

The Fight For Scottish Independence

Battlefield Tours

5th - 14th September 2020
(10 Days)

Guide : Dr John Sadler

Tour price: £2,995

click here to book

Jacobites & Bravehearts

The Fight For Scottish Independence

Battlefield Tours

Your Holiday Essentials

5th - 14th September 2020
(10 Days)

Includes 3 & 4 star hotels, breakfast, 2 lunches, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert historian throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Guide: Dr John Sadler

Tour price: £2,995

Single supplement: £375
Deposit: £300

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Introduction

During this fabulous 10-day tour we travel though magnificent Scottish scenery to encounter steep-sided verdant glens, shimmering lochs that reflect the towering mountains, thick magical woodland, romantic castle ruins, windswept pink/purple heather clad moorland dotted with silver streams, blanket bog and rocky outcrops. At carefully selected locations we will discuss the facts, fiction and myths that all contribute to Scotland’s legendary quixotic history and explore the sites where those dramatic events, whether they be actual, alleged or fictional, took place. See where the English soldier made his leap at Killicrankie, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard at Glen Finnan and where the Highland charge was blunted by the British bayonette at Culloden. Drive through the Great Glen besides the banks of Loch Ness, ride the Jacobite Express steam train to Mallaig and visit many filming locations from the Outlander TV series. Explore Edinburgh and Stirling Castles and see how the Scots re-asserted their independence on the fields of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn. In all an inspirational breath taking journey through Highland and Glen that will immerse you in Gaelic culture, custom and history.

Background

Scotland’s relationship with England has been turbulent since Roman times but never more so than at the turn of the 12th C and during the mid-18th C when English and British hegemony were seriously challenged. Battles such as Stirling Bridge, Bannockburn and Culloden resonate with romantic ideals of Scotland forever fighting for independence against the dastardly English led by heroes such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Rob-Roy MacGregor, Bonnie Dundee and Bonnie Prince Charlie. Such names and causes that have been dramatised and mythologised by literary giants such as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and, latterly, Dianna Gabaldon in her Outlander novels to such a degree that it is often difficult to separate fact from fiction. But the facts of the matter are clear. Towards the end of the 13th century, Edward I of England abused his invitation to arbitrate over Scottish succession by asserting authority over the kingdom, which was subsequently resisted until victory at Bannockburn ensured an independence that would last until the accession of King James VI of Scotland to the English throne in 1603, thus unifying the leadership of the two countries under Stuart rule. The next 85 years would see Britain struggle with Civil War, the act of union and religious strife until the Glorious Revolution of 1688 deposed King James II (VII of Scotland) in favour of the Protestant, William of Orange. The Jacobite cause was ignited and, against a backdrop of vacillating loyalties, religious change, brutality, and the erosion of autonomy, Scotland endured a series of rebellions seeking to restore the Stuart line to the throne, but which ultimately ended in the ill-fated battle of Culloden.

Highlights

  • Tales of rebellion, intrigue and lost causes
  • The battlefields of Bannockburn and Culloden
  • Majestic Highland scenery including stunning Glencoe and Glenfinnan
  • Outlander and other film locations
  • Edinburgh and Stirling castles
  • With leading historian Dr John Sadler

Itinerary

Day 1 - Prestonpans

Assemble at our Edinburgh Hotel. Enjoy an introductory talk over a buffet lunch and check in to our hotel for one night. Travel out to Prestonpans, where the first significant engagement of the ’45 was fought on 21 September, to gain a wonderful panorama of the battlefield.

Day 2 - ‘Dundee Rising’

At Dunkeld we see how the ‘Covenanter’ Cameronian regiment, in their baptism of fire, brought the 1689 rebellion to an end: walk over the River Tay bridge to the beautifully preserved town of Dunkeld itself, onto Stanley Hill and out to the ruins of the Cathedral. Following General Wade’s Military Road over Killiecrankie Pass, we visit Blair Castle, besieged in both 1689 and 1746, to explore its sumptuous rooms and discover its fine collection of Jacobite memorabilia including weapons from Culloden. Return to Killiecrankie where ‘Bonnie Dundee’ and his Jacobite army defeated Scottish government forces: we visit the battlefield to evaluate the probable site and orientation of the armies, Trooper’s Den and Soldier’s Leap. Check in to our hotel in the pretty Victorian town of Pitlochry for one night.

Day 3 - Aftermath

We drive through the Tummel Glen to find the iconic site used to film the standing stones of ‘Craigh na Dun’ (the time-travel portal used by heroine Claire in Outlander). At Ruthven Barracks, we discuss its role both as a rallying and a dispersal point for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s defeated army in 1746. We gaze over the Moray Firth from the ramparts of the impressive Fort George which was built in the wake of Culloden and examine its fine weapon collection and recreation of 18th century military life. En route to Inverness we stop at the Bronze Age cemetery of Clava Cairns, thought to be the inspiration for ‘Craigh na Dun’. Check in to our hotel for one night.

Day 4 - Culloden

We spend the whole morning at Culloden Moor exploring the battlefield, experiencing the 360-degree battle immersion theatre and visiting its museum. We drive through the Great Glen to ruined Urquhart Castle, destroyed in the wake of the Dundee Rising, and enjoy fabulous views over Loch Ness. Visit the battlefield of Glen Shiel, where a Spanish/Jacobite force was defeated in 1719 and where an 18-year-old Rob Roy MacGregor first came to attention. Thence to the rebuilt, yet iconic, commanding Eilean Donan Castle, where the remaining Spaniards were captured and the castle itself destroyed. Continue to Fort William and check in to our hotel for two nights.

Day 5 - Rising

We take one of the world’s greatest railway journeys aboard the Jacobite Express steam train through the glens to Mallaig, from where we can gaze upon the misty Isle of Skye. At Loch Nan Uamh we see where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in 1745 and from where he fled Scotland in 1746. Stopping at Glenfinnan, we climb the monument erected in 1815 to commemorate the raising of the Jacobite standard in 1745 and gain magical vistas of Loch Shiel and the 21-arch viaduct over which the Jacobite Express thunders.

Day 6 - Massacre

To Glencoe where, amidst the turbulent and evocative Highland landscape, we discuss the controversy of the slaughter of the MacDonalds and visit the 18th century thatched cottages that house the Folk Museum which interprets that tragic story. During our return to the Lowlands we’ll stop en route to hear of Robert the Bruce’s ‘lost sword’ and visit Rob Roy’s grave. We explore the splendour of medieval Doune Castle, home of ‘Scotland’s uncrowned King’ (Outlander’s Leoch Castle, but recognisable from its use in numerous films). Our day ends at Sherrifmuir, site of the inconclusive clash between the Jacobite Earl of Mar and the Duke of Argyll during the ‘15 rebellion. Travel to Stirling and check in to our hotel for two nights.

Day 7 - Bravehearts

Explore the heroic actions by the legendary William Wallace and Robert the Bruce at Stirling. From atop of the Wallace Monument, we enjoy stunning views over Stirling Bridge where the Scots defeated the English in 1297. Thence to symbolic Bannockburn, where the stubborn resistance of Robert the Bruce routed the over-confident English in 1314. Finally, we visit Stirling Castle, the gateway to Scotland, with its glittering Royal Palace, stunning tapestries and peaceful courtyard.

Day 8 - Outlander

Travel to Falkirk Muir, the site of the last ever Jacobite victory (January 1746) where we follow its recently devised battlefield trail. At the nearby Wallacestone we consider the possible sites for the battlefield where English King Edward I gained revenge for Stirling Bridge. For the remainder of our day we visit a selection of historical sites that have featured in the Outlander TV series: the royal ‘pleasure palace’ of Linlithgow (ironically Wentworth Prison); formidable Blackness Castle (Fort William); the Hopetoun Estate (home to the Duke of Sandringham); and Midhope Castle (Lallybroch, home of Outlander hero Jamie Fraser). Continue to Edinburgh for our last two nights.

Day 9 - Edinburgh

We spend the whole day on foot exploring the Scottish capital. At the royal residence of Holyrood Palace we imagine Bonnie Prince Charlie in residence amidst all its splendour: the magnificent Great Gallery, used as his Audience Chamber and where he held his extravagant balls and receptions; the Ante-chamber where he dined in public and the sumptuous bed in which he slept. The National Museum of Scotland houses the nation’s greatest treasures, but specifically we visit its Scotland Transformed exhibition with its wonderful collection of Jacobite artefacts and paintings. At the gothic Scott Monument, we discuss how the literary great has influenced our interpretation of Scottish history and traditions. From the battlements of Edinburgh Castle, we gain wonderful vistas of the capital and visit the National War Museum to discover life as a Jacobite and Highland soldier.

Day 10 - Disperse

After breakfast we commence our journey home.

Recommended Reading List

Your Holiday Essentials

5th - 14th September 2020
(10 Days)

Includes 3 & 4 star hotels, breakfast, 2 lunches, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert historian throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Guide: Dr John Sadler

Tour price: £2,995

Single supplement: £375
Deposit: £300

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

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