"Where is the coward that would not dare to fight for such a land as Scotland?"
Sir Walter Scott.
An interview with, Loretta McLaughlan
OH: Has OUTLANDER's popularity helped increase tourism to the battlefield?
OH: So these pits could be mass graves, like those marked by clan stones at Culloden. Are there any known graves from the battle in the area?
Legend has it that a Redcoat, a private soldier who was part of the Government troops, managed a spectacular escape by jumping 18 ft over the raging River Garry to a rocky outcrop and safety. The story of The Soldier’s Leap is a gift for the tourist business and is promoted vigorously by the National Trust for Scotland who manage a visitor centre at the spot of his supposed leap.
This argument is facile and misleading. Firstly, attitudes and rules about our historic and cultural environment have changed enormously since the 1970s. Indeed, one of today’s rules concerns sites that have already been damaged by development. There is a requirement to take extra measures to avoid further damage in these cases. Transport Scotland has ignored the requirement. Secondly, Transport Scotland used dubious methodology to evaluate the landscape impact. The northbound carriageway is almost continuously lined by vegetation and trees, some from the Ancient Woodland Inventory, which results in birds’ nesting areas being concentrated on that side. In contrast, the southbound carriageway is virtually treeless. Nevertheless, Transport Scotland concluded that development on the northbound or southbound side would have a similar impact. Thirdly, the loss of all the natural screening on the northbound side of the road will mean that the area where the memorial cairn stands will be exposed. At the moment, the stone monument is where visitors come throughout the year to reflect quietly on the impact of battle and to see the exact area where thousands of men fought and lost their lives. There is a remembrance service which takes place at the memorial cairn in a weekend-long commemorative event every July on the anniversary of the battle. Such places are meant to retain an atmosphere of dignity.
The association of the battle site with the exploits of an “ordinary” soldier whose unlikely leap over an 18 ft void is still celebrated throughout Scotland. It is also unique in that the Jacobites’ charismatic leader, “Bonnie Dundee” was killed, granting him near mythic status in the Jacobite legend. Without him the rebellion lost impetus and failed. Had he survived there may have been a different outcome: one of the classic ‘what ifs’ of the historical narrative.
(St. Bride's Kirk)
OH: If Outlander fans want to visit the area, and see the battlefield, what time of year would you best recommend?
There is much truth to the old Scottish proverb, "Twelve highlanders and a bagpipe make a rebellion" as it applies to Loretta, and the group KillieCrAnkie1689's perseverance in their mission to stop this government backed road expansion. It has been quite enlightening, and a joy communicating via email with Loretta. I hope to one day meet her in person, and get a hopefully unsullied by traffic, tour of Killiecrankie Battlefield. In the meantime, I plan on staying in touch with Loretta, and will post any dramatic changes to this somewhat fluid situation. If you care to show your support, please sign the petition to stop Transport Scotland's A9 highway expansion: