In the Footsteps of the
Forty-Five By Steve Lord
In July 1745
Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in Scotland with the intention of raising the
clans and marching triumphantly into London where a popular uprising would
proclaim his father King James III. It did not work out like that at all.
The Jacobite army advanced to Derby but then withdrew to Scotland and was
slaughtered at the Battle of Culloden. There was £30,000 on the Princes
head and he was on the run.
The author, Steve Lord,
lives in Oxfordshire. He is married and has two sons at London University.
In order to complete this journey Steve took a part-time contract with his
employers. His wife thinks he is slightly mad.
To whet your appetite
please read the Introduction to the book printed below. You may be
interested to know that The National Trust for Scotland stocks the book at
Culloden and Glenfinnan.
"Walking with Charlie" may
be purchased from Pookus Publications, 2 Mill Street, Eynsham, Witney,
Oxon OX29 4JS or from the Pookus website at
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The price in UK is £12.50
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1. Two Kings: One Crown
2. The Standard Flies High
3. Over the Corrieyairack
4. Triumphant to Edinburgh
5. The March to Carlisle
6. To Manchester
7. Advancing to Retreat
8. Withdrawal to Scotland
10. Escape to the Islands
11. Over the Sea to Skye
12. Glenmoriston Men
13. Clunys Cage
14. Will Ye No Come Back Again?
Significant Events Leading to the Jacobite Rising of
1685 James II and VII crowned King
of England and Scotland.
1688 James Francis Stuart born (son of James II).
1688 James II, his wife (Mary of Modena) and son escape into exile
1689 William of Orange and wife Mary (daughter of James II and Anne Hyde)
crowned as joint monarchs.
1689 James (II) arrives in Ireland in the first attempt to regain the
1690 James (II) defeated by forces of William III at Battle of the Boyne.
1694 Mary dies at the age of 32 leaving no children.
1701 Act of Settlement passed stating that no Roman Catholic may become
1701 Exiled King James (II) dies.
1702 William III dies aged 53 after falling from a horse. Queen Anne
(Marys sister) ascends the throne.
1707 Act of Union passed. Great Britain comes into existence.
1708 James Francis Stuart, son of James II, unsuccessfully attempts to
land in Scotland with 5,000 French troops.
1713 Treaty of Utrecht produces temporary peace between Britain and France
and forbids James (III) the right to live in France.
1714 Queen Anne dies with no surviving children and George, Elector of
Hanover is crowned George I.
1715 Jacobite rebellion led by the Earl of Mar captures Perth and
Inverness but quickly fails through lack of French support.
1715 Louis XIV of France dies leaving Jacobites short of French support.
1717 James (III) takes up residence in Italy.
1719 Anglo-French alliance declares war on Spain
1719 Spanish financed Jacobite rebellion fails.
1719 James (III) marries Clementina Sobieska.
1720 Prince Charles Edward Stuart born in Rome.
1725 Charles brother Henry born.
1727 George I dies, George II is crowned.
1735 Clementina Sobieska dies aged 33.
1740 Charles VI of Austria dies, precipitating the War Of Austrian
Succession. Britain and France on opposing sides.
1743 French lose Battle of Dettingen. Renewed French interest in
anti-British and therefore Stuart cause.
1744 Invasion troops led by Prince Charles assembled at Dunkirk. Bad
weather wrecks ships and plans. Charles determined to try again.
1745 In May the French rout British forces commanded by the Duke of
Cumberland at Battle of Fontenoy.
Jacobite RISING of 1745/46
5 July Le du Teillay sails for
Scotland with Charles and Seven Men of Moidart
23 July Le du Teillay arrives in Eriskay
24 July Arrival at Loch nan Uamh
19 August Royal Standard raised at Glenfinnan
17 September Jacobites enter Edinburgh
21 September Battle of Prestonpans
8 November Charles enters England at Carlisle
10-15 November Carlisle under siege
4 December Jacobites enter Derby
6 December Withdrawal to Scotland
20 December Charles birthday. Jacobites re-cross Scottish border
26 December Jacobites enter Glasgow
8 January Unsuccessful siege of
17 January Battle of Falkirk
20 February Inverness Castle surrenders
16 April Battle of Culloden
26 April Escape to Outer Hebrides
28 June Over the sea to Skye
5 July Prince Charles arrives back on mainland
5 September In Clunys Cage in Ben Alder
20 September Escape to France
There is no more time for
deliberation; now or never is the word. Prince Charles Edward Stuart, September 1745
Bonnie Prince Charlie or Prince
Charles Edward Stuart, to give him his more formal name, was convinced,
with some good reason, that his father should be sitting on the throne of
Great Britain. In July 1745 the Prince and a few companions landed on the
west coast of Scotland in an ambitious and many would say foolish attempt
to regain the throne for the Stuart family. Gathering support as he went,
Prince Charles marched south from the Highlands with the intention of
reaching London where he had the romantic notion he would be welcomed in
triumph. His father would be declared James III and the reigning
Hanoverian king, George II, exiled. It did not work out like that at all.
True, the Bonnie Prince marched a long way south but in the end failed to
reach London. His army advanced to Derby but then retreated ignominiously.
At Culloden near Inverness the rebel army was badly beaten and after many
adventures Prince Charlie escaped to France, his dreams of kingship
shattered forever. The 1745 campaign was the last of several attempts to
restore the Stuarts to the throne and is often known simply as The
The story of Prince Charles
exploits in Britain is famous throughout the world. Flora MacDonald, who
helped him escape from the redcoat soldiers, over the sea to Skye, is
almost as celebrated as the Bonnie Prince himself. The battlefield at
Culloden, where Jacobite ambition was torn to pieces by British army
cannon fire, is well visited and many people can sing at least the first
couple of lines of The Skye Boat Song. The tale is one of intrigue, high
hopes, heroism, personal charisma, bravery and fortitude as well as
arrogance, unreasonable expectation, butchery, fear and failure. The
adventure had a poor beginning, transformed for a time by battles won and
cheering crowds, into majestic success against all the odds. Yet it is a
story of disillusionment, imagined betrayal, pain, death and final defeat.
It is also true.
I am interested in history and I
enjoy walking. It seemed like a good idea to combine the two by following
the Princes route on foot, taking into consideration the modern
development of the landscape and the availability of suitable footpaths.
It is crucial to my familys well-being that I work for a living and so
finishing the walking in one continuous, foot-blistering slog was
fortunately not an option. About ten days at fifteen miles a day is as
much as my feet can cope with and, as I usually stay in B&Bs, the novelty
of black pudding, bacon, sausage and mushroom breakfasts wears off after
about a week. This journey is more than fifteen hundred miles from start
to finish, many of them over rough and isolated territory. It would have
taken me forever at the rate of a snatched weekend here and there. I had
to reorganise my life to do it.
I have completed the first
half-century of life and on the assumption that another fifty years is a
bit unlikely, I decided that the wheels of corporate globalisation would
have to do without me for a while. My employers have the enlightened
policy of allowing their staff part time contracts. The only snag is that
they only expect to pay part time salaries but I soon became used to the
idea. This downshifting, as the fashionable jargon has it, is a good
scheme if you have the finances right. I have always tried to live within
my income and save a shilling or two for the future. When is the future if
not when the first fifty years are completed? The mortgage is paid off and
the children are almost grown up. When a fifty per cent contract was
offered to me, I discussed it with Momoyo and then grabbed it with both
hands. I havent regretted it for a minute.
I began at Loch nan Uamh where
Prince Charles first landed on mainland Britain. Its a wild spot just
south of Arisaig on what is now The Road to the Isles. The walk took me
through Perth, Edinburgh, Carlisle, Manchester and finally to Derby. The
Prince was determined to take London but to his enduring disappointment
his commanders decided that the odds against taking and holding the
capital were too great and marched the army back to Scotland. I followed
the retreat to Glasgow, Inverness and the infamous battlefield at
Culloden. Defeat drove Prince Charles to the Hebrides but as the noose of
capture tightened he was compelled to return to the mainland and hide for
weeks in the wilderness of the western Highlands. The Princes adventure
ended back at Loch nan Uamh from where he and a few companions finally
escaped to France.
It is neither sensible nor practical
to walk everywhere so I thought about using my car and mused over other
options. Circular routes are just the job for cars. After a good days
walking you come back to the spot where you started and there is your
personal transport and security blanket waiting to whisk you away to
wherever your fancy takes you. Never mind that youre cold, soaking wet
and have not yet found somewhere to sleep. Who cares that the last bus has
just gone and there isnt another until a week on Wednesday? The car will
see to it that everything is all right.
Walking on linear footpaths is
different. The car that was so useful for driving to the starting place
would be not a scrap of good at the end of the day unless I returned to
collect it. How would I do that? Walking back was out of the question and
so hitch-hiking or telephoning for a taxi might be my only option. It all
looked like too much trouble. I decided to leave the car at home and rely
on public transport and the occasional lift.
Many parts of Charles route have
changed out of all recognition since the eighteenth century and so I
deliberately travelled some of the way by motor vehicle. I hitch-hiked
frequently but warn of the possible dangers. I did a lot of it when I was
an impoverished student and most people who offered me lifts were friendly
and helpful. There were a couple of occasions when the male driver placed
an encouraging hand on my upper thigh. I didnt much care for that and
said so in a tone that made it clear that my gratitude might stretch as
far as a cup of tea in a transport café but no further. There was also a
notable time when a chap invited me to beat him with a springy tree branch
on the slip road to the Forth Road Bridge. Well, I was with a friend, we
were only eighteen and it seemed a harmless enough request to me at the
time! If you do hitch, do it with a friend. At the risk of being branded a
politically incorrect sexist, females would be mad to hitch alone. Be
The requirements of family and work
meant that I completed the walk in stages over six years. I researched the
Princes route before setting out on each part of my journey and chose the
exact path to take on a daily basis. I used O.S. Landranger maps and
walked on existing footpaths, disused railway lines, canal towpaths and
minor roads. If you complete any part of this walk you will have an
achievement on which to congratulate yourself. I wish you much enjoyment.
The journey took me through glens
and over mountains, across some of the wildest country in the land as well
as over gentler terrain and into towns and villages. I am not a rock
climber and so the walk offers none of the dangers associated with that
activity. Much of the journey is through easy walking territory. Provided
you are physically fit you could try it yourself and the qualities you
will find essential are fortitude and no aversion to rain. Nonetheless
some of the route is through the most remote region of Britain and took me
considerable distances from roads and settlements. The Highlands of
Scotland are thinly populated. Those who have never been there before will
be amazed at the scarcity of towns or villages with any sizeable number of
people. It is possible to walk all day in the more remote areas and not
see anyone. A twisted ankle or worse would be serious problem for a lone
walker and it could be a long time, perhaps even days, before anyone came
along. The mobile phone, a sometimes-useful device in adverse
circumstances, will probably not provide an operational line at the vital
The weather anywhere in Britain, but
particularly in the west of Scotland, is capable of rapid change. A
beautiful day at nine in the morning might deteriorate into a howling gale
by four in the afternoon. Appropriate clothing is essential and should
include good, comfortable walking boots, waterproofs and something warm.
The boots are important. Feet are going to ache after a while no matter
what, but chafing boots that produce blisters are the last things anyone
Im a great believer in wearing a
hat but then I am somewhat follically challenged. A hat keeps off the
sun and helps deter buzzing insects. A wide brim gives a split seconds
warning of tree branches or other potentially painful objects. Yes, get a
hat but not a baseball cap, and especially not one worn back to front. Buy
a proper hat, one with a bit of style. You wont regret it. Sun tan cream
and insect repellent are useful and a plastic survival bag or similar
protection might save your life if youre stranded in a remote area. Carry
a compass (know how to use it!) and a whistle and never walk without a
suitable map. Acquire a decent walking stick. There are all sorts
available, from expensive high tech affairs that look like ski poles to
ones fashioned from bits of dead branch. A stick is useful for providing
balance when crossing streams or difficult terrain. It provides additional
leverage for uphill climbs or a little braking for downhill ones. Lastly,
a stick offers some comfort when confronted with the barking dogs you are
likely to encounter along the way.
Try not to do too much in each day,
particularly if you find youre not quite as fit as you think you are.
There is a commonly held view that a human being can walk at about four
miles an hour, and for short distances, over smooth, flat ground this may
be true. However experience tells me that I am hard pushed to do more than
two miles an hour over the whole day and less than that in the more
arduous areas of the Highlands. I admit right here, right now that there
were occasions where I failed to follow in the Princes footsteps as
closely as I should have liked. Some of the journey was hard and my plan
was to enjoy the experience, not wear myself out. Time constraints,
weather, personal motivation, fitness and perhaps even age conspired
together to occasionally leave my achievements short of the ideal. However
the reader may be assured that if I say I walked a particular route then I
did so and if I did not then I say that too.
I have tried to make my route clear
without becoming bogged down in too much detail. However, my endeavours
should not be regarded as the only way of completing the journey. There
are often alternative paths. I prepared each days walk but still
occasionally took the wrong path and had to backtrack a little. The secret
here, I discovered, was to be vigilant with both map and compass. I
checked my position frequently, especially when the slightest suspicion
that I might be moving in the wrong direction crept into my mind. I
decided not to book accommodation in advance, as I preferred the
flexibility of taking pot-luck. Finding somewhere to sleep in the
Highlands was occasionally difficult and so I left plenty of time each day
to locate a place to stay. I considered camping, but not for long. Im a
bed and breakfast man. I do camp sometimes but only in good weather and in
places where I can return to the site easily. Im far too long in the
tooth for carrying a heavy pack and never much liked it when I was
younger. Camping is tremendous fun, cheap and you meet some super people
but at the end of a hard days walk there is nothing like a hot bath and a
I mentioned earlier that the story
is true; but is it? Certainly if the broad thrust of my version of the
tale is examined in terms of dates, battles and principal characters then
it is as true as the next writers. But the truth we perceive and hope to
understand depends on how events are portrayed. We need to learn not
simply the bare facts but the underlying motivation behind the action. We
ought to see what happened from more than one point of view. These truths
are more difficult to define. How did the ordinary soldier in the Jacobite
army feel? What of the motivation of the various commanders or the
attitude of the French? What were the reasons for the decision to retreat
from Derby? Could the Jacobite army have regrouped successfully after
Culloden? Who supported the Prince and why? There are endless questions
and even more answers. Although I have tried to throw a little light onto
events it is not within the scope of this book to delve deeply into these
subjective matters. There are dozens of books on the Forty-Five for those
who wish to further their knowledge and come to their own conclusions
about the rebellion.
Several factors may influence our
perception of these events 250 years ago. The tourist industry long ago
concluded that there is a lot of money to be made from the
Highlandisation of Scotland. Tartans, claymores, kilts, bagpipes and the
like are on everything from whisky bottles to tea towels. These images are
not only found north of the Highland line but throughout the country. The
Royal Mile in Edinburgh has never been a centre of Highland culture or
support but its shops are full of the stuff. The image of an masculine
Highlander with rippling muscles, struggling against the odds to maintain
his traditional way of life is an integral part of the hard sell. The
portrayal of the Jacobite risings as plucky but unequal struggles against
the English fits neatly into the mythology.
The marketing people have a field
day with the names Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald. If the
kilted Highlander is thrown into the melting pot and we view the rebellion
of 1745-46 through rose tinted spectacles, as we are encouraged to do, the
resulting image becomes endowed with a mysticism that sells huge
quantities of shortbread! Do we see the Bonnie Prince as a ruthless, vain,
despotic prince who believes in the divine right of kings and is willing
to sacrifice any number of people to achieve his ends? No we do not. We
see a young, handsome, almost angelic prince who, very nearly
single-handed, has come from afar to deliver his faithful Highlanders from
poverty and oppression and avenge the wrongful exile of his grandfather
king. In Flora, do we see a frightened young woman terrified of government
troops but compelled by the authority of her visitors and a misguided
sense of Highland hospitality to undertake her dangerous mission? Again we
do not. We are encouraged to see Flora as a romantic heroine, perhaps a
little in love with her handsome Highland prince. She is willing to risk
her life to protect him from the wicked English in the furtherance of a
desperate cause dear to her heart. The whole Flora MacDonald episode is
overblown in the popular faction version of the 45. True, the woman
played a useful role but she was only with the Prince for twelve days. Her
prominence is attributable to the perceived romantic involvement and
because she is one of only a few women to play active and significant
parts. Collectively these images play upon our thinking and may convince
us, without any good foundation, of the right of the Jacobite cause and
perhaps persuade us that the Princes supporters were all Highlanders.
It was in the British governments
interest to initially play down the importance of the Forty-Five and later
transmogrify the image of the Highlander from a rebellious savage into
that of patriotic British soldier fighting valiantly for freedom
throughout the world. The belittling and denigration of the rising
facilitated an atmosphere that precluded further unrest on behalf of the
Stuart dynasty and was deemed essential for decades. The Princes army was
portrayed as a hastily thrown together band of desperate men with little
training and no hope of success. Highland dress was forbidden and the
Highland way of life was depicted as flawed and dying in response to
challenges of the Britain so recently born out of the Act of Union. Thomas
Pennant, who was no Jacobite, made these comments during a tour of
Scotland twenty-three years after the rising.
The houses of the common people
in these parts are shocking to humanity, formed of loose stones, and
covered with clods, which they call devish, or with heath, broom or
branches of fir: they look at a distance like so many black molehills.
The inhabitants live very poorly, on oatmeal, barley-cakes and
potatoes; their drink whisky sweetened with honey. The men are thin,
but strong; idle and lazy, except employed in the chase, or anything
that looks like amusement; are content with their hard fare, and will
not exert themselves farther than to get what they deem necessaries.
When the threat of renewed Jacobite
activity was deemed to be over, the gradual rehabilitation of the
Highlander into mainstream Scottish and British life took place. Sir
Walter Scotts Jacobite novel, Waverley was published in 1814 and that
was followed by Rob Roy and other romantic Highland works. Caroline
Oliphant who was the daughter of a prominent supporter of Prince Charles
Edward wrote popular songs sentimentalising the Highlands in general and
the Prince in particular. Charlie is my Darling uncompromisingly
illustrates the interest in romantic Jacobitism.
Wi Hieland bonnets on their
And claymores bright and clear,
They came to fight for Scotlands right,
And the young Chevalier.
Oh, Charlie is my darling,
My darling, my darling;
Oh, Charlie is my darling,
The young Chevalier.
Theyve left their bonnie Hieland hills,
Their wives and bairnies dear,
To draw the sword for Scotlands lord,
The young Chevalier.
Queen Victoria continued the process
and gave the tartan a new respect and validity. The Forty-Five was coated
with a syrupy veneer and portrayed as a wild, impulsive, almost teenage
escapade. After all it was a long time ago, the Jacobites lost and the
monarchy and country were safe and prosperous. The establishment could
afford to be generous to a distant rebellion that no longer produced a
moments disquiet in the drawing rooms of England.
The 45 is frequently described as
either a rebellion against the legitimate British government of the day or
a rising by supporters of a wrongly dispossessed royal dynasty to recover
its rightful position on the throne of Great Britain. Sometimes the rising
is portrayed as an England v. Scotland contest as though it were a
football match. Clearly this is a simplistic and inaccurate representation
of the conflict. Although it cannot be denied that government support was
mostly English and Welsh while Jacobite support was mostly Scottish,
neither side drew their assistance exclusively from these sources. The
custom of referring to Prince Charles forces as the Highland army is
understandable but erroneous. Highlanders were the biggest single group in
the Princes army at all times and as the high points of the campaign
might be seen as the Battle of Prestonpans and the advance to Derby where
the majority of the marching army were Highlanders the popular description
may be excused. Prince Charles is partly to blame as he adopted Highland
dress as the standard uniform for his army, even providing the Manchester
Regiment with white cockades and tartan sashes. However, there were
English, French and Irish in the army and not a small number of Lowland
Scots. Gordon of Glenbucket and Lord Pitsligo each recruited several
hundred men from the Aberdeen and Banff regions where Episcopalianism,
with its concept of the indefeasibility of kings, was strong. Lord Ogilvy
produced 600 or so from Angus and John Roy Stewart led the Edinburgh
Regiment. The second line of the Princes army at Culloden contained more
Lowlanders than Highlanders. Rivalry between the Highland regiments in the
front line was intense and clansmen would take orders from their own chief
but not from any other. To resolve these difficulties overall command of
clan regiments fell to The Duke of Perth and Lord George Murray.
It is similarly incorrect to believe
that all or even most Highlanders supported the Prince, let alone did any
fighting for him. The memory of how previous Jacobite risings had ended
and the arrival of Prince Charles with almost no support did nothing to
convince clan chiefs that enthusiastically rallying to the Jacobite
Standard was a great idea. The chiefs of the MacDonalds and MacLeods of
Skye ignored the pleas for help, as did Lord Seaforth, leader of the
Mackenzies, despite the fact that his clan had been out for the
Jacobites in 1715. Indeed it can be argued that few of the western clans
came out en masse to support the Prince and it was not until the Jacobite
army entered Perth that its numbers matched those of the 15.
The popular image of the rising does
not encourage the casual observer to believe that the government attracted
much Highland support other than that raised by The Duke of Argyll and his
cousin General John Campbell of Mamore. However, Duncan Forbes who was the
most senior government officer in Scotland spent much time and energy
raising twenty independent companies of Highland militia composed of
MacDonalds of Sleat, MacLeods, Grants, Munros, Rosses and Gordons.
Finally, it is sometimes said that
more Scots fought on the English side at Culloden than for Scotland
and Prince Charlie. This is also untrue. Of the 9,000 men who fought
in the government lines at Culloden about 2,400 were Scots. These were
predominantly in three regiments: The Royal Scots (1st), Campbells Royal
Scots Fusiliers (21st) and Sempills Kings Own Scottish Borderers (25th).
In addition there were the Argyll Militia and Lord Loudens men. Of the
approximately 5,000 men fighting in the Princes lines most were Scots
with the notable exceptions of the Irish Piquets, the Manchester Regiment
and the Régiment Écossais Royaux.
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