Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Funeral by Loch Ness

The redcoats stopped when they saw the funeral. A troop of six was escorting the bread wagon to Inverness and any gathering of Highlanders was worth a look in 1746 - there might be a wanted man, an illegal weapon. If nothing else, there was no harm in emphasising who controlled the food supplies, controlled the Highlands, following the Battle of Culloden earlier that year.

The ragged group around the coffin huddled closer, guarding what dignity remained to them. The priest looked up, paused and continued. Dismounted troopers were moving round for a better view. As they did so, an old woman swept a loaf of bread from the back of the cart into her dark shawl. Someone shouted. The woman ran. Troopers cocked their weapons. The funeral party dived behind gravestones. A shot rang out. Then another. Someone was hit…

It wasn’t a major incident in that incident-rich year. But it left its mark. Three marks in fact – the pits made by bullets on the gravestone of a James Fraser, buried in 1730.

It is not easy to bring the past to life, but last week my Outlander Tourists (fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books) were able to touch some little marks of conflict, unchanged, unrepaired, largely unnoticed since that fateful year of suppression.


Tina said...

Outlander is one of my favorites. Of course, if I ever get over there I'd have to visit that graveyard.

Do you have many Outlander tours? Our group here would love a holy grail tour.

Alastair Cunningham said...

We would love to show your group round the Outlander places. There are a number of evocative spots, not least the tomb of the 'Old Fox' himself!

More at but 2010 dates not yet fixed. How many in the group?