Hundreds attend Culloden service

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KNOYDART — Jeff Williams thought it was time to attend the annual Battle of Culloden service this year.

Williams was accompanied by his daughters Charlotte and Lauren, and they were among several hundred people who attended the event.

“It’s amazing, the amount of history here,” he said. “It’s my first time here. I live just up the road.”

It was a nearly typical cool, windy, partly cloudy day at the site where three survivors of the battle who settled in the area — Angus MacDonald, Hugh MacDonald and John MacPherson — are among those buried there.

Carol Ann MacKenzie emceed the event and recalled a time she travelled to Scotland and toured the grounds where the battle took place and the cairn similar to the one at Knoydart commemorates Scots who fought and died there.

“What I was not prepared for was the overwhelming grief I felt,” she said.

Prayers were offered in English by Brian Dunn, Bishop of the Diocese of Antigonish, and by Peter MacKenzie in Gaelic. MacKenzie was also guest speaker at the event that followed at Lismore hall.

Bill MacVicar explained the stone that now lies at the site to mark what is called the Mill Brook Pioneer Cemetery.

He noted how much of the area’s history was lost in a fire that destroyed a church in Bailey’s Brook.

The service commemorates the brief and bloody battle won by the British Army against Highland Scots on April 16, 1746. Historians recall how the Duke of Cumberland, who commanded the British forces, had the Scottish wounded slain with those who already died in the battle.

The battle virtually ended attempts by the Jacobites, followers of James Edward Stuart, to return the Stuart dynasty to the throne of England.