Jacobite journeys: 6 places not to be missed
Whether you're a long-standing Jacobite enthusiast, or simply a lover of beautiful Scottish surroundings, planning a holiday or day-trip around the spots where Bonnie Prince Charlie once laid his head and supped his whisky, is a wonderful way to see the most scenic aspects of Scotland.
Here are six spots the young Prince travelled to in his brief stint here.
A visit to Eriskay offers everything you could hope for in a Hebridean holiday - spectacular views of the coast, wonderful wildlife, and an opportune spot to island hop across the Hebrides.
A Jacobite enthusiast, however, will know it as the spot where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed when he first arrived in Scotland in his bid to regain his family’s lost kingdoms. The beach he landed on is now known as Prince’s Beach, and myth has it that the flower sea bindweed grew as a result of seeds falling from the Prince’s pocket as he stepped ashore (almost certainly a flourish of poetic fancy, rather than factual).
A stroll along Eriskay’s magnificent tidelines will proffer the opportunity to spy corncrakes, short-eared owls, hen harriers and otters.
Salutation Hotel, Perth
Bonnie Prince Charlie entered into Perth something of a hero, resplendent in tartan, riding on a horse, with crowds lining the street to catch a glimpse of the man some believed to be the rightful heir to the British throne.
Taking quarters at the Salutation Hotel, he met with local gentry willing to join the Jacobite cause, attended Protestant church services in hopes of instilling tolerance towards Catholics, and made a visit to Scone Palace– the traditional crowning place of Scottish monarchs.
To this day, visitors can stay in the Prince’s room – number 20 – though it is claimed he didn’t get much sleep, instead meeting with his commanders to plan their march south.
You can’t, unfortunately, stay the night anymore in Linlithgow Palace - this Renaissance residence is a magnificent ruin. But you can and should visit this stunning country seat, located between Stirling and Edinburgh, steeped as it is in Scottish history and the Jacobite tradition. Mary, Queen of Scots and her father James V were born there, while Bonnie Prince Charlie visited on his march southward.
Tales have it the fountains ran red with wine in celebration of his visit. Situated by a loch, and on grounds simply brimming with wildfowl, this retreat makes for a wonderful day trip regardless of your interest in history.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
Having seized Edinburgh, Bonnie Prince Charlie enjoyed a busy six weeks in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse planning his campaign. For this time, he lived and acted as a monarch would.
In the morning he would conduct official business with the councils and in the evening entertain the most fashionable ladies in Edinburgh. He even took part in a ceremony called ‘Touching For the King’s Evil’ – whereby he ‘healed’ young children with scrofula.
You can visit the palace today, to see where he enjoyed arguably the greatest success of his time in Scotland, and view the very bed he slept in.
If our greatest fears lie in anticipation, then Bonnie Prince Charlie’s most anxious hours were spent at Culloden House (then Culloden Castle), where he hunkered down on April 14 1746 before the battle of Culloden. It provided the main base for the Jacobites as they planned their rebellion.
These days, you can stay in Culloden House – it is a very fine hotel – but Bonnie Prince Charlie’s room no longer exists. Nevertheless, you can dine on exceptional Scottish fare and sup on excellent whisky, provided by the Scottish Malt Whisky Society.
MacNab’s Inn, Portree
Perhaps one of the most notable heroines of the Jacobite story was Flora MacDonald, who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape the island of Benbecula despite her stepfather being commander of the local militia. She claimed to be motivated by charity, though romantic legends have attributed it more to heartsickness, suggesting she was swayed by quite how bonnie and charming Prince Charlie was.
Smuggling him by boat to the Isle of Skye (Charlie masquerading as an Irish maid), the pair are said to have had their final meeting in MacNab’s Inn, Portree.
Today, you can savour a locally made pint in MacNab’s (now part of the Royal Hotel) or warm your cockles with a nip of Talisker whisky, made on the island.
To learn more about the Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites trail, visit www.jacobitetrail.co.uk
And to be in with a chance to win a luxury six-night Jacobite Journey, visit www.jacobitetrail.co.uk/win