In April of 1746 Culloden Moor was the scene of the last pitched battle fought on British soil, today the moor looks in even worse condition than it reportedly did then, when it was described as a barren and boggy field. Today there is a Visitor’s Centre (with the usual coffee shop and film show) where guided tours are both available and advisable, unless you know exactly what went on here, because the site really is just a field with some stones on it.
The battle itself, though politically significant, was little more than a bloody slaughter; the Jacobite Highlanders couldn’t have chosen a worse place to fight given that their traditional tactics meant a charge at the enemy on foot. Logistical mistakes in the run up to the battle had left them exhausted and hungry to begin with, when the tired Highlanders came within range of the guns of the government forces it was pretty much over in less than an hour.
Culloden is sometimes portrayed as a battle of Scots against the English, in fact there were more Scottish troops fighting on the government side than there was fighting for the Jacobites, whatever the make up of the opposing sides, the Jacobite cause pretty much ended here and the fallout on the Clans was equally devastating.
Unique Suggestions: The defeat of the Jacobites is particularly remarkable because they arguably had the Government on the run just a few months before the Battle of Culloden Moor. Had they not turned for home at Derby in December of 1745 British and even United States history might have turned out very differently indeed. See www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/inverness/culloden/
The history behind the battle is without doubt fascinating but whether or not the moor is worth a visit is debatable and may even depend on your genetic memory. I was taken to Culloden annually as a child by my Grand Mother who came from Highland stock and regarded the battle as almost a current event. To be fair I still get a lump in my throat when I come here, but others ask me if its ok for them to wait in the car and if you are pushed for time it may be as well to read about Culloden Moor rather than actually visit it.
Fun Alternatives: Work is currently going on to restore the battlefield to something like its original condition and to build a new visitors centre, which when finished will no doubt appeal to whose who like that sort of thing.
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This town is why Loch Ness is thought of as a tourist trap, together with the Jacobite buses which shuttle all the visitors down there.
Unique Suggestions: Don't write off Loch Ness!!! She is a great dark silvery monster of a place, and you'd be missing out if you never saw her. Go to the south side... Dores Foyers, Fort Augustus - its waaay better
Fun Alternatives: We took a trip with Canny Tours, which went to all the best places around the loch,
and way beyond into the mountains. It was a riot!
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Loch Ness Monster
Okay, I know that many people view Loch Ness as a tourist trap, but it's fun to go. I did, and I had fun. HOWEVER, there are two main Loch Ness monster exhibits. One is in this HUGE souvenir shop, and basically you pay $$ to see a crappy display (it looked like a 4th grade science project, seriousl) and a movie about the Loch Ness Monster. DO-NOT-PAY-FOR-THIS. It is the biggest rip-off I've ever experienced.
Unique Suggestions: If you are heading up to Loch Ness anyways, save your money and just go to the castle located on the loch. And if you must do something dealing with the loch ness monster, there is another Loch Ness monster exhibit, which is much more scientific. It was fun, with plenty of special effects that make it worth the money.
By Far the Most Common Tourist Trap in Scotland
Just look at the number of people putting Loch Ness down as the Tourist Trap of Scotland.
I'm sorry - people of Inverness and Drumnadrochit, whose economy is largely dependent upon propigating this myth and marketing the name Loch Ness - the truth is - there are many, many more beautiful lochs in Scotland. Even without the hords of tourists the natural countryside around Loch Ness isn't the best.
Unique Suggestions: At least try the South Side of the Loch.
Fun Alternatives: You can approach Loch Ness from the South West by Fort Augustus, a ok small village, also popular with tourists.
This tip won't win friends in Inverness, which tries to market itself as Loch Ness itself, yet it is miles from the Loch, just being where the River Ness flows into the sea.
Of course, there is still interesting things in this area, as any area has its interests, but Scottish Tourism is being damaged by promoting such an average place as its most celebrated tourist attraction. This just disappoints people (generally) and does the rest of Scotland a dis-service.
Tourism and global interests have moved on and Scotland's tourist industry people need to get going too. You cannot keep over charging a dwindling number of visitors, trying to wring a living out of the summer months. What can visitors do when its grey, dull, wet and windy? Drink themselves silly? Like the locals?
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Castle Urquhart stands on the...
Castle Urquhart stands on the shores of Loch Ness. It was overrun by the British in the Jacobite revolution and ordered destroyed so that it would not be used as a base against the British in the revolution of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
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