Follow in Young Pretender’s footsteps

Doune Castle, one of the sites included on the new Jacobite trail.
Doune Castle, one of the sites included on the new Jacobite trail.
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A new trail chronicling key sites connected with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites has been established by some of Scotland’s top heritage agencies.

The 25 sites, which cover the length and breadth of Scotland, include some of the most significant associated with the ill-fated attempt to restore the Stuart dynasty to the throne, from Glenfinnan where the Young Pretender raised his standard at the start of the Jacobite campaign to Culloden, where it met its bloody end.

A partnership between National Museums Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Royal Collection Trust and The National Trust for Scotland, it is hoped the initiative, which attracted £40,000 match funding from tourism agency VisitScotland, will increase the number of international tourists who are keen to explore that turbulent era of Scotland’s history, given its prominent portrayal in the hit television series ‘Outlander’.

VisitScotland’s funding will allow online videos and promotional material to be developed to reach a greater digital audience across the UK, while also tying in with the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

As well as including sites directly connected with the Young Pretender and the rebellion, National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh will between June 23 and November 12 host the biggest exhibition on the Jacobites in more than 70 years. This will include, among numerous other items, Charlie’s shield, sword and his travelling canteen.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “Scotland’s history and culture is one the top reasons for visiting Scotland and 2017 offers huge opportunities for the tourism industry and collaboration across sectors. Bonnie Prince Charlie is one of Scotland’s most enduring historical figures and we are delighted, through the VisitScotland Growth Fund, to support this collaborative campaign that will help visitors follow in his footsteps.”

David Forsyth, lead curator of the National Museum of Scotland’s exhibition, ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites’, said: “Our exhibition will present the best material there is – real objects and contemporary accounts and depictions – to present the truth of a story which is even more layered, complex and dramatic than the many fictional and romantic interpretations which exist in popular culture.

“Through this partnership, we are delighted to extend the exciting invitation to people to not only come here and see those real objects and hear that real story but also to travel the country and visit the places where many of these momentous events actually happened.”

Simon Skinner, National Trust for Scotland chief executive, said: “The Jacobite story is one of Scotland’s most complex, compelling and, ultimately, tragic tales. Through this partnership we hope to bring this important part of Scotland’s heritage to life for visitors at the sites where these events took place.”

Details about the campaign can be found at www.jacobitetrail.co.uk