For those of you that have been to the memorial service on Culloden Moor let me first tell you the weather was glorious, so different from other years when coats and thermal underwear were the garments to wear. For those who have not been before or do not know of this event it is very colourful with people dressed in all sorts of garb from the conventional to the historical. Many clans and societies gather together at the memorial cairn on Culloden Moor on the Saturday closest to the anniversary of the battle (16th April) to pay their respects to the fallen and the hugely significant changes this defeat brought with the suppression of the Highland culture thereafter. And yet, it is not all sad – indeed it could be regarded as a celebration of the enduring qualities of Gaelic, tartan and the Highland culture that after a period of repression all things Highland were being celebrated again. The Gaelic Society of Inverness arrange the event and this year we had some traditional psalms sung in Gaelic. Very moving, and our flowers – white roses – looked lovely amongst the other wreaths with Cabarfeidh, as our President, doing the honours.
Then on to Drummossie Hotel with its lovely Art Deco style design for a soup and sandwich lunch organised by the Association of Highland Clans & Societies (AHCS). It was great to catch up with old friends and make new with the Chair and Deputy Chair of AHCS providing some good ‘craic’ i.e. banter. We were also given a little taste of what will be in store in Inverness the weekend of 12th – 14th September. If that weekend is free – keep an eye on the events diary! All I will say just now is Cabarfeidh is co-host, along with Inverness Provost, for some impressive Games in the Northern Meeting Park and there may be a Clan and Athlete torch light parade through the streets of Inverness as part of the Highland Homecoming. Watch this space!
And so to Castle Leod for our own memorial at the stone dedicated to all who fell at Culloden, whatever side – for as we know there were Mackenzies on both sides. A great big Thank You to Cabarfeidh and Lady Eve for a very delightful time in the hall at Castle Leod and although the day was fine the fire burning brightly was very welcome and the tea and cakes yummy. There was story telling, some spooky and some not and it was very stirring to listen to Cabarfeidh read the first hand account of his young ancestor and the lead up to the Battle of Falkirk Muir. It was so easy to image life in the castle when this would have been the norm and long before we became obsessed with our modern gadgets.
Article written for CMS by Margaret Saunders