We LOST the fight to stop the destruction of our Jacobite and Scottish History for future generations.

It is very hard to believe that Scottish Government Ministers believe “the sensitivity of the core of the battlefield where the fighting took place is inconsequential to the road plan”

In November 2022, Scottish Ministers have accepted the recommendations from the Reporter who conducted a so called 'independent' enquiry. Click here to see his full Report to Scottish Minister June 2022. The only point the Enquiry Reporter conceded -- is that it is "understandable" that we were concerned about the sensitivity of the core of the battlefield where the fighting was concentrated. However, that is inconsequential to the road plan because it is not a feature that has to be taken into account when assessing battlefield impacts. The core is not listed in the Inventory nor in the guidance that goes with it.

What the Enquiry Reporter appears to be saying, is because no one documented the area of hand to hand fighting, where many of the 2,500 men died, as important by including it in the Killiecrankie Battlefield Inventory, it is OK to destroy it. Surely wherever combatants die in conflict is important. Here some 2,500 died in a matter of minutes as they hacked away at each other after firing a volley of musket balls. It is very hard to comprehend the Enquiry Reporter's rational for this.

It is a VERY SAD day, we voted for the formation of a Scottish Parliament so decisions like this, could be made here in Scotland, for the benefit of the people of Scotland now and future generations. Can you imagine what would be said, if this decision was being made in the UK Parliament at Westminster? Our Jacobite history is of little or no consequence to those who govern Scotland. How sad is that?

Killiecrankie Battlefield looking towards the Pass of Killiecrankie

We set our the reasons we strongly contested Transport Scotland's flawed plans for the A9's new carriageway through Killiecrankie Battlefield. The battlefield is recognized by the Scottish Government as being of significant importance to the nation and recorded in Scottish Battlefield inventory by the nations protector of battlefield, Historic Environment Scotland.

Transport Scotland decided on the route through Killiecrankie Battlefield before all the archaeological information had been gathered assessed. Historic Environment Scotland's concerns over safe guarding the battlefield for future generations were over ridden by the road builder, Transport Scotland.

The Scottish Government has chosen not act on the very serious failures identified. They are quite content for the due ‘process’ to be followed, even if this result ends up destroying key parts of Killiecrankie battlefield for future generations.

Unfair Public Inquiry in January 2020 - A very one sided inquiry took place in Pitlochry. Transport Scotland hired the services of high paid highly qualified lawyers to argue their case. Whilst the locals of Killiecrankie, had no such access to professional support. It was very apparent this was all about winning the argument, not about what was best for protecting Killiecrankie Jacobite history.

Students tour the Killiecrankie Battlefield

Why is Transport Scotland proposing to build a road through Killiecrankie Battlefield?

A bit of detail the back ground.

What is going on?

The Scottish Government rightly (in our opinion) decided the A9, from Perth to Inverness should be a dual carriageway. We have no argument with that. It is long overdue and will make the road much safer.

How the route was chosen?

Scottish Government Red Coat Soldiers in the Pass of Killiecrankie

Transport Scotland the Scottish Government’s road builder and its sub-contractor Jacobs Construction have to follow a process with any infrastructure project. This process involves consultation with many state bodies that are there to protect the environment, the battlefield and the archaeology. These discussions took place behind closed doors, with no involvement from the local community. We had to trust that Historic Environment Scotland had all the powers necessary for the protection on this historically significant battlefield. The 'process' dictates that early in the project they make a decision on the route.

Transport Scotland decided to put the new carriageway to the south (downhill) of the existing A9 road. This was the cheaper option, fulfilling their remit to keep expenses to a minimum.

Serious problems identified.

 The first A9 Killiecrankie Battlefield protest

We, realized that there were very serious issues with the preferred option chosen by Transport Scotland, despite raising these concerns with Jacobs/Transport Scotland it was obvious there were not going to take any notice of our comments. So on the 22nd April 2017, we the people of Killiecrankie mobilize ourselves.

Failures in Battlefield Protection Legislation.

We had misguidedly understood that the Scottish Battlefield Protection would ensure the route would be chosen to ensure the least amount of damage to the battlefield. We had expected a properly rationalized argument being put forward by Transport Scotland as to how and why they chose the route. There was no such plan of rational.

So we started digging to try and see what exactly had been discussed at the planning of route stage with Historic environment Scotland. It became apparent that Historic Environment Scotland the public body whose job it is, to protect our battlefields has no teeth. Despite their protests throughout the process Transport Scotland chose to ignore their advice with impunity. All they were required to do, according to the 'process' was consult, there was no obligation for them to comply with Historic Environment Scotland's requirements to protect the battlefield. Transport Scotland held all the trump cards, their decisions over ruled what anyone else has to say.

Understanding the destruction of Killiecrankie Battlefield.

 Understanding the destruction of Killiecrankie Battlefield

The failure of the public bodies to to protect our Jacobite battlefield, we have addressed the issues that they failed to do.

Public agency battlefield tours - We invited the public bodies to actually visit the battlefield. We were very surprised to discover that many had never been, yet they had made decisions that would impact this very important battlefield for generations to come. To prepare the battlefield for these visits we very crudely marked out what we believe was the battle line along which General Hugh McKay the Scottish Government army commander lined his Regiments to oppose the Jacobite Highland Clans. We expressed our concerns that Transport Scotland's route was proposing to destroy, important parts of the battlefield.

Public meeting and presentations – We invited our politicians and Government Ministers to presentations and debate with Transport Scotland. We clearly identified the issues. We were able to persuade Transport Scotland to carry out further work to answer some of the issues, including putting right poorly conducted archaeology in the first phase of the process.

Transport Scotland remained committed - Transport Scotland altered the design of the road to reduce the impact on the battlefield.

Ignored First Hand Accounts of the Battle by Transport Scotland.

 Red Coat Soldiers firing firelocks

Two important facts ignored that General Hugh McKay, the Scottish Government Commander tells us – General Hugh McKay, the commander of the Scottish Government army left us a very detailed account of the battlefield and his tactics that day.

He told us:-

  1. 1. Exactly where the Scottish Government Regiments stood that day to fight the Jacobite Highland Clans. Using archaeology and McKay's account we have now been able to establish the line of the Scottish Government Red Coat army on the battlefield.
  2. 2. He ordered his troops to fire when the highland clans were 100 paces or 80 metres from the government regiments. So we know exactly where the killing fields were. Where many of the 2,000 people that day lost their lives.
  3. It is very clear that Transport Scotland did not do their homework on this, when they decided where to position the new dual carriageway. At the public inquiry they presented information that they constructed specifically to defend their decision. For the first time they put forward their analysis of where the Scottish Government Battle Line was. It is very clear to anyone who knows anything about the battlefield, their battle line just does not stand up to scrutiny. It was clear that no one in Transport Scotland had read and understood the primary sources of information left to us in General Hugh McKay’s detailed account of the battle.

Jacobite facts as left to us by Cameron of Locheil. - Cameron of Locheil was the Chief of Clan Cameron, also left a detailed account of the battle. Bonnie Dundee the Jacobite commander was killed at the battle, Cameron of Lochiel was his right hand man. So this is another excellent source of information.

Highland Jacobite ClansmenLochiel tells us of the destruction and death in a crucial area that Transport Scotland plans to destroy. It is, where half his clans folk lost their lives. It is where Two Men in the Trench (Tony Pollard and Neil Oliver) identified as the place the final volley was fired in to the charging clansmen. We arranged a piper playing a lament from 1689 to walk the ground where all these Clan Cameron men lost their lives.

Cameron of Locheil tells us how he visited this area of the battlefield the day after the battle. How he and his fellow highlanders were shocked at the devastation, "to view the field of battle, where the dreadfull effects of their fury appeared in many horrible figures. The enemy lay in heaps almost in the order they were posted; but so disfigured with wounds, and so hashed and magled, that even the victors could not look upon the amazeing proof of their own agility and strength without surprise and horrour. Many had their heads divided into two halves by one blow; others had sculls cutt off above the eares by a back stoke, like a night-cap. Their thick buffe-belts were not sufficient to defend their shoulders from such deep gashes as almost disclosed their entrails." And The Highlanders, payed dear enough for their victory; but it was remarked that few or none were killed after they drew their swords, and that the greatest part of them fell within a few paces of their enemy when they received the last fire," Jacobite Clansmen and targesThe spelling is Cameron of Lochiel's.

We have tried and Failed to stop this destruction of Killiecrankie Battlefield, the Scottish Government didn't listen.

Thank you everyone who tried to help stop this destruction.

Killiecrankie Battlefield.
Clan Cameron's story remembered on Killiecrankie Battlefield

Through first hand accounts of Clan Cameron Chief, Cameron of Locheil we follow the before and after of what happened to Clan Cameron.

Each month we produce a new Story from Killiecrankie Battlefield, based on Killiecrankie, the battlefield, Jacobites and history. Join our monthly mailing list at the bottom of the page.

Discovering Killiecrankie battle Line, where the red coat soldiers lined up and all the fighting took place

Using the archaeology from the A9 Transport Scotland work, we are able with a high degree of certainty work out where the Scottish Government Red Coat arm stood and hence where all the fighting took place.