If it's not been done yet, then doubtless someone will at some point devise a "Bonnie Prince Charlie Way", a long distance walk following in the footsteps of Charles Edward Stuart during the 1745 Jacobite uprising and after the Jacobite's final defeat at the Battle of Culloden.
Such a walk would be a truly epic undertaking. It would cross Scotland to Edinburgh then head as far south as Derby in England before turning back on itself and returning to Scotland. It would then head north to a disastrous climax at Culloden, before zig zagging repeatedly across the most remote parts of the Highlands, exploring Benbecula in the Western Isles, crossing from there "over the sea to Skye", and returning to the Highlands.
OK, it's hardly a serious proposition, not least because long distance walks should go TO somewhere, and after Culloden, Bonnie Prince Charlie was mainly trying to keep one step ahead of the government troops looking for him.
But the point is this: if anyone were to devise a walk that followed in Bonnie Prince Charlie's footsteps, it would have to finish (and, arguably, also start), at the cairn shown distantly in the middle left of the header photograph. This is where the Prince boarded a French ship on 20 September 1746, leaving Scotland for good. By coincidence it is also very close to the spot where he first landed on the Scottish mainland on 25 July 1745, though two days earlier he had landed on Eriskay in the Western Isles.
Bonnie Prince Charlie is one of the most evocative characters to emerge from Scottish history. He is also one of the most controversial. On the one hand he could be said to have been seeking to restore an ancient Scottish dynasty to its rightful place on the thrones of Scotland, England and Ireland. On the other he could be said to have been interested only in regaining the English crown, and to have used (and arguably abused) the Stuart's traditional support among many of the Highland clans to provide a means to this end. However you look at it, in the aftermath of the 1745 Jacobite uprising, the Highland way of life that had existed for hundreds of years was swept away by brutality, suppression and self interest.
On the whole, Scots are inclined to give Charles the benefit of the doubt, and today his memory is perhaps best reflected by the imposing Glenfinnan Monument, 11 miles to the east of the Prince's Cairn, marking the place where he raised his standard and launched the uprising on 19 August 1745.
The irony is that although the '45 ended in disaster at the Battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746, Charles had in the meantime come very close indeed to taking the crowns he sought. His army reached Derby on 6 December 1745, before retreating after a closely argued meeting in the upstairs room of a Derby pub. Meantime, the Hanoverian court was packing its belongings onto ships in the Thames. Had Charles advanced, George II would probably have fled, leaving Charles' father as James VIII of Scotland and III of England. Some say that if this had happened the English and French would have avoided a further 70 years of conflict; the English would not have had to raise taxes in the colonies to pay for the French wars; the Americans would not have had cause to fight a war for their independence; and the French revolution might not have happened. The world would be a very different place.
The Prince's Cairn stands on the shore of Loch nan Uamh and was placed here by the 1745 Association on 4 October 1956. It is well signposted from the A830 and reached down a short track from it. Parking is available in a large layby a hundred yards or so to the west.
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Grid Ref: NM 720 844