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‘Historic battlefields need to be protected’ – calls for more protection for sites like Culloden on today's 275th anniversary of the historic Jacobite battle

By Ian Duncan

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Culloden battlefield.
Culloden battlefield.

Calls have been made for better protection of Scotland’s historic battlefields to coincide with today’s 275th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden.

Both the National Trust for Scotland (NST) and the Scottish Battlefields Trust want political parties to make such protection part of their pledges ahead of next month’s Scottish Parliamentary Elections.

Culloden has seen multiple planning applications for residential and holiday accommodation on the battlefield which still contains the remains of many of those who fell on April 16, 1746.

Stone cairns mark the clans who fought in the battle and the site remains a place of pilgrimage for the Scottish diaspora today.

NST has published a manifesto which outlines proposals for a number of battlefield locations across the country – including the site of the Jacobites’ last Highland stand on April 16, 1746 – in a new manifesto to include battlefields in the forthcoming National Planning Framework 4 (NFP4).

Raoul Curtis-Machen, operations manager at Culloden Battlefield which is cared for by NTS, said: “Everyone wants to protect the cultural crown jewel that is Culloden Battlefield, but the existing planning mechanisms are too weak.

“We averaged more than 300,000 visitors a year pre-Covid, and we work hard to keep the battlefield open and accessible 24/7. Yet we are frequently surrounded by planning applications for developments, and we struggle to defend against them all.

“Once development takes place on or right beside the battlefield, the fragile but powerful sense of place is shattered.

“Surely there is a strong, clear case for stronger legal protection for sites like this?”

The Scottish Battlefields Trust is also urging the various political parties to include protection for battlefields in their election manifesto pledges.

To mark the 275th anniversary of the battle, there will be a live broadcast from the historic site from 7pm today.

It will feature an interview with Diana Gabaldon, who is the best-selling author behind the Outlander series.

Related article: Author Diana Gabaldon to speak at Inverness Outlanders commemoration of the Battle of Culloden this Friday

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