Day car tour route - East of Inverness
Take the B9006 from Inverness to Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre, We suggest you allow 2-3 hours to take in all that the National Trust for Scotland has included in this newly presented visitor experience (2008) A visit to the atmospheric battlefield is a must.
On 16 April 1746 the last battle to be fought on British soil took less than an hour to reach its bloody conclusion here on what is now known as Culloden Moor. It was not, as often portrayed, a battle between the Scots and the English: large numbers of Scots fought on the Government side while the Jacobite army included French units and some English Jacobites. Rather it was the last chapter in a sporadic civil war for succession to the British throne that had been under way since 1688
Culloden marked the end of a whole way of life, and the end of a meaningful clan system. Brutal reprisals and suppression of the Highlands followed with destruction of the Highland way of life. The way was thus opened for the Highland Clearances that started some decades later, when vast numbers of Highlanders were cleared off their land (many going to the Americas) by the landowners, to make room for more profitable sheep.
On leaving, turn right onto B9006 and drive for about 7miles to the crossroads, turn right onto B9090 following signs to Cawdor Castle. The magnificent stronghold of Cawdor Castle is an extremely popular visitor attraction, and with good reason. The story of Cawdor Castle is connected with William, 3rd Thane of Cawdor, who decided to build the castle. In 1370 he had a dream, which told him to load panniers of gold on the back of a donkey, and follow until it lay down, which it did, next to a tree.
Cawdor Castle is built around the hawthorn tree the donkey rested at, hence "The Hawthorn Room" in today's castle. Legend has it that the tree has magical qualities which have saved the castle on more than one occasion .
The castle also has a gift shop, a bookshop, a wool shop; an excellent restaurant in the castle itself. There is a snack bar near the car park. Visitors can wander at will through the walled garden, flower garden and wild garden. There is a picnic area, a 9 hole pitch and putt golf course, a putting green, a duck pond, an extensive area of natural woodland with a series of way-marked nature trails of different lengths from three quarters of a mile up to five miles.