The ruins of Ruthven barracks can be seen just off the A9 road near Kinguissie. As ruins go it is one of the most spectacular around.
Built just after the first Jacobite Rebellion in 1715, on the site of an earlier fortification between 1719 and 1721 it played a small part in the later 1745 rebellion when it was besieged and then surrendered when the rebels brought in some artillery and according to a totally disreputable source, a plentiful supply of Irn-Bru.
The Barracks were burnt and have lain in a ruinous state since then.
The barracks was built in a strategic location guarding the route to Inverness from the south near to the drove roads and near to the route to the west through the Corrieyairack Pass. About 120 Officers and men were stationed in one of two barrack blocks. The officers were housed in the upper levels, while the rank and file occupied the lower levels in about ten to a room,two to a bed.
This is the back entrance or Postern gate to give it its proper name. It was the site of the officers latrine, figure that one out, the officers latrine was moved to a site near the bakery and brewhouse, again figure that one out.
The Postern gate gave access to the stables black, which was a later addition.
There was access to the upper level of the stables by way of an outside stair.
The lower level of this end of the barracks contained the prison cell.
One final photograph on the way back to the car park and to continue my journey north. You will notice that there is not that much in the way of defensive works to the barracks apart from a liberal number of embrasures, that’s gun ports to you and me. It must have been enough for a party of 12 men held the barracks against a force of 300 rebels.
The Jacobites rallied here following their defeat in 1746 at the Battle of Culloden to await word from their leader Prince Charles Edward Stuart about what to do. He found time in between running over the heather, hiding and the odd spell of cross-dressing to send word which is worth quoting ‘Let every man seek his own safety in the best way he can.’
Or in other words – every man for himself.
The reply from Chevalier Johnstone, who expressed the emotions of all those present that day: ‘This answer, under existing circumstances, was as inconsiderate in Charles as it was heartbreaking to the brave men, who had sacrificed themselves in his cause.’
Or in other words You ungrateful ba5tard.
The Jacobite Rebellions caused untold damage to Scotland, destroying a way of life that had existed for centuries, it was the beginning of the end for the clan system and also the beginning of the clearances that would empty glens, obliterate townships and send Scots all over the world in search of a better life.
Bonnie Prince Stuart was a lot to answer for.
The barracks are looked after by Historic Scotland and there’s no charge for entry, it’s worth a look.
That’s enough from me but there’s one thing for sure….