Thursday, April 16, 2009


Today has the decidedly somber honor of being the 253rd anniversary of the Battle of Culloden. This cataclysmic defeat of the Jacobite army, which marked the end of the clan system, left upwards of a thousand Scots killed outright, and countless others driven into hiding while the army of the Duke of Cumberland sacked and burned their homes and outlawed their customs.

Least this entry end on an entirely depressing note, I will mention one of the survivors of the tragedy--the enterprising Iain Ruadh StiĆ¹bhart, or in English, John Roy Stuart. He was, besides a soldier, a fine poet in Gaelic, and rumor has it, a piper as well. As you can read at the page above, the Alan Breck Stewart of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped is believed to have been based somewhat on John Roy. Regardless of what he may or may not have inspired, his life reads like an adventure novel; the chapter about him here is well worth a look. (And, it would appear, he should get some credit for being a drummer, as well!)

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