4,000 Year Old Graves and an 18th Century Battlefield: Clava Cairns and Culloden

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Welcome to Part Five of our Epic Highland/West Coast Road Trip series! Click here for one, twothree and four. 

Culloden Battlefield

After our quiet morning in Inverness, Casey and I hopped in our electric car and drove to Culloden Battlefield. Like the Killiecrankie Battlefield, this one was related to Jacobite uprisings in the 18th century where the Jacobites were terribly slaughtered by the government forces. You can see clan memorial stones all around the battlefield, commemorating the Highlanders that died.

Unlike a few of the stops on our way, this place is well-marked and right off the main tourist road. TIP: If you park in the first lot, it’s free, and if you just go look at the battlefield instead of the indoor exhibits, it’s also free. Otherwise you’ll pay a few pounds in parking and £11 for an adult (£8.50 for students). I can’t say whether or not that’s worth it because we chose the free wandering, but it has good reviews on TripAdvisor.

Another Tip: From the parking lot you’ll want to head straight and left. Don’t accidentally meander down the Culloden Battlefield Trail, because it takes you away from the battlefield and toward sheep (which you will see below, hehe).

Culloden Battlefield was wonderfully picturesque, albeit solemn. Even though it was already 10 a.m. by the time we arrived, it felt like early morning and was stunningly quiet. There were plenty of other tourists hustling about, but everyone kept a hushed, serious demeanor.

Clava Cairns

The Clava Cairns are only a few miles further down the road, but about 3,500 years older than Culloden. Casey was totally enthralled by the little fenced in graveyard, but you should anticipate giant piles of rocks. Although there’s a sign on the main road saying “this way,” you drive down a one way road that seems endless and winds downhill until finally arriving at an unassuming parking lot.

This spot is owned by Historic Scotland (we own membership passes, more on that in another post), but it’s free to enter regardless.

For reference sake, the Clava Cairns are between 500 and 1000 years newer than the Pyramids, and as far as epic graves go, let’s just say they aren’t the highest on the list. (Don’t tell Casey I said that, haha). That being said, these graves are tucked into stunning Scottish countryside and were originally full stone domes, so you just can’t go wrong with a brief, free visit.

So what do you think? Do you want to go?

Interested in the rest of our trip?

The Clava Cairns and Culloden Battlefield seem like really cool places in Scotland to visit!

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