Fort George Highlander’s Museum: A Look into 18th Century Scottish Military Life

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

After our visit to the Clava Cairns and Culloden Battlefield, Casey and I had grand plans to go see Cawdor Castle. Unfortunately, the castle closes to the public in October (it reopens this May) and the kind store-owner who gave us directions to a parking lot from where we could supposedly see the castle exterior, grossly underestimated how directionally-challenged Casey and I are.

So instead we headed to our next stop — Fort George.

Fort George

While making the itinerary for the trip, I honestly thought Fort George would be a brief stop and there wouldn’t be much to see. It is, you know, an 18th century military base. What all could be there?

I was very wrong! Here’s a snippet from VisitScotland:

Following the 1746 defeat at Culloden of Bonnie Prince Charlie, George II created the ultimate defence against further Jacobite unrest. The result, Fort George, is the mightiest artillery fortification in Britain, if not Europe.

Its garrison buildings, artillery defences bristling with cannon, and superb collection of arms – including bayoneted muskets, pikes, swords and ammunition pouches – provide a fascinating insight into 18th century military life.

Fort George is huge, and it’s still an active military base, believe it or not. I must admit, I was surprised there were no metal detectors on the way in, but I guess Scotland isn’t as paranoid as the U.S. is about these kind of things.

This was another “free to enter” place for Casey and I because we flashed our Historic Scotland passes (it’s £8.50/person without it) and even got a FREE handy-dandy audio tour…..Note to self: Don’t take the free audio tour.

Just kidding.

Honestly, if we had planned half-a-day to explore Fort George, we might have enjoyed the fun factoids blasting out of 90s-era headphones in a grand Scottish accent, but we were there to see and conquer. (Although you must know, if travelling with Casey, you’ll read every, single placard available 😉 hehe)

It was an extremely windy day, but the rain held off for most of our time at Fort George, which proved helpful since the majority of the things to see are outside. There’s an indoor Highlander’s Museum that has three stories of fantastic Scottish artifacts, but again, we only scuttled through.

My favorite part of this stop was the views — It’s located on the edge of the Moray Firth and if you’re patient, you might be able to see dolphins! (We didn’t…alas! 🙁 )

So should you go? Yes! The views are great and the history is cool — I’d just plan to stay for at least a couple hours, if not three, to really get your money’s worth out of it. Since we had our passes, I didn’t feel bad about us zooming past exhibits, but it’s always great to really take it all in if you’re going to bother to go!

So what do you think? Will you go?

Interested in the rest of our trip?

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