Doubt and Uncertainty at the Corrieyairack Pass in August 1745

The old drovers’ 25 mile route across the Monadhliath Mountains through the Corrieyairick Pass was upgraded in 1731 by General Wade in the aftermath of the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion. But ironically its first military use was down to Wade’s opponents – the Highlanders led by Bonnie Prince Charlie in August 1745. And the weather ….

History tells us that if Cope, who had marched to Dalwhinnie on news of the Prince’s arrival, had taken the route himself across to Forts Augustus and William …. well, he might have frustrated the ’45 before it got much further than the Great Glen. But Cope had false intelligence that the Highlanders had already occuupied the Pass and were lying in wait for him. So, after summoning all his officers to council, they unanimously resolved in writing to head for Inverness then Aberdeen and thus back to the Lowlands by barge – rather than attempting to engage the enemy in the Pass.

Such a decision meant that the Prince could indeed slip behind Cope and reach Perth then Edinburgh before Cope could make his return to the capital.

Cope’s Council at Dalwhinnie and the Prince’s unimpeded transit across the Pass will both be recorded on the Prestonpans Tapestry. To ensure the necessary sign off, Trustees visited the west end of the Pass close by Fort Augustus climbing just a mile or two up to and beyond Cularchy House, as pictured below. They had Stephen Lord to guide and delight them as he recalled his own journey along the Prince’s route a decade earlier.

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Filed under Prestoungrange, Scottish History

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