The Bonnie Prince Charlie Ride
On the Bonnie Prince Charlie ride we ride through the countryside and visit places associated with the '45 rebellion when the Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart famously returned to Scotland to reclaim the throne that was rightly his. The Prince and his loyal Jacobite army of Highland clansmen marched South into England and came close to regaining the throne with famous victories at Prestonpans and Falkirk, taking Edinburgh and Carlisle and marching south as far a Derby. But fortunes changed as the expected support from English Jacobites was not forthcoming and funds began to run low, so the Prince pulled back into Scotland awaiting promised funds from France and Spain which never arrived. The final and most famous battle of all took place on Culloden Moor near Inverness, where the Princes army of near starving Highlanders met the Duke of Cumberlands men in a battle that saw both the Jacobite army and the Princes dreams of regaining his fathers' throne destroyed. The battle took less than an hour and it's aftermath changed the Highlands of Scotland and it's peoples' way of life forever.
The Prince fled from the battlefield and spent five months as a fugitive, running through the heather and hiding out in caves, sometimes being offered shelter by loyal Jacobites. He covered a huge amount of ground, never staying anywhere long and travelled as far as the Western Isles, where he was famously aided by Flora Macdonald, posing as her maid for his journey 'over the sea to Skye'. From Skye he returned to the mainland hiding out again in the hills, until he finally set sail for France, never to set foot on Scottish soil again.
Wherever possible, we try to faithfully follow the routes that the Prince took, however, this is a riding holiday and much of his flight through the heather was on foot as the ground was deemed unsuitable for horses, so we have chosen the best routes that can be ridden - if we cannot ride the exact route, we ride as close to it as possible!
We collect our guests in Fort William around lunchtime, then take you to Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standart on the 19th August 1745. We visit the monument and visitor centre, then head to our hotel for the night - the Princes House Hotel, which was an Inn, at the time of the uprising.
We are transported to the start of the ride at Fassfern, where BPC famously plucked a white rose from the gardens , putting it on his bonnet - the white cockade, the symbol of the '45 uprising. We ride along an old pony path, winding through the glen, following faithfully the route that BPC and the clans took to bypass Fort William.
We ride past Highbridge, where the first action of the uprising occured, then through Spean Bridge, to ride on old trails and forestry tracks, taking us to Luiblea, the entrance to the wild land where the Prince hid in Clunys Cage on Ben Alder.
We ride today through Ardvirikie Estate, famous nowadays as the setting for the Monarch of the Glen TV series.
Passing stunning Ardvirikie House overlooking Loch Laggan, we ride to the head of the Loch, site of the largest freshwater beach in Britain, then follow another old drovers route to leave the horses for the night at Garva Bridge, on General Wades road.
Today we head over the stunning 770m (2526 ft) Corrieyairack Pass. This high, lonely stone track was one of General Wades military roads and was famously taken by the Prince and his men on their march South, when his hopes of victory were still high. The views are stunning!
Leaving Fort Augustus behind, we join the South Loch Ness Trail, riding high onto Cumins seat - a 450m viewpoint, with stunning views in all directions. We continue along the South Loch Ness trail to our accommodation for the night at the Whitebridge Hotel, beside General Wades bridge. This is the way BPC would have ridden on his flight from Culloden
From Whitebridge, we continue on the South Loch Ness Trail and the Trail of the 7 lochs, riding high above Loch Ness, with stunning views all around. We descend into the forest on the Fair Headed Lads Pass to ride some lovely forest tracks with some nice long canters. We finish our ride at the East end of Loch Ness at Dores. Leaving the horses here we head to our accommodation for the night.
Unfortunately we are no longer allowed to ride the horses out onto Culloden Moor, so this morning we take you to by vehicle to visit Culloden Battlefield, where the hopes and dreams of so many Scots died along with the brave clansmen who fought so valiantly for Bonnie Prince Charlie. The moor has an air of sadness over it and is very atmospheric. We visit the graves of the clans and the well of the dead, before going inside to the visitor centre to walk around the exhibition, where many relics of the time are housed.
After our visit to Culloden, we will take you back to Inverness, from where there are good transport links to get you home.
The Bonnie Prince Charlie ride might also be of interest to any 'Outlander' fans, as our routes take in many sites referenced in this popular series of books by Diana Gabaldon.
Price: 1250 GBP
6 days riding, 7 nights accommodation, 2 days sight seeing - full board
The Bonnie Ride!
We also offer the Bonnie Prince Charlie ride without the PC bit! Same fantastic route, but without the visits to Glenfinnan and Culloden. See here for details Bonnie Ride
6 days riding, 5 nights accommodation, full board
Price: 1090 GBP
We will collect you from Fort William at around lunchtime on the day of the ride and take you to the start at Glenfinnan. After the ride has finished, we can transport you back to Inverness, from where there are good transportation links back to Fort William, or onwards.