Before walking through the battlefield, visitors can watch a short four-minute film to get a better sense of what the battle was like. In the cinema room, four screens surround the viewers, each depicting the battle from a different perspective. Soldiers from both sides appear far across the field, and before long they are fighting. The fight takes place very close-up, from soldiers’ perspectives, and this loud, chaotic, and bloody film causes you to feel as though you are right there, the battle raging all around you.
Out on the field, now a burial ground, one can find stone markers for each of the clans involved in the battle and even one for the British side. One of the stones visible is that of clan Fraser, now a popular photo op because of the Outlander series. After hearing the story, watching the film, and viewing artifacts in the museum, I began to understand what this place means to the descendants of the brave soldiers who fought a battle they knew they would lose. Speaking with our tour guide Diana helped me to do so, as she talked about the lives of specific people.
A stone hut with a roof of thatched heather has been on the battlefield since before the battle took place. At one point it was the residence of the guide of the field, who was a descendant of a woman who lived down the road at the time of the battle. The now-refurbished walls of the tiny ancient hut saw the whole battle unfold and have stood their ground ever since.
Every year on April 16th, the anniversary of the fight, hordes of Highlanders from various clans parade down the path through the battlefield to a tall monument. Bagpipes are played as the procession moves through the field. A ceremony is held in remembrance as they pay tribute to their brothers who died so long ago. It must be amazing to visit this place as a Highlander, knowing that your fellow clansmen fought and died here for a lost cause, on the day that Highland culture changed forever. As an outlander, I can only do my best to understand, respect, and appreciate this beautiful reminder of a tragic day in Scottish history.