Drumossie Muir is always an atmospheric place to be regardless of what time of day one happens to be there, but at midnight the atmosphere seems to be extra special. It is funny because as the service takes place so late into the night I always expect a handful of people to turn up, but I am always surprised to see turnouts actually increase each year, with this year being no exception.
Being one of the first to arrive at the cairn to light the fires it’s quite ghostly when you see people appearing out of the darkness and hear far off voices crossing the battlefield.
The night was reasonably warm with the moon high in the sky, Ted Christopher set up his gear as more people arrived at the cairn. We started the commemoration bang on midnight, when you are standing at the cairn looking outwards to the crowd it is quite hard to see who or how many are actually standing in front of you regardless of the night being illuminated by the flames of the fires.
The opening words gave an insight to the cairn itself of how it was just the inscribed stone at the base of the cairn which stood alone 23 years prior to the cairn itself being erected in 1881. The words of the engraved stone were emphasised stating that the people who died on the field died for Scotland then Prince Charles, intimating that Scotland was their main reason for fighting rather than the Jacobite cause of the reclaiming of the British throne. Absent friends were also remembered particularly our close friend David R Ross who attended annually.
Gary Stewart newly appointed Vice Convener of the Society of William Wallace was invited to speak representing the Society. He gave an excellent speech giving his view on what those who fell during the 45 campaign were fighting for.
As per tradition all in attendance were invited to take the microphone to say a few words or sentiments, but unlike years past no one took up the offer.
No Culloden commemoration would be complete without Ted Christopher adding to the event. Ted sang his heartfelt song “Freedoms Flame” specially composed for the occasion.
In addition Ted played a recording of “Scots Wha Hae” although not a song from the period, this was played in remembrance of David R Ross, as already mentioned a close friend to those in Crann Tara.
The service came to a close with a poem from the period read by Brian Johnson then a minutes silence and a pipe lament.
Thanks to those who took part and those who attended particularly the Ecossais Royal who made the long journey from France.