The event began at Old Blair car park the usual meeting place for the start of the walk, the weather was dry and the sun was out.
Before the walk commenced there were short accounts given of John Grahame of Claverhouse and his involvement by Kenny Borthwick and Andrew Murray Scott . We then headed off from the car park under the Old Wades Bridge only a few hundred yards from the car park. As you reach the road junction which branches off to Blair Atholl, you veer left to begin the long arduous climb to where we cross the farmer’s fields. As you cross the fields, ruined buildings of once populated crofts come into view and the spectacular view of the distant hills beyond the Killiecrankie Pass as well. At this point it is down hill all the way crossing fields containing cattle and sheep until you come in to view of the A9, historically this was the main road between Edinburgh and John O Goats and has been called the “Spine of Scotland”, although during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s it was substantially rebuilt and cuts right through the heart of the battlefield. Over looking the busy traffic below commuting between Perth and Inverness a brief account of the battle was given by Kenny Borthwick.
For a bit of fun we re-created the highland charge down the hill side towards the A9 road below. The cars and buses blasted their horns in recognition of what we were doing, it must have been an intimidating sight from the road to see us all standing with the numerous flags and banners on the hill side.
Reaching the bottom of the hill we used the under pass and headed towards Urrard House where a commemoration stone is located within the grounds, this marks the approximate spot where Claverhouse was mortally wounded. At the cairn we held a service which included respects to the fallen from both sides, Andrew Murray Scott summarised the Life of John Grahame of Claverhouse and a patriotic speech was given by David R Ross before wreaths, flowers were laid, a minutes silence and musket salute brought the service to a close.
From the grounds of Urrard House we made our way to the Kirk of Saint Brides within the grounds of Blair Castle where we held a second service, this time to John Grahame of Claverhouse [ Bonnie Dundie].
Passing through the Castle grounds towards the Kirk we attracted the attention of all the tourist who were intrigued by our appearance, the majority follow the march to the Kirk and pack in. With the wee Kirk packed to the gunnels, the service proceeded.
This year Jim Wilson from supporting group Clann Gaidhealach was invited to come forward to lay the wreath on behalf of Crann Tara and father Bill. Bill sadly passed away last year, last year’s Killiecrankie was the last event he attended and he is sadly missed by all the members of Crann Tara as he attended the annual event every year.
The service ended with a musket and pistol salute followed by a one minute of silence.
Additional to the commemoration group member Kenny Borthwick romantically went down on one knee to propose to his wife to be Topsy.
As Kenny’s hero is John Grahame of Claverhouse he realised this was the appropriate spot for such an important proposal. Forgot to mention Topsy accepted the Kenny’s proposal.
SPECIAL THANKS – CONGRATULATIONS & SENTIMENTS
To David R Ross & Andrew Murray Scott for giving up their time to attend and say a few words as part of the commemoration, without guys like you these events wouldn’t be the same.
Congratulations on behalf of all members of Crann Tara to both Kenny & Topsy not only for their future wedding, but for the new addition to the family which is on its way.
Sentiments in memory of Bill Wilson on behalf of all Crann Tara members for a man who lived as a nationalist and died as a patriot. Who attended numerous events for the sole issue of promoting and preserving the culture, history and heritage of Scotland.
A man who will be sadly missed at the annual event at Killiecrankie.
By Jim Singer