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A Walk In Culloden Wood

Culloden Wood St Marys WellI took Branston for a walk in Culloden Wood this week as a treat as he loves being able to explore new places. We’ve done the short walk there before as it was winter and quite muddy but this time as it has been dry I thought we could do the longer walk.

The wood is located at Culloden which is just a few miles from Inverness and has been managed by the Forestry Commission, who have their Inverness College Scottish School of Forestry sited there, since 1926. The woodland has mostly conifer trees including Douglas Fir, Scots Pine and Norway Spruce but the Forestry Commission plant broadleaved trees such as Birch, Beech and Alder to add to the beauty and conservation of the wood.

The two walks at Culloden Walk are the short Red Walk which is 0.25 miles and the longer Yellow Walk which is 1.5 miles. The Red Walk is an easy walk and the Yellow Walk is rated as moderate although the ground is easy to walk on and only requires a little more effort when walking up an incline.

As we took the Yellow Walk we followed the markers along the path amid the massive Douglas Fir trees to the bridge over the railway track the runs from Inverness to Perth. The old bridge is impressive and obvious it has been  there for a great many years. As we walked beside the railway line a passenger train passed by and then shortly after a freight train thundered along the tracks too. The sound was such a contrast to the tranquility it replaced and once faded into the distance the peace returned with no other sound except the songs of the birds.

Clootie Well at Culloden WoodWe crossed the bridge over the crossroads and followed the path straight on to St Mary’s Well which is also called the Clootie Well. I’ve walked in the wood next to the Clootie Well at Munlochy on the Black Isle and have posted about it previously. Pagan and Christian traditions merge at St Mary’s Well – legend has it that if you visit on the first Sunday in May to dip your cloot (a rag) in the well and tie it to the tree it will bring you good luck, cure illnesses or keep evil spirits away. The rag has to be made of natural fibres as the the ailments or troubles are transferred to the tree when the rag has rotted away. Non biodegradable material will not rot so the transfer to the tree will never happen.

Further along the path is the Prisoners’ Stone which is almost hidden from view by the trees and dates back to the time of the Battle of Culloden. History states that on 17 April 1746, the day following that of the battle,  seventeen Jacobite prisoners were shot by a group of the victorious Government Troops. The ghosts of these Highlanders are alleged to have been seen both here and by St Mary’s Well.

From here we went left and then first right to the railway underpass. Following the road above the houses led back to the car park. A very enjoyable walk but neither of us saw any ghosts!!