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Scottish History - Ruthven Barracks, Kingussie, Scotland

Scottish History - Ruthven Barracks, Kingussie, Scotland

Ruthven Barracks  (photograph 1)With free admission Ruthven Barracks (shown left - click to enlarge) are well worth a visit, clearly signposted, Ruthven Barracks can be found on the B970 a mile south of the centre of Kingussie. Although there are few facilities there is an area opposite the footpath for car parking. Ruthven Barracks was built by General Wade as part of the infrastructure put in place by Government after the 1715 uprising to control the rebellious Scots.

Ruthven Barracks (photograph 2)The first recorded castle to be built here appeared in 1229. By 1371 it formed the centre of activity of Alexander Stewart (popularly knows as the Wolf of Badenoch), Lord of Badenoch, and younger son of Robert II. This first castle was destroyed in 1451, but was rebuilt as a much grander fortification by 1459. It was badly damaged by the Jacobites during the first uprising in 1689.

Ruthven Barracks (photograph 3)After the 1715 Jacobite uprising, the Government decided to tighten its grip on the Highlands by building four fortified barracks in strategic locations. Ruthven Barracks was levelled to make way for a new barracks, built by General Wade, the new building was designed to house 120 troops, split between two barrack blocks.

Ruthven Barracks (photograph 4)Improvements to the Scottish infrastructure increased the sites importance as military roads from Perth, Fort Augustus and Inverness, came together here. The mound overlooks the site of an ancient ford and ferry between it and today's Kingussie. This was one of the few crossing places of the middle reaches of the River Spey.

Ruthven Barracks (photograph 6)Ruthven Barracks (photograph 5)Ruthven Barracks were finally completed in 1721 but stables (to the west of the main building, shown above) were added in 1734 and were to house 28 horses for dragoons. In 1745 200 Jacobites tried to capture Ruthven Barracks which was defended by a force of just 12 redcoats. Commanded by a Sergeant Molloy, the redcoats fought off the Jacobites with the loss of just one man.

Ruthven Barracks (photograph 7)Ruthven Barracks (photograph 8)The barracks were finally taken in February 1746 when the Jacobites returned in much larger numbers and more suitably equiped with artillery. On the 17th April 1746, the day after the Battle of Culloden, as many as 3000 Jacobites retreated to the barracks to prepare for further battle.

Ruthven Barracks (photograph 9)Ruthven Barracks (photograph 10)Unfortunately Bonnie Prince Charlie had fled having left a message saying "Let every man seek his own safety in the best way he can.". With few options left the Jacobites set fire to the barracks and dispersed to avoid capture by the redcoats. Some hid for many years such as the famous Cluny MacPherson.

More details on the Clan Macpherson site


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