Page last updated at 23:07 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 00:07 UK

Battle centre 'debunks' romance

Culloden Battlefield visitor centre
The centre has interactive exhibitions and displays

The new Culloden Battlefield visitor centre tries to "debunk" some of the romance and misunderstandings surrounding the clash.

Alexander Bennett, National Trust for Scotland's Culloden project co-ordinator, said some thought it had been Scotland versus England.

But he said: "It very much wasn't. It was very much the Jacobites versus the Hanoverian king."

The centre has been officially opened on the battle's 262nd anniversary.

Mr Bennett said: "The vast majority of our visitors are from overseas and they are coming here as a pilgrimage.

"There is obviously a huge respect from overseas visitors for what happened here in Scotland and for Scotland itself."

He said there was a "very romantic tale" surrounding the Jacobite's Bonny Prince Charlie and his defeat at the battlefield near Inverness.

Mr Bennett said: "We are trying to debunk a little bit of that romance here at Culloden, but also to put right some wrongs."

Scott Hay, 11, from Kincraig, and Philip Nicol, six, of Inverness, were to attend Wednesday afternoon's opening ceremony.

The pair are descendants of soldiers who fought in the battle.

Philip said: "My dad has been researching our family tree since I was born and I'm really interested in who our ancestors were,"

Scott said he was delighted to be named as one of the winners.

He added: "I've always been fascinated by the history of the Jacobites and I found researching my family tree really interesting."

IT problems

The trust said the project was the largest construction scheme the trust had ever undertaken.

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Preview of the Culloden Battlefield centre

To mark the opening, a piper will play on the battlefield for one hour - the duration of the battle in which 1,500 people lost their lives.

The centre aims to offer a new level of understanding of what happened on 16 April 1746 and how this led to a change in the Highland way of life.

Other opening events include a tour of the battlefield to highlight the archaeological work which has helped uncover some of the valuable artefacts which feature in the new exhibition.

It had been planned to open the 9m centre last April, but it was beset with IT problems.


SEE ALSO
Battle hunt finds Red Coat link
10 Apr 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Culloden centre opens its doors
20 Dec 07 |  Highlands and Islands
IT delays for battlefield centre
15 Nov 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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