To the ancient site of the crowning of Scottish kings at Scone we went and to the Cathedral and castle ruins of St. Andrews. The spots of the executions of the first fruits of the Reformation, Patrick Hamilton and George Wishart, still lie by the college doors, a mute testimony to the spread of the Gospel by men who gave their lives in the 16th Century. We gathered around the grave of the great Samuel Rutherford, author of Lex Rex, a book that articulated the principles of liberty and defiance of those who would build tyrannical government in opposition to the Law of God.
Our first week ended with the usual blessed time of feasting and fellowship and recounting the Grace of God in history.
Week 2: Highlands
Several of our pilgrims returned home and were replaced by new ones for the tour of the Highlands. We parted company with Old Reeky and drove by coach to the historic city of Inverness. The Second best known battle in Scottish history occurred at “Culloden.” The last great rising of clansmen, a mere shadow of former glory, in defense of the Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and his claim to the throne, resulted in the destruction of the Jacobite army by a coalition of English and Scottish troops. That unique battlefield is commemorated by clan stones, flags, and a cairn monument—all decidedly favorable to the rising clans. In fifty years afterward Sir Walter Scott would turn the rebels into colorful mythological creatures of song, poetry, and nostalgia. Alba gu brath!
Our second stop brought us to Fort George, still an active military post currently housing a battalion of the Black Watch, one of the most storied regiments of Scotland and the museum of the Queens own Highlanders (how would you like to own your own highlanders?). The Fort contains all the classic elements of a state-of-the-art 18th Century fort: bastions, redoubts, casemates, bunkers, ravelin, drawbridge and moats in really nice condition since no one ever tried to test them in battle. It is a fort locked in time, unused but for drill.
Another beautiful drive brought us to two more lovely spots of war and mayhem, Urquhart Castle and Glencoe. The castle ruins are among the best known in Scotland since they sit above Loch Ness near the serendipitously named town of Drumnadrochit, and was fought over numerous times throughout history by the Earl of Ross MacDonalds and the Douglas Clan. The trebuchet outside the walls hearkened to the medieval times before artillery turned castles into inelegant piles of rock and dust. Our touring pastor took a dip in Loch Ness and did not see any untoward reptiles cavorting about the loch.