Published: 05/01/2012 01:35 - Updated: 05/01/2012 10:22

So... where did the Jacobites park their cars?

Written byBy Alex Johnston

A Jacobite and Redcoat fight over a parking space (possibly). Picture: Gary Anthony
A Jacobite and Redcoat fight over a parking space (possibly). Picture: Gary Anthony

AS another year comes to a close, and Highland tourist destinations prepare to endure the eerie quiet season, memories of tourists flooding in from all corners of the world in the summer sunshine can all but disappear.

However, less easily forgotten are the daft, strange or awkward questions staff at Highland visitor centres deal with throughout the busy season.

With such a high number of places to visit, including sites of battles and future-shaping events which took place across the region over the centuries, visitors could be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed.

However, the history and importance of Culloden ?Battlefield is frequently lost on more confused tourists, with many missing the point completely.

Battlefield visitor centre learning manager Katey Boal said: "Our visitors ask these types of questions on a regular basis in the summer months.

"Culloden Battlefield is all about distilling myths so we let them know what they have said is not the way it was, and let them know what really happened, because the truth can be far more interesting than the fiction."

1 "Where did Mel Gibson stand during the battle?"

This star-hunter failed to grasp that Mr Gibson, who played William Wallace in 'Braveheart', was portraying a figure famous for leading troops into a battle 470 years before that at Culloden was fought, and also 150 miles away, at Stirling Bridge. Even worse, the visitor was unaware that Mel Gibson is an actor, but wore a blue face all the time.

2 "Are you Bonnie Prince Charlie?"

A patient staff member was forced to keep a straight face, while, in Redcoat costume, they were asked: "Are you dressed as Bonnie Prince Charlie?" The simple answer: "No, madam, I am dressed as a government soldier." A weaker understanding of the basics of the battle may be difficult to find.

3 "Where's Jamie Fraser?"

One visitor was bitterly disappointed to discover that Jamie Fraser, lead character from Diane Gabaldon's novel 'Cross Stitch', is fictional. Yes, the setting and action of the novel was based on Culloden, but no, Jamie Fraser is not a real person.

4 "Are the Jacobites fighting today?"

The visitor who asked this was possibly expecting more action and live sequences for their entrance money, or else suspected a renegade Jacobite presence in today's British Army,

5 "Where did the Jacobites park their cars?"

Possibly the best dumb question ever. Sadly, the notion of chronology and industrial progress had obviously completely flown over this person's head.

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