The Old Leanach Cottage in Scotland holds a poignant place in history, believed to be the only remaining building from the infamous Culloden Battlefield in 1746. On April 16, 1746, the final Jacobite Rising climaxed in a brutal battle between Jacobite supporters and government troops led by the Duke of Cumberland. The battle lasted less than an hour, resulting in the death of around 1,500 men, with over 1,000 of them being Jacobites. Culloden Visitor Centre, situated beside the battlefield, offers a richly researched and sensitive portrayal of the conflict, featuring artifacts and interactive displays.
During the battle, a similar cottage stood on the current spot of Leanach Cottage, serving as a field hospital for Government soldiers. The current cottage features thatching made from heather collected from the battlefield, while its walls are a combination of stone and turf. After falling into disrepair, Leanach Cottage was reconstructed in the early 19th century. The cottage became a symbol for the battlefield, with its residents becoming the site’s initial tour guides.
The last resident, Mrs. Annabelle Cameron, left the cottage in 1912, and in 1944, it was given to the National Trust for Scotland by landowner Hector Forbes. In the early 1960s, the cottage became the first “museum” at Culloden Battlefield, and in 1970, a new visitor center opened beside it. Later, it transformed into a “Living History experience” with costumed interpretation and presentations. Today, Leanach Cottage houses temporary exhibitions covering current research, archaeological discoveries, people’s connections to the battlefield, and modern threats to the site.
The thatching on the cottage, made from heather collected from the battlefield, and the stone-and-turf walls add to its historical authenticity. Visitors describe it as a must-stop destination, a place where one can connect with Scotland’s history and reflect on the defining moments that shaped the country. The cottage stands as a silent witness to the events of that fateful day in 1746, preserving the memory of the lives lost and the impact on the Highlands.