Sunday, 25 November 2012

Ruthven Barracks

Apologies for the extremely long gap since my last post.  Things have been very busy at work (coupled with a slight drop in wargaming mojo - I must have been overdoing it) with a few trips out of the country: Bucharest, Istanbul, Corfu (that one was a holiday) and Hull, to name but a few.  FYI, I'm currently in Ankara stuck in a hotel so thought I'd do some catching up.

Mind you, over the summer I did get to travel about my own native land (i.e. Scotland) and, on the theme of eighteenth century wafare (not much progressed since my reviews of Szabo and others, see earlier post), I thought that Ruthven Barracks would be worth a look.
The site is a prominent fluvial mound in Badenoch and Strathspey, close to Kingussie (on the way to Aviemore) surrounded by boggy ground in the flood plain of the River Spey.  The mound is very steep all round and there was formerly a medieval castle on the site owned by various characters from Scottish history such as the Comyns and the Stewarts (e.g. the "Wolf of Badenoch").  It changed hands a few times though before eventually being beseiged and destroyed by Claverhouse in 1689.
Following the 1715 Jacobite rebellion the barracks were built in 1719-1721 (see this paper (pdf) for background and archaeology) to a design used at a number of other sites in the Highlands.  Stables were subsequently added.  The barracks were intended for use as a base for a small garrison tasked with patrolling this important route north (subsequently one of General Wade's military roads and now the A9, and still important).
However, it only saw action twice and that was when Jacobite forces half-heartedly attacked it in 1745 and then captured it in 1746.
Nevertheless, it's worth a visit mainly because it gives a good idea of stone built defensive architecture in 'frontier' locations from that period, and it's therefore useful for getting ideas for making buildings and other wargames table furniture.
And of course it's beautiful up there (sometimes).  For example, have a look at this shot I took the next day (on my iPhone) at Loch Garten near the RSPB Boat of Garten Osprey centre (I've not seen it like that very often!).
Look out for more travel-related and barely tangential to wargaming type posts coming soon!

1 comment:

Ray Rousell said...

Excellent pics, thanks for sharing!