At the battle of Killacrankie on 27th July 1689, 3,000 government troops (under General Hugh Mackay) were defeated by a rebel Highland army led by Viscount (Bonnie) Dundee. The battlesite is said to be haunted, the whole scene of carnage replaying on certain days in all its gory detail.
The narrow gorge and valley of Killacrankie, the scene of so much slaughter, has a reputation as a haunted battle site. People have had a number of strange experiences in the area. One woman reported seeing a replay of the battle and the aftermath, when the young highland women picked over the corpses of the slain for valuables. Other witnesses have also reported ghostly soldiers at the site. The haunting is said to be more intense on the anniversary of the battle. There is a tradition of haunted battle sites throughout Britain including Culloden Moor, Edge Hill and Nechtansmere.
Traditionally ‘Soldiers’ Leap’ across the gorge is said to be where one of the government soldiers leapt to his escape during the height battle. This is dubious, as the stretch is daunting to say the least, however, who knows what you can do with a horde of bloodthirsty Highlanders on your tail.
Bonnie Dundee’s Death Portent
Bonnie Dundee – about whom much folklore has grown – was killed at the height of the battle, his death having been predicted beforehand by an ominous warning. The story goes that he awoke the night before the battle to be confronted by a vision of a man with blood dripping from an ugly wound in his head. The apparition pointed at Dundee and said in ominous tones “Remember Brown of Priesthill!” (Bonnie Dundee was a unwavering enemy of the covenanters, and is said to have killed a covenantor called John Brown himself ((Brown of Priesthill)) after his men refused to shoot him due to his courage in the face of the execution squad.) Dundee shouted for the guards outside his tent to check who had been playing a joke on him but there was no rational explanation for the vision. There was also talk of an eerie red glow emanating from Dundee’s tent a sure forwarning of bad tidings. Another strange occurance involving the death of Bonnie Dundee was witnessed Lord Balcarres of Colinsburgh, who was under arrest at the time of the battle. He had a vision of Dundee at his bedside on the night after the tainted victory, but did not learn of his death until after the following day.
Directions: The visitors centre can be reached from the B8079 off the A9.