Prestonpans – viewpoint of the battle

The first week of the school holidays was glorious weather and I found myself driving in East Lothian. I recently read Dragonfly in Amber. In the book Jamie and Claire are involved in the Battle of Prestonpans – the beginning of the 1745 uprising. I had in the past seen the cairn that marks the battle but this time I discovered that there is a viewpoint of the battlefield. The photos show the view from the top of the hill. I brought my pocket Jamie with me.

After posting my photos on the Outlanderish UK facebook page a discussion was started and a tour of the battlefield has been organised for Saturday 11th July.

The Battle of Prestonpans is located to the east and south of Prestonpans across a large, mixed-use landscape. The battle, fought on the 21st September 1745, was the first action of the Jacobite ’45 rebellion and was a dramatic Jacobite victory. Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) was present at the battle, leading his army of plaid clad Highlanders against the redcoats of General John Cope.

The battle was fought in the early morning of the 21st and very quickly the government army was overwhelmed and routed. Terrified by the ferocity of the Highland charge, many of Cope’s army fled. The Government soldiers were pursued by the Jacobites for over a kilometre until many were trapped and cut down against the walls of Preston House and Bankton House. Some managed to find there way through the narrow defile running between the two parks or through breeches in the walls. Hundreds were killed in the aftermath and many were taken prisoner.

Much of the battle landscape still survives and the best way to experience the site is to either climb up to the top of the viewing mound at Meadowmill (take A198 off the A1 and follow signs for Meadowmill sports centre and Battle site) or follow the self-guided walk described in the battle leaflet downloadable from the following website www.battleofprestonpans1745.org.

Source – www.visiteastlothian.org

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