Pitlochry High Street in 1966

In 1966 the Corries made this video, I think for W Gordon Smith’s Hoot’nanny program on BBC Scotland. It is one of a series made for that program in which folk singers intoned in locations related to their ballads. Some have suggested that these were a forerunner of the ‘pop video’, although a paternal connection between the program’s Glasgow producers and 1980s New York has yet to be definitively established.

It showcases the folksome duo marching up the A9, which until the mid-1980s dissected Pitlochry, and nearly every other town and village on its northward course. As any who holidayed in northern Scotland before the bypassing, dueling and rerouting will recall, wandering minstrels were the least of hold ups that beset travellers.

The battle celebrated in Burns words took place in the Jacobite uprising of 1689 and was fought four miles north of Pitlochry. The actual site of the battle is now in the garden of The House of Urrard, a private home. The Killiecrankie Visitor centre, in the pass itself, celebrates the battles most famous incident, when an escaping government soldier jumped across the river while being pursued by the victorious Jacobites. While the forces loyal to James VII and II did come out on top that day, it was at a terrible cost of nearly a third of their men and the commander ‘Bonnie Dundee’. It was perhaps as a result of this that they were routed a month later at the Battle of Dunked, just 12 mils south of Pitlochry.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.