Cairngorms National Park
What is it?
Built in 1721 following the 1715 Jacobite rising, Ruthven Barracks is one of four fortified barracks built by the government of George I to tighten its grip on the Highlands.
Why it is special?
Built on the site of a castle dating back to 1229, the barracks has two ranges of quarters and a stable block. But its significance lies in its later history. After the 1746 Battle of Culloden 3,000 Jacobite soldiers assembled there with the intention of fighting on against the Hanoverian government and in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Edward Stuart).
When he gave the order to disperse the rebellion was over and the defeated Jacobites set fire to the barracks to avoid capture by the Redcoats.
The barracks became a symbol of the suppression of the Highlands by the Hanoverian government, both in military and cultural terms.
Tell us something we didn’t know
Legend has it that in 1394 a visitor dressed in black arrived at Ruthven Castle and challenged the infamous Alexander Steward, known as the Wolf of Badenoch, to a game of chess. By morning no-one was left in the castle – showing the perils of playing chess with the devil, so the story goes.
How to get there
The barracks are 1m from Kingussie. They are signposted from the A9, the main route to the Highlands, and the A86 in the centre of Kingussie.
Grid reference: NN 764 997.