Red Coats return after 250 years

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10 JUNE 2013NEWS RELEASE No: 15964

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Three 18th century Red Coats arrived at Achlain, Glen Moriston yesterday to help mark the completion of a restoration project to part of one of Scotland’s most important historic monuments.

The project, managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, involved the consolidation and repair of three original surviving bridges on the 18th century military road network in the Highlands.

Matt Ritchie, Forestry Commission Scotland’s Archaeologist, said:

“The road played a key role in the course of Scottish history and as such is a hugely important artefact.

 “General Wade – and then Major Caulfeild – spent decades building a 1600km long network of roads, bridges and fords that crossed some of the most rugged terrain in Scotland, in order to counter the feared Jacobite threat.

“It helped confirm and extend the power of the crown but, once it had outlived its military purpose, it began to enhance and encourage communications, trade and development throughout the region.”

The need for the conservation work was highlighted after the Commission carried out an archaeological survey of the 18th century military road network on Scotland’s national forest estate.

Giles Brockman, for the Commission’s team in Inverness Ross & Skye District, managed the project. He said:

“Unfortunately, much of the network has now been lost or destroyed by modern roads and only short stretches of the original 18th century road survive.

“Original bridges and culverts are now rare but the fact that some of the bridges are still in very good condition - and still in use - stands as testament to the skill of those who worked them.

“For it’s time it was an astonishing feat of engineering, given the ruggedness of the landscape and the fact that Wade and Caulfeild’s men relied on only gun powder, hand tools and the materials at hand.”

1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate

2.  The archaeological survey recorded and assessed the condition of surviving features along about 66 km of the known road network in the Highlands. The Highland military road network was constructed by General George Wade between 1725 and 1733 and comprises over 400km of road and about 40 bridges, linking the four barracks at Fort William, Fort Augustus, Inverness and Ruthven. The network was greatly extended by Major William Caulfeild between 1740 and 1767.

3. The three bridges were consolidated and expertly repointed with lime mortar by Graeme Brown Stone Masons Ltd under the direction of Ms Krystyna Pytasz from Addison Conservation + Design. The archaeological recording work was undertaken by AOC Archaeology and Ross & Cromarty Archaeological Services. The work was managed by Giles Brockman (Environment Manager, Inverness Ross & Skye Forest District), Alan Jackson (Forestry Civil Engineering Bridge Unit Works Manager) and Matt Ritchie (FCS Archaeologist). The re-enactors were provided by Alba Adventure Company.

4. Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde.

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6. The attached image shows the Red Coat re-enactors from Alba Adventure Company (Mike Newcomen front centre and solo image).

7. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0131 314 6507