Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Visiting the Rullion Green monument

Arguably the most important event in the Covenanters in Ulster story is the Pentland Rising, also known as the Battle of Rullion Green. Back in February I spent most of a morning trying to locate the monument. Last weekend I went back with the sole purpose of taking my children there - part of the cultural education programme.

Fought on 28 November 1666, the Covenanters were led at Rullion Green by Colonel James Wallace, a veteran of the Covenanter Army in Ulster during the 1640s, during which time he was Governor of Belfast for about 2 and a half years. He married one of the Edmonstones of Ballycarry in County Antrim. However, for all his military skills, the Covenanters were greatly outnumbered by a heavily armed Royalist force led by General Tam Dalyell, who was also a veteran of the Covenanter Army in Ulster but who had conspicuously been the only man to refuse the Covenant at the great public event at Carrickfergus in April 1644. The Covenanters were cut down, and of the fifty-odd who were killed, only two are named on the small monument - Rev John Crookshanks of Raphoe and Rev Andrew McCormick of Magherally near Banbridge. 80 Covenanters were taken prisoner and soon after were executed.

If you want to go to see the monument at Rullion Green, I hope these instructions are of some help - they're about as accurate as I can make them. Hopefully this will save you time and frustration in trying to track it down.

1. Follow the A702 from Edinburgh to Biggar. Just behind the town of Penicuik is Flotterstone Visitor Centre (part of the Pentland Hills Regional Park). There's a good wee restaurant/pub nearby with a garden that can sell you a good family feed!

[Jacob at the Flotterstone Inn where we all had our lunch last Friday]

[Closeup of the map at the Flotterstone Visitor Centre. The site of the monument is marked just above the word "Glencorse"]

2. You can either park the car here, and walk up the footpath along the roadside uphill towards Silverburn, or else drive up the hill. On the left hand side you'll pass Mauricewood Road which leads into Penicuik - just a few yards further up the hill, on the opposite side, you'll see a lane leading towards Rullion Green Cottage. My advice is to drive up to the cottage and park there (introduce yourself to the locals and tell them you're there to visit the monument - lots of people do it)

[Entrance to the lane leading to the cottage]

3. Standing in the yard of the Cottage, look uphill towards a small copse of trees.
In the middle of these you'll be able to pick out a red shape - these are the railings that surround the small monument.

[View of the copse and railings from the cottage yard]

4. Then set off up the hill, it's about a 10 minute walk and pretty straightforward. The monument is modest, but well worth seeing, along with the interpretive plaque that was erected there in 1966.

[series of pics of the monument - click to enlarge]

The views from the monument sweep down the Pentland Hills towards Edinburgh, and are spectacular on a clear day. There must be a good argument for the relevant public authorities to create better access and a small car park / viewpoint close to the monument.

[the view towards Edinburgh]

2016 will be the 350th anniversary of the Pentland Rising. For those who read this blog and are interested, I know that's eight years away, but with eight years of planning time available, something very special could be done in 2016, on an "east-west" basis, to mark the anniversary.

Here's a link to GoogleMaps - click on the marker near Edinburgh for a pinpoint location that's about as accurate as GoogleMaps will provide.


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