Through hard-falling rain a bird, black from beak to tail-tip, swoops and glides, buffeted by wind that swirls around the surrounding mountains.
From the elevated height, black beady eyes see across the flat, windswept moor of the valley. In amongst the heather and wild grass the eyes see something unfamiliar.
Wings angled to ride on the air current, the bird drops through the misty clouds to join the other black-feathered dots already gathered.
Similar black, beady eyes, belonging to the Duke of Cumberland survey the battlefield. Over in less than an hour. A fine mornings work. The rain batters against his cape, large drops drip from his sodden hat.
Over the noise of pattering rain the cries of the wounded hauntingly fleet across the moor. Gratifyingly, they are the cries of the Jacobite rebels, only a handful of his army have fallen.
He shouts an order to those that can hear him: ‘This is not the time to gloat and crow in victory. This is only the beginning. You have your orders.’
Cumberland turns his mount and leaves the field, banners raised high in glory. The Kingdom and the House of Hanover saved, the Stuarts and the Catholics crushed. Faintly, he thinks he can hear the cry amongst the charge: ‘No quarter to be given.’
Cumberland allows himself a smile of satisfaction. This is the beginning of the end for the rebellion.
As he trots away, a black bird settles on the body of a fallen Highlander. After a curious look with a beady black eye, the pure black beak strikes savagely at the exposed innards, sprawling from a bayonet slash across the abdomen.
The Battle of Culloden in 1745 was the last pitched battle to be fought on British soil. The defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Army by government forces was followed by the Highland Clearances and a brutal clamping down on Scots culture and way of life, an attempt to ensure no uprising could happen again. If interested, you can read more here: Wikipedia