Anniversary Cairngorm Walk

Posted by admin on July 20th, 2014

According to the Rev William Forsyth, one of John Roy’s men took the ‘Green Banner of Kincardine’ to the summit of Cairngorm on the anniversary of the Raising of the Standard at Glenfinnan 19th August.

Anail a’ Ghaidheil, air a’ mhullach

Walk to the summit of Cairngorm

Saturday 20th August 2016

Meet at Cairngorm Coire Cas Car Park, outside the Ranger Office, at 10.45am.  We wait for the bus which arrives at 10.54  before setting off.

Please let us know you are coming, email: info [at]  (see form below)

The walk is over rough terrain. Bring your own Map and compass – you will need OS 1:50 sheet 36 or OS 1: 25 Explorer sheet 403 and a compass, and know how to use it.

Walking boots are needed and waterproof jacket and trousers, warm clothes, hat & gloves, midge repellent & sunscreen.  Don’t forget your lunch & water to drink.

Dogs must be kept on the lead.

Persons improperly clad or equipped will be advised NOT to take part.

The Walk (click to enlarge - ESC to exit)

The Walk (click to enlarge, ESC to exit viewer)

The Route – see sketch map

From Coire Cas Car Park up a steep and rocky path onto Sròn an Aonaich (Windy Ridge), pausing for a snack somewhere.  Continue to the Ptarmigan,  and then by the Marquis’ Well,to the summit of Cairngorm for the Ceremony of Unfurling the Banner, and giving the commemorative toasts.
We may return via Ciste Mhairead to observe the lingering snow patch there, (some folk like lunch there), then over to the Ptarmigan, where there is the option for any who wish to descend by the Funicular (cost about £6 adult). Otherwise retrace the ascent route.


Please register your interest by completing the form below – thank you!


Anniversary Walk 2015 Report

Posted by admin on June 16th, 2016

John Roy Stuart Anniversary Walk Report 2015

It was a good fine dry day, a pleasant change after so many wet ones this summer.  The group met in Coire Cas Car Park when the bus arrived, and 5 of us set off just after 11.

A pause for a snack was made before reaching the Ptarmigan, where Mary and Hugh were waiting, having set off earlier.  The group then carried on to the summit.  Here the Banner was given its annual airing, with a walking pole doing duty as a flagstaff.

Seamas gave us “He ‘m eile ‘s na ho rò”,  one of John Roy’s three Culloden songs, and Hugh gave us the Seaforth’s toast and explained a bit about it for the newcomers Ann C and Irene W, others present were David R and Ann W.

Unfurliing the banner at the summit of Cairngorm Unfurliing the banner at the summit of Cairngorm Unfurliing the banner at the summit of Cairngorm

As the wind was increasing we went down to the shelter of Ciste Mhearad for our lunch, where Seamas measured and photographed the remaining snow patch.  As we made our way down the wind continued to increase and there were some very strong gusts.  We reached the Car Park about 4 pm having had an enjoyable day.

For 2016 the walk will be held on Saturday 20th August.

Anniversary Walk 2014

Posted by admin on November 26th, 2014

The forecast was not good.  Cloud down to 700m, northerly wind, gusting to 40-60 mph on the summits, and heavy showers in the afternoon.

The participants this year were Seumas, Mary, David & Ann, who set off from Coire Cas Car Park at 11am, and Hugh, who had taken an early bus, was ahead of us, and planned to walk up Windy Ridge, where we soon followed. We had a glimpse of the snow remaining in Coire Lochan before the cloud engulfed us. At least the wind was behind us.

When we reached the Ptarmigan we went in for a warm up, and a bite to eat before continuing towards Fuaran a’Mharcuis, and soon met Hugh on his way down, having not reached the summit, and Mary accompanied him back to the Ptarmigan.

The rest continued in a brief but heavy shower, and received the full blast of the wind, rain, and occasional sleet in our faces as we reached the Cairn.

Sheltering behind the cairn, Ann recited ‘Eirich mun eirich a’ghrian’, which was ironic considering the lack of any view, and windchill of -7c., and Seumas gave us John Roy’s Psalm, ‘The Lord’s my Targe, I will be stout’, and John Roy and his comrades were duly toasted.  (both poems given below)

The Banner was then unfurled for its annual airing – we had not carried the flagpole as it is heavy and unweildy in the wind, only the banner had been taken, as James MacIntyre would have carried the original banner to the summit in the years after Culloden. The Banner flapped like a wild thing, held by two of us while the third took some photos.

We returned to the Ptarmigan as rapidly as possible, and finished our lunches! Mary and Hugh went down on the Funicular, and the stalwarts descended into pleasanter conditions, reaching the car park in half an hour, joining Mary and Hugh in the café.



Eirich mu’n eirich a’ghrian,
Siubhail dian mu’n tig an teas,
Ruig mullach a Chuirn Ghuirm,
Far an faic thu thall ’s bhos

Chi mi poit a’ Ghlinne Mhoir,
Chi mi Bu-choinnich is Beag-ghleann,
Chi mi Gleann Einich an fheidh,
Far am biodh an spreidh air eadradh.

Arise ere the sun doth rise,
Travel fast ere comes the heat,
Reach the top of Cairngorm,
Where you’ll see both far and near.

I see the cauldron of Glenmore, –
I see the Mossy Bow and the Little Glen, –
I see the Bountiful Glen of Deer,
Where the cattle will be at milking time.

Collected by Rev. Thomas Sinton, in ‘Poetry of Badenoch’.

John Roy’s Psalm

The Lord’s my targe, I will be stout,
With dirk and trusty blade,
Though Campbells come in flocks about,
I will not be afraid.

The Lord’s the same as heretofore,
He’s always good to me,
Though Red-coats come a thousand more,
Afraid I will not be.

Though they the woods do cut and burn,
And drain the lochs all dry,
Though they the rocks do overturn,
And change the course of Spey.

Though they mow down both corn and grass,
Nay, seek me underground,
Though hundreds guard each road and pass,
John Roy will not be found.

Anniversary Cairngorm Walk 2013 Report

Posted by admin on June 30th, 2014

John Roy Stuart Walk / Ceum Iain Ruaidh 19/8/2013

The only participants in the 2013 John Roy Stuart Walk were Mary MacKenzie, David Rose and Seumas Grant (with Hamish the Cairn Terrier). The small numbers were due to the illness of some of the usual participants, and also a weather forecast which predicted winds of 50mph above 3,000ft. The small party started from the Coire Cas Car Park at around 11am and decided to follow the track up the face of the corrie (rather than the usual Windy Ridge Path) due to the predicted high winds. We passed the top station of the Coire Cas Tow at 12 midday, where we could see that there was still a tiny patch of old snow remaining of the Cuithe Chrom (Headwall) snowfield.

We experienced only light winds in Coire Cas itself, but on approaching the Funicular Top Station we felt for the first time the full force of the wind and realised that the Met. Office predictions were going to be proved correct. We stopped for a short rest and snack there and then made our way to the summit by Fuaran a’ Mharcais (The Marquis’ Well). The summit of Cairn Gorm was clear of cloud, but it was quite difficult to stand there (other than in the shelter of the cairn) due to the strength of the wind.

John Roy’s banner was carefully unfurled in the shelter of the cairn, with two people, one on either side, holding it tightly. When the banner was safely again furled, Seumas recited a toast to John Roy in Gaelic and brandy (John Roy’s favourite drink) was drunk. This was followed by the recitation of ‘John Roy’s Psalm’ (in English) and the singing of ‘He ’m èille ’s na ho rò’, a song of defiance, which John Roy composed in Gaelic about the Battle of Culloden.

We descended by way of Ciste Mhearad, where Seumas measured the extent of the snowfield (which was still a fair size for the 19th of August). We then retraced our steps past the Funicular Top Station and down Coire Cas. On passing we noticed that the tiny patch of the Cuithe Chrom snowfield, which was extant on our ascent, had melted while we had been on the summit.

After the walk we proceeded to Aviemore where we visited Ann and Edwin Wakeling and were hospitably entertained. We reported on how the 2013 walk had gone and also returned the banner to Ann, its designer, for safekeeping.

John Roy’s new banner has now been carried to the summit of Cairn Gorm on seven annual occasions. The tradition originated with James Macintyre, one of John Roy’s followers, who carried the original banner home to Beag-ghleann in Glenmore after the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and used to ascend Cairn Gorm with it on the 19th of August every year (the anniversary of the raising of Prince Charles’ standard in Glenfinnan in 1745).


Anniversary Cairngorm Walk 2012 Report

Posted by admin on August 28th, 2012

Sunday 19th August 2012 was a bright and breezy day, sunny & warm in the morning, but clouding over and cool by the afternoon.

Jane, David and Mary walked from the Allt Mor, David (Rose) went up on the bus to Coire Cas Car Park, where Seumas, Peter (BBC) and Ann also joined the walk.  A short break was taken outside the Ptarmigan Building, before continuing via the Marquis Well to the Summit. There we met Hugh, who had been there since 11am, after a very early start, going slowly nursing his damaged knee.  He needed the extra clothing he had taken, as it was quite windy on the top.  Hugh gave the toast to John Roy, and Seumas sang one of his songs, and was interviewed for BBC Radio Scotland.

The party then descended to Ciste Mhearaid where Seumas measured the snow patch (he does this every year), and we all had our lunch, enjoying the panorama before us.

19th Aug 2012 at the summit of Cairngorm

19th Aug 2012

wee Hamish

wee Hamish

Ann with the Banner

Ann with the Banner

Seumas Grant being interviewed for the Past Lives programme

Seumas Grant

David Kerr with the Banner

David Kerr with the Banner

Jane Kerr with the Banner

Jane Kerr with the Banner

Anniversary Cairngorm Walk – 2009 report

Posted by admin on August 19th, 2009

According to the Rev William Forsyth, one of John Roy’s men took the ‘Green Banner of Kincardine’ to the summit of Cairngorm on the anniversary of the Raising of the Standard at Glenfinnan 19th August.

Anail a’ Ghaidheil, air a’ mhullach

Walk to the summit of Cairngorm

Saturday 15th August 2009


Hugh Stewart delivered a short address in Gaelic [with translation] on a theme, taken from the toast below, of the immortality of heroism.  Appropriately enough, that toast was used originally by the Seaforth Highlanders, one of the three regiments in which Hugh served half a century ago.  The Seaforth were numbered among those Highland regiments recruited by former Jacobite ruling families then anxious to ingratiate themselves with the Hanoverian establishment. Many Highlanders were thus enlisted after Wolfe had sought their service in the Seven Years War in Canada/America, with the recommendation that they were “hardy and bold, very patient of cold and hunger, habituated to a rough country and NO GREAT MISCHIEF IF THEY FALL [i.e. expendable]. The toast is made appropriate by replacing the Seaforth slogan “Cabar Feidh” with “An Suaicheantas Ban” as follows:-

Tir nam Beann, nan  Gleann, ’s nan Gaisgeach
Land of mountains, glens and warriors

Far am faighear an t-eun fionn
Where the white bird is got

’S far am faigh am fiadh fasgadh
And where the deer find shelter

Cho fada ’s a chitear ceo mu bheann
So long as mist is seen round a mountain

’S a ruitheas uisge le gleann
And water runs through a glen

Mairidh cuimhne air éuchd nan treun
Memory will endure of the brave’s feats

Slainte agus buaidh gu brath
Health and victory for ever

Le gillean An Suaicheantais Bain!
With the lads of the White Cockade!

An Suaicheantas Ban gu brath!
The White Cockade for ever!

The unmodified toast is still used by the 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland [72, 78, 79 and 92nd]. The regiment at large now sounds like a military millipede after a surfeit of amalgamations. It is collectively the 1st, 21st, 25th, 42nd, 72nd, 74th, 78th, 92nd and 93rd of Foot.

Photos from the day:

The start - photo by Fiona Patrick

Setting off from Glenmore - the JRS anniversary walk- photo by Fiona Patrick

David Kerr and Walter Patrick on the way up Cairngorm - photo: Ann Wakeling

David Kerr and Walter Patrick on the way up - photo: Ann Wakeling

Struggling to hoist the banner! - photo: Stanley Norton

Struggling to hoist the banner! - photo: Stanley Norton

Pete Dutfield struggles to hold the Banner - photo: Ann Wakeling

Pete Dutfield struggles to hold the Banner - photo: Ann Wakeling

Walter, Pete, Mary and David - photo: Ann Wakeling

Walter, Pete, Mary and David - photo: Ann Wakeling

Wind-blown Cuilly Dog

Wind-blown Cuilly Dog near Cairngorm summit- photo: Ann Wakeling

David Kerr, Stan Norton, Ann Wakeling, Pete Dutfield, Mary Mackenzie, Hugh Stewart and Walter Patrick, not forgetting Cuilean Wakeling

David Kerr, Stan Norton, Ann Wakeling, Pete Dutfield, Mary Mackenzie, Hugh Stewart and Walter Patrick, not forgetting Cuilean.

Bronze Axe-heads

Posted by admin on March 1st, 2008

Two Bronze Axe-heads found under a Boulder in  Abernethy.  There was a local tradition that Colonel John Roy Stewart had hidden Arms and a Flag there and when found the Axe-heads had silk cords attached to them and it is believed that they were attached as Relics, to Colonel Stewarts flag staff.

Seen in the Kingussie Museum (Highland Folk Park) store.

Two bronze axe-heads

Two bronze axe-heads

Iain Ruaidh

Posted by admin on August 20th, 2007

A poem celebrating the festival of August 2007.

Iain Ruaidh

Mists swirling round,
Shroud us in time an space.
Transport us back to times long ago.
Though hundreds of years have past,
your names still spoken, your songs sung,
the bard of Cul Lodair, Charlie’s general.
Fer as in yer own words, ‘The Lord’s my Targe’,
you were protected from harm, kept safe, in support of the Prince.

Many died on Cul Lodair’s cold moor,
an in memory of the moment,
Honour of the Prince,
Your banner, musket ridden an tattered,
was tae be carried to the top of blue mountain,
to fly in the winds of time,
its green streaking the sky’s blue,
Flashing defiant and strong.

Today, fer the first time in two hundred and fifty years,
we carried your new banner, proud and strong,
Up Cairngorm’s misty slopes,
To fly in the Highland breeze once more,
In your memory, in your Honour,
A new generation will never forget,
The green once again flashes,
defiant on the breeze.

Iain Ruaidh, red haired John,
you were Prince Charles’ general,
A poet fer the ordinary man.
You sang fer the blindfolded Campbell,
He could not turn you in,
But if his eyes were to meet yours,
the fate of death,
would have been your pay.

You roamed the hills, hid in caves an moors,
Composed songs an poems fine,
an before you left our golden shores,
Your banner you gave in trust,
till the Prince should come once more.
Today your banner flew like the eagle,
high on Cairngorms top,
Defiant in a new world, A link with our past.


Music & Poetry by John Roy

Posted by admin on August 18th, 2007

John Roy Stuart was a great poet & piper. We aim to present here a selection and review of his surviving works. If you have any information on John Roy, we would love to hear from you – please contact us on info[at]

Some links to John Roy’s music and poetry.

John Roy Stuart” composed by Alexander McGlashan (1740-1797)

Two poems by John Roy Stuart on The Gutenberg Project »
(Lament for Lady Macintosh & The Day of Culloden)

Scotsman article

Posted by admin on August 11th, 2007

A’ cuimhneachadh a’ chòirneil a thug dhuinn ‘Latha Chùil Lodair’