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On 16 April 1746, William Augustus Hanover, the Duke of Cumberland, defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite army at Culloden.
Cumberland's victory was followed by a campaign to crush further Jacobite opposition to the government and the Crown.
Jacobite supporters were executed, others were imprisoned and the homes of sympathisers in the Highlands were ransacked and burned.
The actions led to the duke being nicknamed the Butcher.
While Cumberland is long gone, a more permanent feature of the battlefield landscape continues to be a target for outpourings of anger by some at what happened over 250 years ago
Sitting just off the B9006 Culloden to Nairn road lies Cumberland's Stone, a big smooth lump of rock.
The boulder is covered in moss and blue-green lichen. It sits in a little clearing on the edge of a small conifer plantation.
Stories tell of the Duke of Cumberland having breakfast, or his lunch, on the table-flat top of the boulder on the day of the battle. It has also been said that he stood on the stone to better survey the course of the fighting.
The words "Cumberland's Stone" are thought to have been carved into the rock in 1881, and at some point four metal rungs were hammered into it so people could more easily climb up on to it.
In more recent times the boulder has been sprayed with graffiti and a fire was even set against it in a supposed attempt to cause damage to it.
If it was not for the last Ice Age, the boulder would not be there in the first place.
The boulder is a glacial feature known as an erratic, meaning it is of a rock type that is different from the bedrock on which it sits.
Members of the Inverness Scientific Society and Field Club made a visit to Cumberland's Stone in the 1870s.
They determined the boulder to be a large block of conglomerate. The bedrock beneath it is also conglomerate, but of a different type.
So what exactly is conglomerate and how is it formed ?
Conglomerate is a clastic sedimentary rock,containing large ( greater then 2mm in diameter) rounded clasts of any rock material, The space between the clasts is generally made up with smaller particles, a mixture of sand, mud and a chemical cement that binds everything together.
Conglomerate is formed in water, either a swiftly flowing stream or a beach with strong waves ~ the rounded shape of the clasts show that they have been tumbled smooth by moving water.
A sediment consisting mainly of pebble and cobble sized clasts is deposited first with the finer sand and clay deposited later on top, this then sifts down inbetween to fill the spaces, finally a chemical cement (generally calcite,silica or iron oxide) is deposited and binds the whole lot together into rock.
Conglomerates are divided into 2 types. Clast supported ~ where the clasts touch one another or Matrix supported ~ where the matrix supports each clast.
Society members suggested Cumberland's Stone matched the geology of Stratherrick, which lies almost 20 miles (32km) south of Inverness.
The rock was torn from the ground at Stratherrick as a huge ice sheet crept out of the west towards the Moray Firth coast.
The rock's jagged edges were smoothed as the stone slowly rolled and shifted within the ice. It was plonked down at Culloden 16,000 years ago when the ice eventually melted.
Rocks such as Cumberland's Stone help scientists to understand glacial geology.
Erratic boulders like Cumberland's Stone are used by geomorphologists to trace the former directions of movement of the last ice sheet.
This ice sheet reached its maximum dimensions about 22,000 years ago. At that time the ice sheet covered all of Scotland, including the highest mountain summits, extended eastwards to join the Scandinavian Ice Sheet in the North Sea basin and extended westwards to the edge of the Continental shelf, about 50km west of St Kilda.
Cumberland's Stone was carried a few tens of kilometres as part of a fast-moving body of ice within the last ice sheet known as the Moray Firth Ice Stream.
To claim this earth cache, email me via my profile ( please do not post in your online log) the answers to the following tasks :
1) Cumberlands Stone is what type of glacial feature ?
2) Cumberlands Stone is a large block of conglomerate, what is another name for this ?
3) What is the height and circumference of Cumberlands Stone ?
Optional task to post a photo of your gps at the stone
You must carry out these educational tasks as required by the Earthcaching organisation as a condition of logging the cache. Logs that do not adhere to these guidelines,the logger will be contacted as to why their log is unaccepted and will be deleted See www.earthcache.org
Published with permission of National Trust Scotland
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