Timeline of the Highlands 800 BC - AD 2013

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  • Culloden Battlefield at dusk, near Inverness
    Culloden Battlefield, near Inverness
  • Fort George - an 18th century military fortification and working army base, Ardersier
    Fort George, Ardersier
  • Looking towards Glenfinnan Monument and Loch Shiel
    Glenfinnan Monument
  • The headstone of Clan Mackintosh on Culloden Moor at dusk, near Inverness
    The headstone of Clan Mackintosh on Culloden Moor, near Inverness
  • Strathisla Distillery, near Keith, Moray
    Strathisla Distillery, near Keith, Moray

The Highlands has a wonderfully visible and absolutely fascinating history. From the Massacre of Glencoe and the Battle of Culloden to the infamous Highland Clearances and the first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster, use this timeline to learn more about the remarkable history of this beautiful part of Scotland.

8000 BC - Land recovers from Ice Age and trees, animals and people start to inhabit the area. The North West Highlands Geopark covers around 2,000 sq km and some of the rock is 3 billion years old.

2000 BC - It is thought that the Clava Cairns, a group of chambered cairns and standing stones date back to this time. They are regarded as one of the best-preserved Bronze Age burial sites in Britain.

AD 565 - Inverness, then a Pictish settlement, was visited by St Columba who came to convert the Pictish King Brude to Christianity.

AD 800 - Sueno’s Stone, the largest known sculptured Pictish stone in the town of Forres is thought to date back to the ninth century.

AD 1224 - Elgin Cathedral, which boasts a fascinating history, was initially established and was once the second largest cathedral in the country.

AD 1230 - Beauly Priory was founded by monks. Mary Queen of Scots was struck by the beauty of the priory and orchard.

AD 1692 - The Massacre of Glencoe took place on 13 February. Discover more about this tragic episode in the Glencoe Visitor Centre and the Glencoe & North Lorn Folk Museum.

AD 1745 - Charles Edward Stuart, aka Bonnie Prince Charlie, instigated an unsuccessful Jacobite uprising.

AD 1746 - The Jacobites were crushed on the moor by government troops at the Battle of Culloden. Visit Culloden Moor and the excellent visitor centre and gain a fantastic insight into the battle which lasted barely an hour and resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people.

AD 1769 - Fort George, one of the finest examples of 18th century military engineering, was completed. It took 20 years to build, was never attacked and remains to this day completely unaltered.

AD 1780 - The infamous Highland Clearances saw many people driven from their homes and were ongoing for around 70 years. You can learn more about the clearances at the Strathnaver Museum near Thurso.

AD 1786 - Strathisla Distillery was founded in Keith and is now the oldest working distillery in the Highlands.

AD 1802 - Internationally renowned geologist, writer and folk historian Hugh Miller was born in Cromarty.

AD 1812 - Nelson’s Tower by Forres opened, built as a memorial to Admiral Lord Nelson.

AD 1822 - The Caledonian Canal, one of the great waterways of the world which connects Inverness in the east with Fort William in the west, was designed and completed by engineer Thomas Telford.

AD 1826 - The Pulteney Distillery in Wick is founded, the most northerly distillery on the British mainland.

AD 1845 - The Clearance of Glencalvie resulted in 90 crofters taking shelter in Croick Church. You can still see messages scratched into the church window by the crofters.

AD 1898 - The Glenfinnan Viaduct by the village of Glenfinnan is completed.

AD 1933 - The first recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster. Head to the award-winning Loch Ness Exhibition Centre at Drumnadrochit and explore the interactive displays that uncover the mystery and folklore surrounding Loch Ness.

AD 1939 - After war was declared, bombing was expected and voluntary evacuation began. Thousands of children from vulnerable areas across Scotland were evacuated to the Highlands.