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The fighting forces of centuries past converge on Fort George

28 July 2010


Britain’s mightiest artillery fortification - the impressive Fort George near Inverness - is gearing up for its biggest ever event.  And with a hugely entertaining, lively programme celebrating the fighting forces of centuries past, it’s set to be an unmissable family day out.

On Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th August, the vast garrison fortress is staging the ‘Colossal Celebration of The Centuries’.  

This will see hundreds of performers and re-enactors from all over the UK converging on Fort George to portray the military might of history’s eras - from Roman soldiers, to Covenanters and Redcoats, to the troops of the 20th century - in an exciting show.

This major event, which is being supported by The Highland Council, features a packed and varied programme, with highlights including a dramatic aerial display by an original World War II Spitfire, and a thrilling parachute drop by the Golden Lions - Scotland’s only professional parachute team.

The superb, centuries-spanning entertainment features colourful parades of the soldiers of centuries past, dramatic combat re-enactments, fascinating weaponry displays and vintage military vehicles exhibits.  

In addition to the host of captivating military-themed activities, there will be an authentic Medieval encampment to explore with craft demonstrations, Renaissance music and dancing to enjoy, and a bustling 1940s area complete with swing dancers and a ‘big band’.

Nick Finnigan, Historic Scotland’s Events Manager, said: “The ‘Colossal Celebration of The Centuries’ is the biggest event we’re staging during 2010 and we’re aiming for it to be one of the year’s unmissable highlights.  Fort George is a fantastic location for it; it’s such an imposing setting and that will definitely add to the atmosphere and make it even more special.

“We’ve got a great weekend of entertainment planned with a huge cast of costumed performers, some incredible equipment, and a variety of excellent presentations and shows, so it should certainly provide an exciting and memorable day out with lots to entertain and interest all the family.  

“We’re especially delighted too to have an original 20th-century military hero, the wonderful Spitfire, taking part to thrill the crowds, as well as our army stars of today, The Golden Lions.  I’m sure they will be a huge hit with visitors to Fort George.”

Councillor Sandy Park, Convener of The Highland Council, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting this major Historic Scotland event at Fort George.  It is a unique historic attraction and in addition to being such an important part of Scotland’s heritage, it is a significant asset for tourism in the Highland region, every year attracting thousands of visitors from both the UK and overseas markets.  
“We look forward to welcoming into the area visitors coming to the ‘Colossal Celebration of The Centuries’ and hope that as many people from the region as possible will make the most of the opportunity to experience and enjoy this major event at Fort George.”

The ‘Colossal Celebration of The Centuries’ is from 12 noon to 4pm on both Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th.  Ticket prices are: Adult £10.00, Child £6.00, Concession £8.00. Historic Scotland members do not require tickets; entry is free to members.

Tickets are available on the day, or can be purchased online in advance – to save 10% and beat the queues - at

  • Fort George is 6 miles west of Nairn and 11 miles north east of Inverness, off the A96.  Admission tickets are: Adult £6.70, Child £4.00, Concession £5.40; Historic Scotland Members free.

  • Positioned strategically on a promontory jutting into the Moray Firth, Fort George is the mightiest artillery fortification in the UK, if not Europe.  Built following the 1746 defeat at Culloden of Bonnie Prince Charlie, this impregnable army base was designed on a monumental scale, as the ultimate defence against further Jacobite unrest.  

  • Completed in 1769, when the Highlands were peaceful, the fortress was maintained in readiness for action that never came and has remained virtually unaltered. With its garrison buildings, barrack rooms  and superb collection of arms, including bayoneted muskets, pikes, swords and ammunition pouches, it provides a fascinating insight into 18th century military life.

  • Highlights for visitors to Fort George include: the complex array of artillery fortifications on the landward side – the best in the British Isles; the regimental museum of the Queen’s Own Highlanders (Seaforths & Camerons) – the spiritual home of one of Scotland’s oldest and proudest regiments; the grand magazine – designed to hold 2,672 gunpowder barrels, and now housing the spectacular Seafield Collection of 18th-century arms and military equipment; the historic barrack rooms – graphically recreating soldiers’ living conditions in centuries gone by; the garrison chapel – designed probably by Robert Adam, whose family construction company built the fort; the dog cemetery – one of only two in Scotland, the resting-place of regimental mascots and officers’ dogs.

  • Fort George is one of 345 historic properties in the care of Historic Scotland. These range from prehistoric settlements to palaces, cathedrals and castles – including some of Scotland’s most famous and prestigious strongholds such as Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles.  For further details visit

  • Fort George is one of 345 heritage properties throughout Scotland in the care of Historic Scotland.  From the Highlands and Islands to the Borders, these range from prehistoric dwellings to medieval castles, and from cathedrals to industrial buildings. They include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country; some of the most popular are Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit:

  • Historic Scotland’s mission is: to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

  • For further information on The Highland Council, which is supporting the staging of the ‘Colossal Celebration of The Centuries’ at Fort George, visit

For further information, interviews and images

Ellen Drummond Ferroni
0131 668 8685 / 07801 820757