Fort George
Fort George
Fort George is a Georgian military fort at the mouth of the Moray Firth, opposite Fortrose. It was built expressly to quench the Jacobite cause in the Highlands following the failed attempt to sieze the throne by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745-6.
The fort is named for King George II, who had it built to prevent any further Jacobite risings in the north. That helps explain why the most impressive defenses of Fort George are directed inland instead of out to sea. Those defenses are quite extraordinary; Fort George is the most imposing artillery fort in the UK, possibly in Europe. The fort is defended by a complex maze of ramparts and bastions, ditches and firing ledges.

The fort is huge; everything about it was built on a grand scale, with an outer boundary wall strtching over a mile in circumference. Inside the bristling defences are quarters for over 1600 soldiers, with further quarters for officers, a fort governor, and an artillery detachment. Aside from residential housing, there are extensive armouries, including a magazine made to hold more than 2,500 barrels of gunpowder. In an interesting juxtaposition, the spiritual and social needs of the soldiers were looked after by a garrison chapel and a brewhouse.

The fort was finished in 1769, but never had to fulfill its primary role of defense against Jacobites, for no further risings took place. However, the main layout of the fort and its historic barracks remained amost unaltered, and now, centuries later, they provide a fascinating glimpse in Georgian military life and attitudes.

But this is not a dry museum; Fort George is still a fully functioning military barracks. It is thus the only Historic Scotland property still fulfilling its original purpose.

Highlights of Fort George include the artillery fortifications facing inland; these have been called the finest in Britain. Within the fort is the Regimental museum of the Highlanders (Seaforths & Camerons). On display in the cavernous Grand Magazine is the Seafield Collection of 18th century armaments and military equipment.

There are displays in the old barracks to show what life was like for soldiers over the past several centuries. Another highlight is the garrison chapel, probably built to a design by famed Georgian architect Robert Adam. We do not know for certain that Adam designed the chapel, but it seems highly likely, as his family building company had the contract to construct the fort. He did not design the fort itself, however; that was designed by Lieutenant-General William Skinner, the first Governor of Fort George.

One unusual feature is a dog cemetery for regimental mascots and officers dogs. This is one of only two such dog cemeteries in Scotland.