At 4,528 square kilometres, and comprising 6% of Scotland’s land area, the Cairngorms National Park is the UK’s largest protected landscape. It’s twice the size of the England’s Lake District National Park and bigger than the whole of Luxembourg. It’s perhaps best known for its eponymous mountain plateau of expansive proportions and its interconnected sub-arctic environment. There are no other mountains like them in Britain - massive granite domes with corries and passes scooped out by long departed glaciers and a broad rolling plateau that is more akin to Arctic Scandinavia than Britain.
The area now covered by the National Park was the scene of a number of pivotal events of the Jacobite Risings as well as a number of buildings that saw events unfold. These include:
- The Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689;
- The Battle of Cromdale in1690;
- The rising of the standard of King James VIII and III (the Old Pretender) in 1715;
- Ruthven Barracks in Badenoch built to suppress the Highlands it was sieged by Jacobites in 1745, captured and burnt in 1746 and would be there scene of the Jacobite army’s dissolution following Culloden;
- Corgarff Castle in Donside, which was burnt by Jacobites in 1689 or 1690, by redcoats in 1716. It was also raided by redcoats in 1746;
- Braemar Castle in Deeside, which was burnt by Jacobites in 1689 or 1690;
- Blair Castle, where John Graham of Claverhouse’s camped before the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689 and which was besieged by Jacobites in 1746.
This history made the National Park the ideal place on which to base our mode, The Jacobite Risings: The Fight for Britain’s Throne, and naturally, we built a number of these events and buildings into our model. You can read about these in more detail in our previous and forthcoming blog posts (here and here), but we've decided to go a step further. Creating a landscape that looks anything like the Cairngorms has to pay some respect to its beautiful mountains – so we’ve built up and we’ve built high! The centrepiece of the model is a one metre tall mountain, complete with rocky cliffs, tree lined slopes and snow patches. Of course, this isn’t a scale model of a Cairngorms mountain, if it were it would need to be around 30 metres high, which would put a bit of a limit on our ability to take it to events. But at one metre, this is a big LEGO model by any standards and dwarfs the buildings and Minifigures that surround it. Building the mountain has been tough, with its creator James Pegrum, describing it simply as “...a nightmare”.
Find out more and start planning your trip now:
We’ll be tweeting photos of the National Park all week, follow us at @bricktothepast