In War Paths: Walking in the Shadows of the Clans (Birlinn, 2023), acclaimed historian Alistair Moffat sets off in the footsteps of the Highland clans. In twelve journeys he explores places of conflict, recreating as he walks the tumult of battle. As he recounts the military prowess of the clans – surely the most feared fighting men in western Europe – he also speaks of their lives, their language and culture before it was all swept away. The disaster at Culloden in 1746 represented not just the defeat of the Jacobite dream but also the unleashing of merciless retribution from the British government which dealt the Highland clans a blow from which they would never recover.
From the colonisers who attempted to ‘civilise’ the islanders of Lewis in the sixteenth century through the great battles of the eighteenth century – Killiekrankie, Dunkeld, Sheriffmuir, Falkirk and Culloden – this is a unique exploration of many of the places and events which define a country’s history.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.