A war grave site at Culloden Battlefield is to undergo repairs after unprecedented visitor numbers - led by a mass of Outlander fans - left the ground bare.

The move to protect the Clan Fraser memorial stone comes just weeks after obsessed fans of the hit time-travelling TV series were asked to respect the battlefield.

The Battle of Culloden, near Inverness, features heavily in the cult hit series about a time-traveling World War II nurse transported to Scotland during the Jacobite uprising.


But one local historian renewed pleas for fans to respect the site after claiming some tourists are treating it like a "film set rather than a war grave."

READ MORE: Selfie-mad Outlander fans asked to respect Culloden war graves

The National Trust for Scotland has now applied to Historic Environment Scotland (HES) for permission to repair the turf surface, as the site is a designated scheduled monument.

Katey Boal, interim property manager at Culloden, said: "As part of our ongoing maintenance at the battlefield, we're planning to reseed grass around the Fraser stone.

"Footfall is a factor here, but the wet and cold weather this winter has exacerbated this.

"There has been an increase in interest thanks to Outlander.

"We see this as an excellent opportunity to engage with a new audience, giving these visitors a deeper insight into the real life events that inspired the series."

Alasdair MacNeill, of the Circle of Gentlemen - the once-secret group set up in the aftermath of the rebellion - said he appreciates the increase in visitors.

But he warned it is having an impact on the site.

He said: "These graves are only a foot deep. We really would ask that people respect what is a designated war grave where 1,200 men lie.

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"Some of the things I have seen at Culloden have really got my back up. A lot the visitors are American and seem to think they are on a film set rather than a war grave.

"They maybe don't know the history. But how would they feel if I walked my dog across Gettysburg?"


Fans often leave little cardboard cutouts of Sam Heughan, the Scottish actor who stars as Jacobite warrior Jamie Fraser in the drama, and leave the path to gather at the grave.

Ms Boal admitted it was hard to estimate how many visitors were Outlander fans.

READ MORE: Selfie-mad Outlander fans asked to respect Culloden war graves

But she welcomed the fact that more than 180,000 people flocked to the battlefield last year - up 28% on 2016.

She said: "The vast majority of visitors conduct themselves completely appropriately and treat the site and its features with respect.

"Where there are concerns, our staff always try to deal sensitively with issues as they arise.

"Throughout the peak visitor season staff are on the battlefield regularly throughout the day and, of course, there are signs making it clear that this is a war grave."

HES that it had been in talks with NTS about the damage around the Clan Fraser memorial, and that repairs would start soon.

READ MORE: Hopes that lost soldiers' grave at Culloden has been discovered

A spokesman said: "We were recently approached by the owners of the site, the NTS, regarding concerns about the ground conditions around the memorial and its erosion due to visitor numbers and increasingly wet conditions.

"We provided the trust with advice gained from our own experience of similar conditions at our managed sites.

"We recently granted Scheduled Monument Consent to the trust, which is required for any works to a scheduled monument. This will enable repairs to get under way."