Rent

Jamie and Claire set off with Dougal and co. to collect rents from Clan MacKenzie tenants.

As the group sets off from Castle Leoch, we are introduced to two new characters. One is young Willie, out on first road trip. The other is Ned Gowan, a lawer who has been solely entrusted by Colum to oversee the collection of taxes.

Claire is curious how Ned has come to work for Colum. We learn that, after graduating from Edinburgh  University, Ned had been bored and sought a job with more adventure. He explains how the Colum’s father, Jacob, offered him his position providing the excitement he wanted in a highlands much less civilised than now.

The men are treating Claire with some contempt. They are ignoring her, speaking Gaelic, and pointing at her and laughing. While consoling herself with the fact that she will soon be at the stones, and away from them, Jamie comes over to comfort her. He offers her a bannock and tells her she is not hated. He adds that he doesn’t consider her a spy, but adds that he does think that she is hiding something. She claims to tired and goes to bed.

Baile Gean Township at the Highland Folk Museum
Baile Gean Township at the Highland Folk Museum

The next we see everyone, they have arrived at a village and Ned is collecting clan taxes. Bored, Claire wanders off. Hearing singing she walks in its direction, meeting Donalda Gilchrest who explains that the singing is the waulking song and that they are waulking the wool. Claire introduces herself and says that she is with the MacKenzies. Seeing that Claire is idle Donalda offers to give her something to fill her time.

A group of women are sitting at a large table, singing and beating rolled up cloth. Donalda introduces Claire, say that she will be helping them with their work. Claire watches as Donalda pours a bucket of a horrendously smelly liquid over the cloth. Donalda explains that it’s hot piss, and that it helps set the dye. Claire sits down and joins the women at their efforts.

Inside home at Highland Folk Museum
Inside a home at Highland Folk Museum

Claire works and talks and drinks with the women. She asks them about Craigh na Dun. They say that it is associated with fairies, and that it is three days journey away. However, before she can find out any more Angus appears and angrily drags Claire back to the middle of the village.

Later that night Dougal makes a speech to the village. He is passing out drinks and thanking them for paying their taxes. However he also has other plans. He makes a passionate speech in Gaelic, then violently rips Jamie’s shirt off, exposing his scarred back. As intended this inspires donations from many of the clansfolk. Murtagh is however not happy. Knowing that they are up to something underhand, Claire is equally unimpressed.

Over the next weeks, Ned and co. continue to travel the MacKenzie lands collecting taxes, while Dougal continues to collect money for his own cause. Claire is frustrated. Despite all the time spent away from the castle she feels no closer to reaching Craigh na Dun.

On their rounds, Claire and MacKenzies come across the Watch. A family’s home and barn are being burned and their possessions taken. Murtagh explains that the Watch extort money from locals to prevent them from having their cattle stolen. He adds that the husband was believed to be a Redcoat sympathiser. Claire is upset, saying the actions of the Watch should not be allowed. Ned says that traitors will never be tolerated in Scotland. Meanwhile Dougal talks with the Watch, returning with chicken.

That evening, Claire comes into conflict with Angus. She makes it clear that a meal made from the stolen fowl offends her, calling them thieves. In reply, he draws his dagger, saying that he refuses to be judged by an “English whore”. Jamie tries to smooth the situation. He takes Claire aside saying that he agrees that Angus is a bastard. However she provoked him, and he advises her that she shouldn’t express her opinions about things she doesn’t understand.

That night Claire has a realisation.  Listening to Dougal give his speech, some of the Gaelic words, including ‘Stuart’, remind her of conversations between Reverend Wakefield and Frank about the Jacobite uprising. The reverend had explained how highlanders were recruited by Bonnie Prince Charlie to raise funds for the Jacobite cause. Dougal is one of those highlanders.

Later Claire hears Jamie arguing with Dougal. Jamie is unhappy with the way that his uncle is using his scars to collect donations for his cause. Dougal, however expect Jamie to do his bidding as long as they are on the road. Jamie has no choice in the matter. After Dougal has left, Claire goes over to Jamie and consoles him.

The next morning Claire sees the men differently, as rebels, not thieves. She is also concerned for them, knowing the outcome of the uprising. On their way to the next village they see two men hanging from cricifixes. The man have T for traitor carved into their skin, indicating that they were crucfied by the Redcoats. The men are cut down and buried. All this gives Dougal more with which to stir up the clansfolk that evening.

Later, while in bed, Claire hears a noise outside here room. She opens the door to find Jamie. He explains that the tavern is full of drunken men who may molest her, something that he expects she won’t welcome. She tells him it is appreciated, but unnecessary. He is persistent. She therefore invites him in. He refuses because it would appear scandalous, so she gives him a blanket so he can at least keep warm.

The next morning Claire joins the men for breakfast in the taproom. Dougal and most of the highlanders are filling one table, so she joins Ned at another. She explains to him that she now understands why they are collecting extra money. He warns her that she knows more than anyone would have expected. Claire is unmoved, replying that the British Army is far too powerful, and that they are raising funds for what is likely a lost cause. Ned remains determined in his view, saying that the will of the rebels will be enough to prevail over the British.

Ned and Claire’s conversation is cut short as fight breaks out. The MacKenzies fight the local clansmen. They are victorious, but there are plenty of injuries on both sides to keep Claire busy. She learns that the men were fighting to protect here honour, the locals having referred to her as whore. The MacKenzies are allowed to insult her, but they take offence at anyone else doing so. Claire is shocked.

Jamie informs Claire that they have a three-day ride ahead of them, across the Culloden Moor. This inspires her memory of Frank describing the marshy, exposed ground where the Jacobites faced the British Army, with swords against musket and cannon. Also, how the battle was over within a hour, the rebels losing 2,000 lives. She also remembers what came after the battle – how the clans were plundered and their lands sold off and how the wearing of tartan and speaking Gaelic were outlawed. It was the death of the Highlander way of life. And she remember the gravestone marked Clan MacKenzie.

Later at camp, Claire and Dougal have a heated exchange. Dougal says that he doesn’t believe that she is an Englishwoman from Oxfordshire, and that he and wants to know who she really is. Also, he is concerned about her strong political views, and that she is spreading doubt among the men. She explains this by saying she is only expressing her opinion in response to what she has learned while on the road. Dougal tells her that if she spills what she knows to the Redcoats that they will all be crucified in the manner they have recently seen. At that moment, the Redcoats appear, led by the officer they recently met at the first village.

The officer introduces himself as Lieutenant Jeremy Foster of his Majesty’s army. He asks if everything is okay and want to know Claires well-being. Dougal replies that it is none of his business. He states his position as MacKenzie war chief and brother of the clan laird, adding that they are on MacKenzie land. Unmoved, the soldier asks Claire if she is being kept against her will. Dougal has no choice but to await her answer.

 

Much of this episode was filmed at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, south of Inverness.