15/16/17 - 08 - 2008 WEST HIGHLAND TOUR

Friday 15th August 2008
Meeting with the current Chief of Clan Cameron, Cameron of Locheil

Arriving at Achnacarry at 3pm, we found the Clan Chief Donald Cameron waiting outside the museum on our arrival, where we were warmly greeted.
Being friends of Locheil, Lachlan and Amber introduce the rest of the group to the chief, who presents himself as a quiet, pleasant, grey haired man of average size, who is unfortunately confined to a wheel chair. After a brief conversation, Donald or Locheil as he prefers to be called lead us into the museum and begins to tell us the story of the history of his clan.
The museum itself was part of the original house which was destroyed because of the clan?s involvement in supporting Charles Edward Stewart in the uprising of 1745, by the British/Hanoverian troops. The building is in the style of a cotter house and has been white washed on the outside, lucky enough our party is quite small as with all the exhibits etc there is not a great deal of room to move, as the inside of the house is long and narrow.
Locheil lead us through the exhibits giving us a brief, but interesting history lesson on them and answering various questions the group fire at him. Although the museum is quite small in comparison to some, it is full of a wealth of knowledge relating to the clan Cameron from its origins to the present day and is well worth a visit.
As our tour of the museum came to an end we ended up in a wee room just off the entrance where we all chatted some more. Being a special occasion of being in the presence of an ancestor of the Gentle Locheil, I offered him a wee dram out of an original Jacobite Glass circa 1750, which I had brought with me. I broke the seal on the Gaelic Malt and we all took it in turns to toast from the glass.
As our meeting with Locheil comes to an end, Locheil told us outside about the Beech trees which were planted by the Gentle Locheil in 1745. The seeds where cast into the ground in a row when he had heard of the Princes arrival in Scotland. The trees were just left to grow where the seeds were thrown into the ground, pointing in the direction of the trees, there is still evidence of the trees to this day.
Before leaving ?The Locheil? we posed for a group photo and thanked him kindly for his hospitality by taking the time to meet and speak with us. We parted ways all content at having had the experience and meeting with Locheil.

?A special thanks to Lachlan and Amber for organising the meeting?

Also a special thanks on behalf of Crann Tara to Locheil for his hospitality, taking the time to meet and entertain us.

Locheil drinks a toast with Lachlan looking on
Crann Tara members with Locheil
Brian with Locheil
Lachlan toasts Locheil
Saturday 16th August 2008
9am Due to the same people being there as the previous day it was decided that another visit to Achnacarry wasn?t required, so instead we set out to discover High Bridge from the side nearest to the Commando Monument at Spean Bridge, instead of the usual route. This idea was also to give others time to appear should they have been held up or late. There is no real pathway down to the gorge from this side so crossing a field seemed the best option, following sheep trails to avoid the bog etc. As described in various books relating to Highbridge, the area around the bridge was densely over grown with trees, this still remains the case and a view of the bridge is very difficult. As you come within 50 yards of the bridge the land begins to drop steeply towards the gorge, footing can be dangerous particularly when it is wet underfoot. Because of the trees and the other over growth the bridge from this side is still vey hard to see even though you are just about upon it. Particular care needs to be taken on this side of the bridge as it seems less stable. There is a better view of the original Wades road from this side of the bridge though and a vision of where the redcoat soldiers under the command of Captain John Scott and Captain James Thomson came from. We must have actually been standing near the spot where a sergeant and another man from Sinclair?s Royal Scot Regiment were captured by the small Jacobite party at the time of the skirmish at Highbridge prior to the raising of the Standard at Glenfinnan. This was after the regiment started hearing the bagpipes in the vicinity of the bridge and then seeing highlanders jumping and leaping among the rocks on the other side, the red-coated soldiers halted before crossing the bridge. After discussion the sergeant and the other man, who is unknown, were ordered to approach the bridge to try and find out the possible strength of the Jacobite force, but before they got any distance at all their enemy sprang from behind trees and before anyone knew what was going on they were hurried across the bridge out of sight. At the same moment the piper skirled out another unearthly Piobroch and the highlanders began leaping among the bushes etc like wild cats making it appear that they were going to make a desperate rush. In anticipation that this was about to happen the soldiers of the Sinclair?s Royal Scots high tailed it back along the road that they had just travelled, all the way back to Fort Augustus leaving the two captives behind.
After taking a few pics we made our way back the Commando Monument trying to find an alternative route, but one was just as bad as the other. Eventually arriving back at the monument, it was swarming with tourists and after speaking with a few of them and giving a wee brief history lesson we decided to move on. By now it was approximately 10.30am and with no one else appearing we altered the tour to suit ourselves missing out some of the places we had seen before.
We moved directly down to the ruins of Fassiefern House, this was the site where Charles Edward Stewart stayed after the raising of the Standard at Glenfinnan on the route to meet Cope at the Corrieyairack. It is also the place where The Prince picked the wild rose, which became the symbol of the Jacobites.
Due to the Highland Games being on at Glenfinnan, we decided to pass through and head for Borrodale House instead. Borrodale House is on the north side of Loch Nan Uamh where the Prince landed after sailing from Eriskay and here he stayed from the 4th to the 11th of August 1745 with Angus MacDonald as during the time of the 45 it was owned by the Clanrannald. It was from here that he wrote letters to various Clan Chiefs and friends summoning them to muster at Glenfinnan. The house that is there today stands in the place of the original, which was burnt down in 1746 by the Hanoverian army. Curious to find out more information I knocked on the door, the house today is leased for self catering accommodation, so there was a good chance of a tenant being in residence. Answering the door was a very pleasant man who when told what I was there for was more than helpful. He showed us a copy of the letter from Clunie with his intention to join the Prince?s army and a framed document which related to the history of the house. Before leaving he made us aware and directed us to the Prince?s cave, where it was believed he stayed while in hiding after Culloden. Following his direction we went in search of the cave, it did take a bit of finding, but we got there eventually.
Leaving Borrodale House behind we headed a couple of miles west to The Prince?s cairn at Loch Nan Uamh, meaning ?Loch of the Cave?, this is where the Prince and a few others eventually left for France leaving the failed Jacobite cause behind. The cairn which stands at the end of a path on the rugged shoreline was erected by the 1745 Association to mark the spot on October 4th 1956.
After speaking with numerous tourists who were curious by what we were doing we headed for Kinloid Farm Arisaig where we camped for the night. Although the campsite is few miles inland it has spectacular views over the mountain ranges on the Isle of Skye. It was also one of the few campsites that I have been on that the owner didn?t mind you having a wee fire. As we had previously eaten in and around the tent, we decided to treat ourselves to a meal out at the Arisaig Hotel where the food was excellent. To walk it off we had a slow quiet walk round the marina at Arisaig then returned to the camp where we enjoyed the views and a wee drink around the fire. The piece and quiet was temporarily disturbed, but it was in a pleasant way for a change!!! It was the sound of the Jacobite Steam train which runs from Mallaig to Fort William. Funny as it may seem but the sound of the steam engine chuffing and puffing was quite therapeutic as it made its way along the track. As the campsite was in within throwing distance of the train we were greeted with sound of the engines whistle and the waving of all the passengers to the delight of the boys. After the excitement we settled down to our wee dram again and invited the folk from the two other tents to join us, a relaxing end to a day.
Highbridge through the trees
A view of the gorge from the bridge
The decaying bridge
The remains of Wades Road to the bridge
Information board at Fassiefern
What remains of Fassiefern House
The Cairn at Loch Nan Uamh
Over looking Loch Nan Uamh Bay
Borrodale House
The Bay near Borrodale House where the Prince came ashore
The hidden entrance to the Princes Cave
Connor at the Cave entrance
A view from within
The cave opens up inside
View of the Cullins from the camp
The Jacobite Steam Train
Views from the Arisaig marina
Enjoying a wee dram at the camp fire

The West Highland Tour Day 3
Sunday 17th August 2008

As this was our last day and we still had a few things to see, it was decided to make a half reasonable early start to the morning. With the weather forecast predicting rain we were surprised that the skies above were blue, which they had basically been through out.
Heading back towards Glenfinnan there is a turn off at Lochailort on the A861, this takes you down to Glenuig Bay in Moidart, this is where Charles Edward landed after sailing the short distance from Loch Nan Uamh crossing the entrance to Loch Ailort. After he landed on the shore here the locals danced with joy at his arrival. From Glenuig the Prince preceded over the hill to Caolas on Loch Moidart, mean while Clanranalds men made the more circular route by land from Borrodale to Kinlochmoidart , we followed the route of the Prince which follows the A861. The Prince back then took a small rowing boat to the head of Loch Moidart to Kinlochmoidart House, this is the very heart of Clanranald country almost within sight of the Chief?s ancient stronghold, Castle Tioram. On the way to Kinlochmoidart House on the A861 we stop at the roadside to another commemorative cairn erected by the 1745 Association, this time to the ?Seven Men of Moidart?. These were the seven men who had accompanied Charles Edward since he had left France. They were Sir Thomas Sheridan, Colonel John William O?Sullivan, William Murray, Sir John MacDonald, Francis Strickland, Parson John Kelly and Aeneas MacDonald. A few hundred yards towards Loch Moidart there are seven beech trees planted in the meadow to commemorate the seven men, unfortunately due to storms two of the seven trees have been partially destroyed.
After relating a wee bit of history to some tourists we drove the short distance to Kinlochmoidart House this is where Charles stayed prior to heading up Loch Sheil to Glenaladale and then on to Glenfinnan. The present day house stands on the site of the original, like so many others it was destroyed by the Hanoverians during the 45 for siding with the Stewarts. There is a fine avenue of trees which were there in the Princes time. This house like Borrodale is also open for private lease, with some one in residence I asked if they knew anything regarding the history and if they didn?t mind if I took a few pics, it turned out that I ended up giving them a wee history lesson.
Satisfied with what we had seen we headed back along the A861 and A830 to Glenfinnan, here we went to the spot where the Standard was believed to have been raised in 1745. This site was only uncovered when a hill fire uncovered the flat tablet on which inscriptions are carved indicating that the ceremony and raising of the standard took place there. The inscriptions can still be read in Latin and can be translated approximately as follows :
?1745, In the name of the Lord, here the Standards of Charles Edward Stuart, triumphing at last?.
There are also footprints carved indicating the stance of the Marquis of Tullibardine and the socket of the Standard of the Prince and of Hugh MacDonald, Vicar of the Highlands, who blessed the Standard.
Ending our visit to Glenfinnan, we took a few pictures and had a wee look into the visitors centre.
As our tour came to an end there was one additional place we visited, the MacPherson museum in Newtonmore. With the road taking us back along Spean Bridge to Laggan to where we had basically started our adventure we were reminiscing about the tour we had started in the area only a few days before when we walked over the Corrieyairack Pass, but like all good things they have to come to and end, but we can look forward to the next one.

By Jim Singer

Glenuig Bay where the Prince came ashore from Borrodale
Glenuig Bay lookig towards Arisaig
Glenuig Bay looking towards the Cullins
The Seven Men of Moidart
The Plaque
The Seven Trees in the Meadow
The Kinlochmoidart House
Old House at Glenfinnan
The spot where Hugo MacDonald allegedly stood
The Stone Tablet uncovered by the heath fire
Brian and Connor at the spot where the Standard was allegedly raised
Engraved words on Stone tablet
The spot where the Marquis of Tullibardine allegedly stood
A view down Glen Sheil with the Monument to the fore

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� Crann Tara 2006