(Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Fhionghain) is a village in Lochaber area of the Highlands of Scotland. In 1745 the Jacobite Rising began here when Prince Charles Edward Stuart (“Bonnie Prince Charlie”) raised his standard on the shores of Loch Shiel. Seventy years later the 18-metre-high (60 ft) Glenfinnan Monument – at the head of the loch – was erected to commemorate the historic event.
Prince Charles initially landed from France on Eriskay in the Western Isles. He then travelled to the mainland in a small rowing boat, coming ashore at Loch nan Uamh just west of Glenfinnan. On arrival on the Scottish mainland, he was met by a small number of MacDonalds. Stuart waited at Glenfinnan for a number of days as more MacDonalds, Camerons, Macfies and MacDonnells arrived.
On Monday 19 August 1745, after Prince Charles judged he had enough military support, he climbed the hill near Glenfinnan as MacMaster of Glenaladale raised his royal standard. The Young Pretender then announced to all the mustered clans he claimed the Scottish and the English thrones in the name of his father James Stuart (‘the Old Pretender’). A MacPhee (Macfie) was one of two pipers with Bonnie Prince Charlie when he raised his banner above Glenfinnan. Afterwards brandy was distributed to the assembled highlanders to celebrate the occasion.
Eight months later Charles Stuart’s claim to the thrones of Scotland and England ended in failure at Culloden on the 16 April 1746. Many Macfies, who came from Glenfinnan, followed Donald Cameron of Lochiel on the right flank of the Jacobite Army at the battle.
Charles Stuart returned to the area after Culloden during his flight to evade the government troops of Prince William, Duke of Cumberland. After being hidden by loyal supporters, he boarded a French frigate on the shores of Loch nan Uamh close to where he had landed and raised his standard the previous year. The Young Pretender died in Rome in 1788 after never setting foot on Scottish soil again. The Prince’s Cairn now marks the spot from where he departed into exile.
The Unknown Highlander
In 1815, the Jacobite cause was no longer a political threat. Alexander Macdonald of Glenaladale, a minor branch of the Clan Donald, built a memorial tower at Glenfinnan to commemorate the raising of the standard of the Young Pretender. The tower was designed by the Scottish architect James Gillespie Graham. The statue of an anonymous highlander (referred to at the point of commission as Charles Edward Stewart), by John Greenshields, was not added until 1835.
The monument’s location at Glenfinnan was made possible because in 1812 a new road – built by Thomas Telford – opened between Fort William to Arisaig.
Since 1938, the Glenfinnan Monument has been in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. The Trust have also constructed a visitor centre, which provides tickets, information and exhibitions, and a shop, cafe, and toilets. The tower has also become a monument to Alexander Macdonald, who died before its completion. Hundreds of Jacobite enthusiasts gather at the tower each year on 19 August to remember the Rising of ’45.
Glenfinnan lies about halfway between Fort William and Mallaig on the picturesque West Highland Railway. Along with a regular rail service by First ScotRail, the line is used by the Jacobite Steam Train.
Sir Robert McAlpine had the Glenfinnan Viaduct constructed between 1897 and 1898. The structure, which is built entirely out of concrete, has 21 arches with spans of 15 m (49 ft) and reaches a height of 30 m (100 ft) above the valley. To commemorate the viaduct’s centenary in 1997, a plaque was unveiled at the base of one of its arches.
The landscape in which the viaduct is located has made it popular with film producers. In 1969, it was used in Ring of Bright Water, starring Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna. It has since come to prominence in the cinematic releases of the Harry Potter series. The Hogwarts Express, which is the Jacobite Steam Train, is filmed crossing the viaduct in several of the films beginning with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002.
Loch Shiel Cruises on the classic 1940 ex-admiralty harbour launch offers you the opportunity to penetrate one of Britain’s few remaining wilderness areas. There are regular sightings of Golden and White-Tailed Eagles, Black-Throated Divers, Red Deer and a variety of Rare Wildlife. Loch Shiel Cruises
Accessible only by boat, the eighteen-mile length of Loch Shiel, once a sea-loch but reshaped by the retreating glaciers of the last Ice Age, contains a wide variety of wildlife amidst stunning mountain scenery.
Loch Shiel Cruises are operated by friendly, knowledgeable local people who provide live commentary on the trip. The Sileas has a bar and also offers tea, coffee and light refreshments. Meals and snacks are available at each end of the loch at Glenfinnan and Acharacle.
(Scottish Gaelic: Ceann Loch Ailleart) is a hamlet in Scotland that lies at the head of Loch Ailort, a sea loch, on the junction of the Road to the Isles (A830) between Fort William and Mallaig with the A861 loop towards Salen and Strontian. It is served by Lochailort railway station on the West Highland Line. Nearby is Lochailort Inn, a public house, and Our Lady of the Braes, a small Roman Catholic church that was consecrated in 1874 but little used since 1964 as Sunday Mass is celebrated in the chapel at Inverailort House which is located on the opposite side of the loch.
The wife of the owner of Inverailort House, Christian Cameron, was a keen photographer in the late 19th Century. She took many photographs of the house and surrounding area but most of the glass plates were lost or destroyed when the military took over the house during WWII but the surviving photographs have been published in a book. Christian Cameron is said to have died of a broken heart after much of the contents of the house were badly damaged by the army when they emptied it.
The house was requisitioned by the War Office at the end of May 1940 for use in the training of irregular forces as the Special Training Centre. Initially this was operated by MI(R) but became part of Combined Operations. Many techniques of guerilla and irregular warfare were developed there and training techniques which were adopted for Commando training as well as Achnacarry Castle. SOE training was centred on nearby Arisaig House. The army moved out of the house on 20 August 1942 and, after taken over by the Royal Navy, subsequently became HMS Lochailort and was used for the training of naval cadet ratings to be officers on small craft used by Combined Operations. The Royal Navy moved out in January 1945.
The village and nearby buildings have appeared in films such as Local Hero, Breaking the Waves and Complicity. The main businesses in the area are tourism and salmon farming in the loch.
(Scottish Gaelic: Àrasaig) is a village in Lochaber, Inverness-shire, on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. The word Arisaig means “the safe place” in the Scottish Gaelic language.
On 20 September 1746 Bonnie Prince Charlie left Scotland for France from a place near the village following the failure of the Jacobite rising of 1745. The site of his departure is marked by the Prince’s Cairn, located at Loch nan Uamh to the east of Arisaig. In 1770 the Scottish Gaelic poet Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair died in Arisaig and was buried in the village’s Roman Catholic cemetery. Emigrants from this area founded Arisaig, Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1785.
During the Second World War the area was taken over by the Special Operations Executive to train agents for missions in Occupied Europe. Arisaig House, along with many others, was used as a training school. The Land, Sea and Islands Centre in the village has a display on the connection between the SOE and Arisaig.
On 11 November 2009 a memorial to Czech and Slovak soldiers, who trained as SOE agents between 1943 and 1945, was unveiled in Arisaig.
Arisaig lies on the A830, which leads to Mallaig to the north and Fort William to the east. The village is served by Arisaig railway station on the West Highland Line, which connects the village to Mallaig and Fort William. It is the most westerly station on the British mainland.
A small passenger ferry sails from Arisaig to the Small Isles of Eigg, Muck and Rùm. The main CalMac service to the Small Isles operates from Mallaig.
There are some beautiful walks around Arisaig, please ask hotel staff for advice, and we also have a range of OS mups for purchase.