Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 11 - The drive to Skye takes us through the Glennfinnan Monument, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the Jacobite Standard

We wake for a Scottish breakfast at our hotel, the Alexandra Hotel.

Part of the very fabric of Fort William, since 1876, The Alexandra Hotel provides traditional Scottish Hospitality at its best, located in the centre of Fort William, an ideal base to explore the Highlands and Islands.

After breakfast we attend the Remembrance Day Ceremony held out the back of the Alexandra.

Following the ceremony we drive to the Isle of Skye.

The drive takes us through Glennfinnan, a chilling moment as we understand where we are standing. Every Scot needs to visit this site.

Glnfinnan (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, including Donn Lovett, 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.

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, which is surmounted by a statue of an anonymous Highlander, was designed by the Scottish architect James Gillespie Graham. 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 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.

Directly across the road from the Glennfinnan Monument is the place where scenes from the Harry Potter fils were shot. Notably the Hogwarts train crossing the bridge.

Leaving the monument, a very short drive up the hill on the left we discover a marvelous church, St. Mary and St. Finnan, Glenfinnan.

The church was consecrated in 1873. Designed by E Welby Pugin in the Gothic style, the church enjoys an elevated and commanding position overlooking Loch Shiel with a spectacular view of the loch and surrounding hills. The church is a memorial chapel to the MacDonalds of Glenaladale, the family with whom Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed prior to the raising of the Jacobite standard at Glenfinnan in August 1745. The church contains a memorial to the Prince and headstones of members of the MacDonald family. Near the altar is the burial place of Father Donald MacDonald, the first parish priest, also one of the family who built the church.

We depart the church and drive the rest of the way to Mallaig, where we will catch the ferry to Skye.

Mallaig  i/ˈmælɪɡ/; (Scottish Gaelic: Malaig [ˈmal̪ˠɛkʲ]) is a port in Lochaber, on the west coast of the Highlands of Scotland. The local railway station,Mallaig, is the terminus of the West Highland railway line (Fort William & Mallaig branch), completed in 1901, and the town is linked to Fort William by the A830 road – the "Road to the Isles".

The village of Mallaig was founded in the 1840s, when Lord Lovat, owner of North Morar Estate, divided up the farm of Mallaigvaig into seventeen parcels of land and encouraged his tenants to move to the western part of the peninsula and turn to fishing as a way of life. The population and local economy expanded rapidly in the 20th century with the arrival of the railway. Ferries operated by Caledonian MacBrayne and Bruce Watt Sea Cruises sail from the port to Armadale on the Isle of Skye, Inverie in Knoydart, and to the isles of Rùm, Eigg, Muck, and Canna. Mallaig is the main commercial fishing port on the West Coast of Scotland, and during the 1960s was the busiest herring port in Europe. Mallaig prided itself at that time on its famous traditionally smoked kippers but today only one traditional smokehouse remains, Jaffy's and Sons. Mallaig and the surrounding area is a popular area for holidays.

The majority of the community speaks English, with a minority of residents speaking in both English and Gaelic. In addition, traditional Gaelic is still taught in the school to pupils who choose to learn the subject.

Prior to catching the ferry, we stop for a late lunch at the Mission cafe. Very good home-cooked food, served by wonderful, friendly people. The Mission Bunkhouse in Mallaig offers simple hostel accommodation right opposite the train station.

We board the small ferry to Skye for a 40 minute trip.

We arrive on Skye and make the trip to Dunvegan through the darkened sky, reaching our destination, the Laundry Cottage at Dunvegan Castle.

The Laundry Castle was built in 1734, originally the Estate Factor's house, then the Castle laundry.

1 comment:

  1. I love these blog entries with the history of the area. Thanks for sharing