An extract from  "The Highlands in History" by C.R. MacKinnon of Dunakin  Published by Collins in 1961

The book was was given to me by  Pat Labistour 

 2006 was the fiftieth anniversary of the building of the cairn at Loch nan Uamh so perhaps the extract below is appropriate 

 

The book is dedicated to:-

The Patrons, Office Bearers and Members of the 

Forty-Five Association

 

 

 

"The Loch of the Caves"

 

......... On 19th September 1746, Charles arrived from "Cluny's Cage," that wonderful refuge on Ben Alder, accompanied by Lochiel, John Roy Stewart, and others. There they found L'Heureux, the French frigate that was to carry him to safety. All that day, the 19th, they embarked the refugees that were to accompany the Prince into exile., and on the 20th they sailed away from Scotland. The Prince never saw it again, except perhaps in the dreams which may have helped to mitigate the bitterness of  his later life.

         One can imagine the thoughts that may have filled Charles' mind as he stood aboard a French frigate again, and again gazed on the shores of lovely Loch nan Uamh, and recalled his first jubilant sight of these very shores. And one can imagine the full hearts of Cluny and the others who elected to remain in Scotland when they saw L'Heureux slip off into the dark hours of the 20th, before daybreak, carrying their beloved Prince away from them. Nothing remained but to try and dodge Cumberland, and await events---disastrous events for the Highlands as they proved to be.

         But the romantic story of Loch nan Uamh does not end here. Over two hundred years later, on 4th October, 1956, the loch witnessed a strange and moving sight. Just before eleven o'clock on that morning some two hundred people gathered on the small promontory on the shores of the Loch, which had been trodden so often by The Prince. But it was a different promontory now, for it was crowned with a cairn, the ancient Highland symbol of remembrance. The cairn was draped with the cross of Saint Andrew, and around it fluttered the banners of the loyal clans.

        To this scene at noon came Scotland's Lord High Constable, the Countess of Erroll. With her were Cameron of Lochiel, and the laird of Inverailort, descendant of the Cameron chieftans of Glendessary. It is a strange quirk of fate that only once before has Scotland's hereditary Lord High Constable been a woman-- and that was during the '45. As the Countess unveiled the cairn, its loving builder John MacKinnon of Arisaig played a piobaireachd in salute. So, later, did Angus MacPherson the doyen of Scottish pipers. a descendant of Cluny's piper, who hid with the Prince and Cluny in the "Cage" on Ben Alder.

        And, as an apt conclusion, Francis Cameron-Head, the laird of Inverailort, and the man who did most to get the cairn built by the Forty-Five association, played a tune "Prince Charlie's Farewell to Moidart". This was composed at the time of the Prince's final departure, and was known only to his family. It was the first time the tune had been played in public for two hundred and ten years.

         The driving rain did not damp the proceedings. The two hundred Jacobite descendants there had gathered from far and wide---from as far afield as Kentucky, U.S.A.--to see the cairn unveiled. This was no exhibition of maudlin sentimentality. As Seton Gordon has written, the Prince "was the means of showing the world that loyalty and devotion were, in the opinion of his followers, such noble ends that discomfort, pain, even death itself, were as nothing in comparison." That is why sober and industrious citizens of the modern world took time from their daily tasks to assemble on Loch nan Uamh.

   1745 Association Homepage

      Join the 1745 Association

   Annual Gathering 2008