The 1745 Rising officially began on 19 August 1745 when Prince Charles Edward Stuart, ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, raised his father’s Standard at Glenfinnan and signalled the start of a campaign to restore his father’s throne.
Charles had landed on the west coast of Scotland at Loch nan Uamh in Moidart on 25 July. In the days leading up to the Raising of the Standard he had been waiting to find out if the Highland clans would join the fight. In Lochaber, everything depended on the support of Donald Cameron of Lochiel, as clans sympathetic to the cause pledged that they would join the cause if the Camerons fought alongside them.
When the Prince landed at Loch nan Uamh, Lochiel was occupied making improvements to the family estate at Achnacarry. He planned to plant a grand avenue of beech trees along the west bank of the River Arkaig on the approach to Achnacarry Castle. In the middle of this project MacDonald of Scotus arrived and announced that the Prince had landed in Lochaber. Lochiel instructed that the beech seedlings should be ‘heeled’ into a trench until he could recommence planting. Lochiel was reluctant to join the Rising and tried to persuade the Prince to return to France, but instead, the charismatic prince persuaded him to raise Clan Cameron in support. Lochiel arrived at Glenfinnan with 800 clansmen and joined other local clans such as MacDonald of Keppoch. Lochiel never returned to Achnacarry. He was injured at the Battle of Culloden and eventually escaped to France with the Prince on 20 September 1746. He died in exile there in 1748. Achnacarry house was destroyed by British Government troops during the reprisals that followed the defeat of the Jacobite army. All that remains of the original structure today is a fire place, but the beech trees flourished where they had been temporarily abandoned for the next 275 years.
As a thank you for donating to our campaign, you can claim this unique piece of Jacobite history as a reward for your generosity. Beechwood sourced from the famous Beech Avenue has been gifted to us by the current Lochiel, Chief of Clan Cameron. The wood will be fashioned into coasters exclusive to this campaign by master cabinet maker Peter Davis, in his workshop in Fort William.
To find out more about the trees watch our video: The Beechwood Avenue at Achnacarry & the 1745 Jacobite Rising - YouTube
Note: These trees are at the end of their natural lifespan and the wood has been sourced sustainably.