This week in 1745: The prince sets up HQ at Borrodale House

Borrodale House today. NO F32 Borrodale House

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Today, Borrodale House is a handsome, three-storey house close to the viaduct at Loch nam Uamh.

It can sleep 16 lucky guests who can take a 10-minute stroll to the lochside to enjoy fine views of the head of the loch to the east and out towards Ardnamurchan point to the west.

But what links this genteel holiday let to our weekly timeline of the turbulent events of the 1745 rising?

In a clue to its importance in Jacobite history, the original house burned down in 1746 – after Culloden. It was rebuilt in the late 18th and early 19th century, and is now B-listed.

In 1864 the renowned English Arts and Crafts architect, Philip Webb, converted the derelict house into two buildings, one for the factor and one for the coachman. It was to be his only work in Scotland.

By this time, Borrodale House had been relegated to the status of home farm to the Arisaig estate, and is described by Canmore, the record of the historic environment, as a: ‘Polite, but plain, Georgian tacksman’s house’.

But back in 1745, Borrodale House was to play a pivotal role in the rising, serving as both Bonnie Prince Charlie’s living quarters and the headquarters of the fledgling Jacobite rising.

Today you can stand lochside and drink in the historic events, imagining the Du Teillay at anchor and the Prince coming ashore here by visiting the Prince’s Cairn, not far from Borrodale.

The house was owned by Clanranald himself, and let to Angus MacDonald of Borrodale. While the Prince stayed at Borrodale House, most of his men stayed at Kinlochmoidart House.

The last few days of July and the first few of August had been spent on the Du Teillay on covert operations, sending out messages and receiving key players for meetings about the fledgling rising.

The 1745 portrait of Prince Charles Edward Stuart by the artist Allan Ramsay. Photograph courtesy of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. NO-F08-Charles Edward Stuart
The 1745 portrait of Prince Charles Edward Stuart by the artist Allan Ramsay. Photograph courtesy of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
NO-F08-Charles Edward Stuart

Then, on August 4, to emphasise his own resolve and to impress the waverers, the Prince ordered the Du Teillay to sail back to France. She weighed anchor and departed that day.

There is a description of the Prince’s welcome at Borrodale House in the Lockhart Papers: ‘HRH being seated in a proper place, had a full view of all our company, the whole neighbourhood without distinction of age or sex, crouding [sic] in upon us to see the P.

‘After we had all eaten plentifully and drunk chearfully [sic], HRH drunk the grace drink in English, which most of us understood.’

The Prince’s Cairn

John McCulloch, of the 1745 Association, told us: ‘The Prince’s Cairn marks the traditional spot from where Prince Charles Edward Stuart embarked for France from Scotland on September 20, 1746, following the failure of the Jacobite rising of 1745.

The cairn is located on the shores of Loch nan Uamh in Lochaber. It was erected in 1956 by the 1745 Association, a historical society dedicated to the study, recording
and preservation of the memories of the Jacobite period.’


Borrodale House today. Photograph courtesy of

NO F32 Borrodale House