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Sun 9 August 2020
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Eilean Donan Castle at nightThe Macraes were the Constables of Eilean Donan Castle. Magnificently situated at the meeting of three lochs - Loch Long, Loch Alsh and Loch Duich - and enclosed by steep sided mountain shores, Eilean Donan today is one of the most romantic and easily recognised castles in Scotland. With its outline reflected in the waters of Loch Duich and the moody colours of the mountains and moorlands all around, it is to many people the idyll of a Scottish Highland castle.

Times past at Eilean Donan were not always peaceful. The castle as it stands today is, in fact, largely a restoration. In 1719, four years after the failed Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, a Jacobite force sailed from Spain. Owing to a storm, only two ships landed at Eilean Donan, disembarking the Earl of Seaforth - chief of the Clan Mackenzie - the Earl Marischal and the Marquis of Tullibardine with some three hundred Spanish troops and some Irish officers. They were joined by a few hundred Highlanders including Macraes, Rob Roy and a party of MagGregors.

The Battle of Glen Shiel by Peter TillemansWhile they encamped by the castle, waiting vainly for reinforcements to arrive, three Royal Navy warships sailed into the loch and destroyed Eilean Donan by means of a naval bombardment and the exploding of powder kegs set within the castle. The old kirk of Kintail on Loch Duich was also destroyed and neighbouring homesteads were sacked. On 10 June 1719, just two months after the landing, the rebellion was crushed at the Battle of Glen Shiel, just a few miles from Loch Duich, when government forces overwhelmed the Jacobites, dispersing the Highlanders and enforcing the surrender of the luckless Spaniards.

A contemporary account of the destruction of Eilean Donan has survived in the form of the logs of two of the Royal Navy ships involved in the action.

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Ships' Logs 1719
Read the original accounts of the attack on Eilean Donan.
read logs
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