Tour Scotland Photograph Boathouse Loch Arkaig

Tour Scotland photograph of a boathouse by Loch Arkaig, Lochaber, Scotland. The treasure of Loch Arkaig, sometimes known as the Jacobite gold, was a large amount of coins provided by Spain to finance the Jacobite rising in Scotland in 1745, and rumoured still to be hidden at Loch Arkaig. However, getting this money to the rebel army was the difficulty. The first instalment, sent via Charles' brother Henry who was resident in France, was dispatched in 1745. The French sloop Hazard (renamed the Prince Charles) successfully landed its monies on the west coast of Scotland. Unfortunately for the Jacobites, the riches were soon captured by Clan Mackay, who were loyal to King George II, in the Skirmish of Tongue. In April 1746, the ships Mars and Bellona arrived in Scotland with more funds. However, on learning of the Jacobite defeat at the Battle of Culloden on 16 April, the ships left, unloading only the Spanish money at Loch nan Uamh, Arisaig on 30 April, the same place from where the prince had disembarked the year before, and would later embark for France. Thus, seven caskets of Spanish gold arrived in Scotland. As the Jacobite cause was by then lost, with the army scattered and the prince and his lieutenants in hiding, the money was to be used to assist the Jacobite clansmen who were then being subjected to the brutalities of the government forces of the Duke of Cumberland, and to facilitate the escape of leading Jacobites to the continent. Six caskets, one having been stolen by McDonald of Barrisdale's men, were brought to Loch Arkaig, just north of Fort William, and hidden. Their secret was entrusted to Murray of Broughton, one of the Jacobite fugitives. Murray began the distribution to clan chiefs, but when he was apprehended by the government, and later turned state's evidence, the treasure was entrusted first to Lochiel, the chief of Clan Cameron, and then to Macpherson of Cluny, head of Clan Macpherson. Cluny was hiding in a cave at Ben Alder, and when Charles briefly joined him there, Cluny had control of the money, which was still hidden at Arkaig. Charles finally escaped Scotland in the French frigate L'Heureux and arrived back in France in September 1746. However, the fate of the money is not known.

All photographs are copyright of Sandy Stevenson, Tour Scotland, and may not be used without permission.

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