Glenfinnan Monument & Visitor Centre
Glenfinnan Monument & Visitor Centre, Loch Shiel, Lochaber. Framed amid typically spectacular Highland scenery at the head of Loch Shiel with sweeping glens as a backdrop. There stands the poignant Glenfinnan Monument to the final Jacobite Rising. The lone kilted highlander atop the 18m high column surveys the land, where the Highland way of life was soon to be cruelly extinguished.
A Visitor Centre tells the full story of the ’45. Come along, take in the view and prepared to be stirred by this tumultuous chapter in Scotland’s history which could well have been a global turning point.
The Glenfinnan Monument is open for guided tours only, these will leave from the visitor centre. The tours are every 30 minutes and there are 6 people per tour.
What to See and Do: A new exhibition tells the story of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) and the final Jacobite Rising. If the dramatic Highland vistas and even more dramatic history have not already taken your breath away, climb the spiral staircase to the observation platform at the top and channel your inner ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’.
You should also be able to spot the equally impressive Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous for its starring role in the Harry Potter films, and on a good day, even Ben Nevis.
The Hidden History
The Glenfinnan Monument was designed by James Gillespie Graham and erected by Alexander Macdonald of Glenaladale in 1815, to commemorate the Jacobites who fought and fell during the 1745 uprising.
The history of the Glenfinnan Monument goes back to 19th August 1745. Prince Charles Edward Stuart, or ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ as he is more commonly known, came ashore on the banks of Loch Shiel on a small rowing boat. He had come to meet his army of supporters and to stake the claim of his father, James Francis Edward Stuart, the ‘Old Pretender’, to the throne of Great Britain and Ireland.
Charles arrives at Glenfinnan
Charles arrived at Glenfinnan with just 50 supporters. There was no one waiting for him. He began to despair but then the Highlanders appeared. After two days, there were 1,500 men. Cameron of Lochiel arrived with about 600 clansmen. MacDonald of Keppoch with about 350, and MacDonald of Morar with about 150. Satisfied that he had enough support to mount his rebellion, he climbed the hill behind where the Visitor Centre now stands and raised his father’s standard. And so the final Jacobite Rising was born.
With his target set on London, the Prince pursued his campaign further south to Derby. There in December 1745, in a room above a pub, Stuart relented after a heated argument with his closest advisors. It would all come to a bitter and bloody end the following year on 16 April 1746 at the battlefield of Culloden.
Stuart was never to return to Scotland. He was smuggled aboard a French frigate in September 1746, just a few months after his crushing defeat at Culloden. Today the Prince’s Cairn at Loch nan Uamh in Lochaber marks the spot where he last set foot on Scottish shores.
The erection of the monument was made possible when Thomas Telford built the road connecting Arisaig and Fort William in 1812. The monument was completed three years later. It was designed by James Gillespie Graham, a Dunblane-born architect famed for designing part of Edinburgh’s New Town. It was commissioned by Alexander Macdonald of Glenaladale, who came from a family with Jacobite sympathies.
NTS Information Centre
Tel: +44 (0)1397 722250
Site: all year, daily.
Visitor Centre: Gift/Book Shop, Exhibition and Cafe:
24 Mar – 31 Oct, daily, 10-5.
1 Jul to 31 Aug, Daily, 9.30-5
24 Mar – 10 Apr, daily, 10-5
11 Apr – 1 Jul, closed
2 Jul – 31 Oct, daily, 10-5.
1 Jul to 31 Aug, Daily, 9.30-5
Last tickets for the monument 30mins before closing.