as it moves inland, divides into two arms; the more southerly
is Loch Duich, at the head of which is Glen Shiel and the river
Shiel. Duich is a strikingly beautiful loch and one that has
much history associated
with it. This is the territory of the Clan MacRae who for many
years held the Loch Maree and the snow-capped Slioch (3,217
ft.) hereditary custodianship of these lands
as faithful retainers to the Seaforths. A MacRae was always
the Constable of the castle of Eilean Donan.
the 12th century the sturdy old walls of the castle guarded
the area where Loch Alsh divides into Loch Duich and Loch Long
and stands on its own rocky islet. It was joined to the land
by a strongly guarded causeway, and at each high tide the castle
was cut off by water. It was considered to be impregnable.
rising of 1715, one of James’s futile attempts to regain
his father’s throne, the castle was the
headquarters of a Jacobite force and from here they set out
for the battle of Sheriffmuir. Four years later the Stuart cause
was once more centred on Eilean Donan and the loch again rang
to the call to arms of a strong Highland force. This was in
1719 when Spain sent some four hundred soldiers to support the
Pretender’s cause. They occupied the old castle and began
their preparations for battle but were forestalled by the arrival
of an English warship squadron whose broadsides rapidly reduced
the old fortress to ruins.
castle remained a ruin until almost two centuries later when
it was restored by Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap, one of whose
ancestors had been appointed Constable in the 17th century.
Eilean Donan is thought to commemorate Saint Donan of Eigg who
went north into the land of the Picts,
despite warnings from St. Columba as to his probable fate, and
was murdered by Norsemen as a result.
Loch Duich, Scotland.
Loch Duich - 10x8 Print (25x20cm) by Robert Harding.
inhabited, the shores of Loch Duich are covered with recently
established plantations of coniferous trees, through which the
road to the Kyle
of Lochalsh rises and dips. Only small hamlets such as Dornie,
Inverinate and Kintail show along the loch shores as centres
of population and, at the narrow neck where Loch Long joins
Loch Duich, the ferry which formerly carried the traffic has
now been replaced by the Dornie Bridge. East of the head of
the loch, the National Trust for Scotland has control of fifteen
thousand acres of land
which includes the Five Sisters of Kintail and Bein Fhada (3,383
feet). The area comprises some of the finest scenery in the
To Lochs and Rivers