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Gaelic: Achadh na Cairidh
Memorial to Commandos Achnacarry Highlands - panoramio.jpg
Achnacarry Commando Memorial
Grid reference: NN176877
Location: 56°56’43"N, 4°59’53"W
Post town: Fort William
Postcode: PH34
Local Government
Council: Highland
Ross, Skye and Lochaber

Achnacarry is a small hamlet, private estate, and a castle in the Lochaber region of Inverness-shire. It occupies a strategic position on an isthmus between Loch Lochy to the east, and Loch Arkaig to the west. The name is from the Gaeilc Achadh na Cairidh, meaning 'field of the fish-trap/weir'.

The settlement has a long association with Clan Cameron, Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel built the original Achnacarry Castle in about 1655. This was destroyed by government troops after the Battle of Culloden, but "New Achnacarry" was built near the same site in Scottish Baronial style in 1802. It was used as a Commando Training Depot in World War II and the village retains close ties to British Commandos, the United States Army Rangers and similar units from other Allied nations. In 1928, the Achnacarry Agreement was signed, an early attempt to set petroleum production quotas.


Achnacarry is not far from the village of Spean Bridge and about 15 miles north of the town of Fort William.

"As you approach Achnacarry, which lies rather low, but is surrounded by very fine trees, the luxuriance of the tangled woods, surmounted by rugged hills, becomes finer and finer till you come to Loch Arkaig, a little over half a mile from the house. This is a very lovely loch, reminding one of Loch Katrine, especially where there is a little pier, from which we embarked on board a very small but nice screw steamer which belongs to Cameron of Lochiel."—Royal Visit to Achnacarry, from the Journal of Queen Victoria, Friday, 12 September 1873.


In 1665 the Stand-off at the Fords of Arkaig took place near Achnacarry, which saw the Camerons finally end their 360-year feud with the Chattan Confederation led by the Clan Mackintosh.[1]

Achnacarry Castle

Main article: Achnacarry Castle

Achnacarry Castle is the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan Cameron, located at Achnacarry, about 15 miles north-east of Fort William near the foot of Loch Arkaig. The original castle was built around 1655 and destroyed after the Battle of Culloden in 1746; a new house in Scottish baronial style was built nearby in 1802.

Clan Cameron

The Chiefs of the Clan Cameron have maintained homes at Achnacarry since about 1655. The castle itself is not open to the public but visitors are welcome at the Clan Cameron Museum about a quarter-mile from the castle.[2] The current Chief of Clan Cameron, traditionally known simply as "Lochiel", Donald Cameron of Lochiel, continues to live in Achnacarry.

In August 2001, Achnacarry served as the site of the International Gathering of Clan Cameron, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Colonel Sir Donald Hamish Cameron of Lochiel, K.T., XXVI Chief of Clan Cameron. It also hosted the International Gathering of Clan Cameron in the summer of 2009.[3]

Clan Cameron Museum

The Clan Cameron Museum is located in a cottage on the castle's grounds. Displays include the clan's legends, chiefs, slogans, history, clan lands in Lochaber, and notable clansmen. Other exhibits include the castle and estate's history, the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, and Prince Charles Edward Stuart, known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie".

Achnacarry Agreement

In 1928 Achnacarry served as the meeting place for global petroleum producers in an effort to set production quotas. A document known as the Achnacarry Agreement or "As-Is" Agreement was signed on 17 September 1928.[4]

The Dark Mile

Between Achnacarry Castle and Loch Arkaig is a path of interwoven trees known as The Dark Mile, or Mile Dorcha.[5]

Notes and references

Outside links