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Eilean Donan Castle

Situated in Loch Druich, the castle as it stands now is the result of a 20 year restoration and reconstruction project undertaken by Lt.Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap when he purchased the ruin and the island it sits upon, in 1919.

Eilean Donan which means island of Donan had been all but destroyed 200 years earlier when it became the close range target of three Royal Navy frigates that bombarded the castle for three days (10-13 May 1719). The HMS Flamborough, HMS Worcester and HMS Enterprise were fighting against the castles garrison of 46 Spanish mercenaries that were in Scotland supporting a Jacobite uprising. The Spanish had made the castle into an ammunition depot, stockpiling 343 barrels of gunpowder. Having difficulty damaging the castles walls with their cannon, troops from the Enterprise finally stormed the castle, capturing it. To render the castle safe, the English ignited 27 barrels of gunpowder, demolishing the castle.

The castle is reported to be haunted by a ghost dating from this battle, a Spanish mercenary, killed by the English.

Donan may relate to the martyred Bishop Donan, an Irish Saint who came to Scotland in 580AD. He may have made a small community on the island.

This Jacobite uprising was stopped in one single military action at the Battle of Glen Shiel on 10 June 1719. English forces defeated the Jacobites and their Spanish allies, making this the last engagement with foreign troops on mainland Britain.

Image Copyright: 
Mike Liddell

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