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Coordinates: 56°52′00″N 5°27′00″W / 56.866667°N 5.45°W / 56.866667; -5.45

Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Fhionghain
Glenfinnan Site.jpg
Loch Shiel and memorial to the Jacobites, at Glenfinnan, Lochaber
Glenfinnan is located in Lochaber
 Glenfinnan shown within the Lochaber area
OS grid reference NM897803
Council area Highland
Lieutenancy area Inverness-shire
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district PH37
Dialling code 01397
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
List of places

Glenfinnan (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Fhionghain) is a village in Lochaber area of the Highlands of Scotland. It is located at the northern end of Loch Shiel, at the foot of Glenfinnan.

Glenfinnan Monument[edit]

Catholic Church at Glenfinnan

The 18-metre-high (60 ft) Glenfinnan Monument situated here at the head of Loch Shiel was erected in 1815 to mark the place where Prince Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") raised his standard, at the beginning of the 1745 Jacobite Rising.


Prince Charles initially landed from France on Eriskay in the Western Isles. He then travelled to the mainland in a small rowing boat, coming ashore at Loch nan Uamh, just west of Glenfinnan. Here he was met by a small number of MacDonalds. He waited at Glenfinnan for a number of days as more MacDonalds, Camerons, McPhees and MacDonnells arrived. When he judged he had enough support, he climbed the hill and MacMaster of Glenaladale raised his royal standard, on Monday 19 August 1745, and claimed the Scottish and the English thrones in the name of his father James Stuart ('the Old Pretender'); A MacPhee (Macfie) was one of two pipers at Glenfinnan when Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his banner there in 1745. Brandy was distributed in celebration. So began the rebellion that was to end in failure eight months later at the Battle of Culloden (16 April 1746). Many MacPhees (Macfies) followed Cameron of Lochiel in the second line into the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

After Culloden, in his flight to evade government troops, Charles came to the same area again. After being hidden by loyal supporters he boarded a French frigate at the shores of Loch nan Uamh, close to where he had landed and raised his standard. Today The Prince's Cairn marks the spot from which he departed.

The memorial[edit]

The monument at Glenfinnan
The Unknown Highlander

In 1815, the Jacobite cause was no longer a political threat. Alexander Macdonald of Glenaladale built a memorial tower at Glenfinnan surmounted by a statue of an anonymous Highlander in a kilt, to commemorate the raising of the standard. The tower was designed by the Scottish architect James Gillespie Graham. Hundreds of Jacobite enthusiasts gather there each year on 19 August. It was only possible to erect the monument here because in 1812 Thomas Telford had constructed the new road from Fort William to Arisaig, which passed through Glenfinnan.

Since 1938, the Glenfinnan Monument has been in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. The Trust have also constructed a visitor centre, which provides tickets, information and exhibitions, and a shop, cafe, and toilets. The tower has also become a monument to Alexander Macdonald, who died before its completion.

Glenfinnan railway station[edit]

About halfway along the picturesque West Highland Railway line between Fort William and Mallaig lies Glenfinnan railway station. The Jacobite Steam Train and other trains regularly run this route, and just before arriving at Glenfinnan from the direction of Fort William, the line crosses a spectacular arched viaduct.

Glenfinnan Viaduct[edit]

Main article: Glenfinnan Viaduct
Viaduct and steam train at Glenfinnan

The viaduct was built between 1897 and 1901 by the engineer Sir Robert McAlpine. It has 21 arches, reaching as high as 30 m (100 ft). A plaque at the base of one of the arches commemorates the centenary of the viaduct.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct recently came to prominence in the Harry Potter films, the first being Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second in the Harry Potter series, when the Jacobite Steam Train is transformed into the Hogwarts Express and is filmed crossing the viaduct. It also appeared in subsequent Harry Potter films. The viaduct also appeared in the 1969 film, Ring of Bright Water, starring Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna.

Popular culture[edit]

In the Highlander universe, Connor and Duncan MacLeod are both Scots born in Glenfinnan in 1518 and 1592, respectively.

External links[edit]