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Scottish Gaelic: Achadh na Cairidh
Achnacarry Castle—Scotland.jpg
Achnacarry Castle
Achnacarry is located in Highland
 Achnacarry shown within the Highland council area
OS grid reference NN176877
Council area Highland
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district PH34 4
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Ross, Skye and Lochaber
Scottish Parliament Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch
List of places

Coordinates: 56°56′43″N 4°59′53″W / 56.945171°N 4.998183°W / 56.945171; -4.998183

Achnacarry (Scottish Gaelic: Achadh na Cairidh; 'field of the fish-trap/weir') is a small hamlet, private estate, and a castle in the Lochaber region of Highland, Scotland. It occupies a strategic position on an isthmus between Loch Lochy to the east, and Loch Arkaig to the west.

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[edit]

Main article: Achnacarry Castle

Built on the ruins of the old Achnacarry Castle in 1802, the current building gained fame as the Commando Training Depot for the Allied Forces from 1942 to 1945. British Commandos, United States Army Rangers and commandos from France, the Netherlands, Norway, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Belgium trained there. As live ammunition was used during training, there were some casualties whilst training at Achnacarry. The castle also suffered some damage due to fire.

Several military associations [2] still sponsor a Commando March either annually or from time to time. Generally it is a timed seven mile march, in full battle gear, backpack and combat boots, from Spean Bridge to Achnacarry.

Clan Cameron[edit]

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.[3] 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.[4]

Achnacarry Agreement[edit]

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.[5]

The Dark Mile[edit]

Between Achnacarry Castle and Loch Arkaig is a path of interwoven trees known as The Dark Mile, or Mile Dorcha.[6]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ MacKenzie, Alexander (2008), "The History of the Camerons", The Celtic Magazine, BiblioBazaar, IX (XCVII): 156, ISBN 978-0-559-79382-0  Modern reprint of November 1883 article with a detailed account of Cameron history from 1654 to 1665.
  2. ^[permanent dead link] & "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  3. ^ "Clan Cameron Museum". 
  4. ^ "2009 International Gathering of Clan Cameron". 
  5. ^ Bamberg, J.H. (1994), The History of the British Petroleum Company, Volume 2: The Anglo-Iranian Years, 1928–1954, Cambridge University Press, pp. 528–34, archived from the original on 11 June 2009  18 August 1928 draft of the Achnacarry Agreement.
  6. ^ "Clan Cameron Museum at Achnacarry and Ka-aig Falls". 

External links[edit]