Inverailort House

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Inverailort House.

Inverailort House is a mansion, south of Lochailort, at the head of Loch Ailort.


Inverailort House began as a farmhouse, but was rebuilt as a shooting lodge in 1875 and further extended in 1891.

The wife of the owner of Inverailort House, Christian Cameron, was a keen photographer in the late 19th Century. She took many photographs of the house and surrounding area but most of the glass plates were lost or destroyed when the military took over the house during World War II but the surviving photographs have been published in a book. Christian Cameron is said to have died of a broken heart after much of the contents of the house were badly damaged by the army when they emptied it.

During the Second World War, Inverailort was one of the few mansions in the area used as a training base by agents of the Special Operations Executive. Here British agents were taught ruthless techniques of intelligence gathering, sabotage and survival later directly adopted by the American CIA.

This was requisitioned by the War Office at the end of May 1940 for use in the training of irregular forces as the Special Training Centre. Initially this was operated by MI(R) but became part of Combined Operations. Many techniques of guerilla and irregular warfare were developed there and training techniques which were adopted for Commando training. SOE training was centred on nearby Arisaig House. The army moved out of the house on 20 August 1942 and it was then taken over by the Royal Navy when it became HMS Lochailort and used for the training of naval cadet ratings to be officers on small craft used by Combined Operations. The Royal Navy moved out in January 1945.

The village and nearby buildings have appeared in films such as Local Hero, Breaking the Waves and Complicity. The main businesses in the area are tourism and salmon farming in the loch.

As of today, Inverailort House is in a ruinous state.

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Coordinates: 56°52′16.49″N 5°40′15.26″W / 56.8712472°N 5.6709056°W / 56.8712472; -5.6709056