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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
Prince Charles at Borodale


Disappointed in his inquires after Clanranald, and unsuccessful, if John Mackinnon's statement be correct, in his application to Morar, Charles resolved to go to Borodale, and solicit the assistance of "honest old AEneas Macdonald". Accordingly, after taking leave of the laird of Mackinnon, Charles set off for Borodale, accompanied by John Mackinnon, under the direction of a boy, a son of Morar, as guide. The party reached Borodale, on the morning of the 10th of July, before day-break. As was the case at Morar, the house of the proprietor had been burnt by a body of troops, under Captain Ferguson, and Borodale was residing in a hut hard by the ruins of his mansion. Borodale was in bed when Charles arrived, and the door was shut. Mackinnon called upon Borodale to rise, who, knowing his voice, got up, and throwing some blankets about him, went to the door. Mackinnon asked him if he had heard anything of the prince. "No", replied the old gentleman. "What would you give", rejoined John, "for a sight of him?". "Time was", said the warm-hearted Highlander, "that I would have given a hearty bottle to see him safe; but since I see you I expect to hear some news of him". "Well, then", replied Mackinnon, "I have brought him here, and will commit him to your charge. I have done my duty, do you yours". "I am glad of it", said Borodale, "and shall not fail to take care of him: I shall lodge him so secure that all the forces in Britain shall not find him out". John Mackinnon then took his leave, and returned to Ellagol; but he had scarcely reached his house when he was apprehended by a party of militia, and along with his chief, who was also captured by another party at Morar, the morning after Charles's departure, conveyed to London, and kept in confinement till July, 1747.

Borodale conducted his guest to a hut in a neighbouring wood, where he entertained him in the best manner he could for three days, and in the meantime, Charles despatched John Macdonald, junior, one of Borodale's sons, with a letter to Alexander Macdonald of Glenaladale, who had been in his service as Major of the Clanranald regiment. Receiving, shortly after this express had been sent, information of the laird of Mackinnon's capture, and judging that his residence in the wood was not safe, Borodale, accompanied by his son Ronald, who had been a lieutenant in Clanranald's own company, conducted Charles to an almost inaccessible cave four miles eastward, in which he directed him to remain till Glenaladale should arrive.

Charles's letter was punctually delivered to Glenaladale, who, two days after it was written, viz. on the 15th of July, met Borodale at an appointed place, and paid a visit to Charles. Next day Borodale received a letter from his son-in-law, Angus Mac Eachan, residing in the glen of Morar, who had served as surgeon to Glengarry's regiment, informing him that a rumour was beginning to prevail in the country that the prince was in concealment about Borodale; and representing the danger Charles would be in, by remaining on Borodale's lands any longer, he offered him a more secure asylum, in a place he had prepared for him. Before accepting this offer, Ronald Macdonald was sent to reconnoitre the place. Next day, John Macdonald was despatched to view the coast, and ascertain the motions of the militia; and having brought intelligence that he saw a boat approaching that part of the coast where the grotto was situated, Charles, without waiting for the return of Ronald Macdonald immediately left the cave, and set off for the glen of Morar, to the place prepared for him. He was accompanied by Glenaladale, Borodale, and John Macdonald junior, son of the latter. They were met, at a place called Corrybeine Cabir, by Borodale's son-in-law, who informed Charles that Clanranald was waiting a few miles off, to conduct him to a safe place of concealment he had prepared for him. Charles would have proceeded to meet Clanranald, but as the evening was far advanced, and as he was much nearer his intended quarters in Glen Morar than the place where Clanranald was, he proceeded onward, intending to communicate with him next day.

Borodale, who had preceded to Glen Morar in advance of the party to procure some necessaries, received information, on his arrival there, that some men-of-war with troops on board, under General Campbell, had anchored in Loch Nevis. He thereupon despatched two men to Loch Nevis, by way of Loch Morar, to observe General Campbell's movements, and having received further intelligence, that Captain Scott had arrived with a party in the lower part of Arisaig,
Overlooking the village of Arisaig, on the Road to the Isles. Photo by Maureen McColl, Paderborn, Germanyhe returned to Charles, and communicated to him the information he had received. Being assured that Charles was upon one of the promontories betwixt Loch Hourn and Loch Shiel, the English commanders had formed a chain of posts across the heads of these and the intermediate arms of the sea, so as to intercept him should he attempt to escape by land into the interior; and to catch him, should he venture to return to the islands, cruisers and boats were stationed at the mouths of the lochs. The sentinels along this line, which extended to the length of thirty miles, were placed so near to one another in the day time, that no person could pass without being seen by them, and at night fires were lighted at every post, and the opposite sentinels passed, and repassed one another, from fire to fire. To cross such a chain during the day was quite impossible, nor did a passage by night appear more practicable.

Finding thus, that Clanranald,s country was wholly surrounded by the government troops, and that he would not be able to join that chief, Charles resolved to leave it immediately. To lessen the risk of discovery, by reducing the number of his companions, he took leave of Borodale and his son-in-law, and attended by Glenaladale, his brother Lieutenant John Macdonald, who had been an officer in the French service, and John Macdonald junior, Borodale's son, set out in the morning of the 18th of July, and by mid-day reached the summit of a hill called Scoorvuy, at the eastern extremity of Arisaig. Here they rested and took some refreshment, and Glenaladale's brother was then despatched to Glenfinnan, to obtain intelligence, and to direct two men whom Glenaladale had stationed there, to join the prince about ten o'clock at night, on the top of the hill called Swernink Corrichan, above Loch Arkaig in Lochiel's country.

arkaig.jpg (30578 bytes)
Loch Arkaig - Achnacarry, seat of Cameron of Lochiel, in middle distance

After Lieutenant John Macdonald's departure, Charles set out with his two remaining companions, and at two o'clock came to the top of a neighbouring hill, called Fruigh-vein. Observing some cattle in motion, Glenaladale went forward to ascertain the cause, and found that these cattle belonged to some of his own tenants, who were driving them away out of the reach of a body of 600 or 700 troops, who had come to the head of Loch Arkaig, to hem in the prince. As Charles and his friends meant to pass in that direction, they were greatly disconcerted at this intelligence, and resolved to alter their course. Glenaladale sent one of his tenants to Glenfinnan, which was only about a mile off, to recall his brother and the two men; and at the same time he sent another messenger for Donald Cameron of Glenpean, who had removed with his effects to a neighbouring hill, on the approach of the troops, that he might ascertain from him the situation of the troops about Fort Augustus, and to obtain his assistance in conducting the prince through the chain of posts. As they waited the return of the messengers, one of the tenant's wives, regretting the condition of Glenaladale her lordlord, and desirous of giving him some refreshment milked some of her cows, and brought the milk to him. Observing the woman approaching, Charles covered his head with a handkerchief, and passed for one of Glenaladale's servants, who had got a headache. Though this refreshment, from the excessive heat of the day, was very seasonable, yet they would have gladly dispensed with the obtrusive kindness of the warm-hearted female. That Charles might participate in the present, without observation from the donor, Glenaladale prevailed upon her, though with some difficulty, to retire, and leave her dish behind.


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