When we arrived at the Clan Cameron Museum we were greeted by the friendliest dog we saw on our journey. He was eager for us to open the car door, so he could lick our hands. He was lovely and excited, despite being his 12th birthday. We found out afterwords that he was the dog of Chief of Clan Cameron. We had no idea the man we had a short chat with was the chief. The lady from the museum told us afterwords. How exciting was that?
Clan Cameron Museum is a small museum, just a few miles from Fort William. It is worth a visit because it shows how important Clans were in the history of Scotland.
This is a stone erected to mark the International Gathering of Clan Cameron in 2001. I saw this and I thought that it was mainly with people from US and maybe Australia and New Zealand. Next we went into the museum. Here we paid the entrance fee, while we were asked if we have any connection with the clan, by an old Scotsman. Little did we knew that he was the clan chief, Donald Angus Cameron.
We went into the museum and we were surprised to see this map with all the descendants of the clan.While the majority of the dots are, as I assumed, in US, Australia, and New Zealand, it was a surprise to see dots in China, the Arabic peninsula, and in many countries in Europe. I think is astonishing that, after maybe hundreds of years after their ancestors emigrated, people still know that some of their roots are from Scotland.
As an unexpected treat, we saw an Osprey nesting. I love that.
The museum might be small, but it does have a lot of items on display. Also, the house is important in its own right. It was built in the 17th century, suffered some damage during the Jacobite rebellion, and it was the house of one of the Chiefs and his family while their house was built. It was briefly a post office, but in 1970s it was unoccupied. In late 1980s, the family decided that the Clan needs a museum and this was chosen to house it.
The Clan was royalist in the 17th century, during the Civil War. Their support for the monarchy continued in the reigns of Charles II and James II. Clan Cameron supported the Jacobites, the Chief fought at Culloden, before being wounded. He escaped to France and died there two years later. Another member of the clan, Archibald Cameron, was a doctor that tended to wounded in the Jacobites battles. He escaped to France, but returned a year later to Britain. He was accused of keeping French money for himself instead of using it for the Jacobite cause. In 1753 he was betrayed. He was taken to Edinburgh Castle, before being transferred to the Tower of London. On 7th June that year he was executed for treason by the well-known punishment: hung, drawn, and quartered. He was the last man to die for the Jacobite cause. Queen Victoria asked that his remains be interred in the Savoy Chapel in London.
There are many more stories about the Clan’s struggle after the Jacobites were crushed. Now I’m going to show a few highlights from the museum, in no particular order.
This is a replica of the Enigma machine. It might look like an unusual item to see in the museum, but it does have a story. At Achnacarry commando troops were trained in the second world war. Around 25,000 volunteers were trained here, from all over the world. The course lasted for 12 weeks. Live ammunition was used and some recruits died in this process. The training included unarmed combat, field craft, weapons, demolition training, speed marches, climbing, and boat training.
Men trained at Achnacarry won many medals, including eight Victoria Crosses.
This is an S.A.S. escaping kit and it contained: fishing bait, fishing line, snare, 2 saws, magnifying glass, signalling mirror, and compass.
This dress was worn by Catherine Cameron, aged six, at the Royal Wedding of The Prince of Wales (she is his god-daughter) with Lady Diana. Catherine is the eldest daughter of the founders of the Clan Cameron Museum.
This is a piece of wedding cake, from the wedding of Catherine and Prince William. Loved to see that on display. I remember watching their wedding on TV and talking about the wedding with friends afterwards. I was in Romania at that time, so I can’t even imagine how amazing it must have been here, in UK.
Clan Cameron Museum is in Achnacarry, Spean Bridge PH34 4EJ. It is open a few hours a day, from April to early October. In the rest of the year is open by request only. The car park is free. Entrance fee is only £4 for adults.