Achnacarry Castle, Lochaber – Clan Cameron
Replacing the important Tor Castle as the seat of Clan Cameron, Achnacarry Castle is perhaps more famous as the spiritual home of the Commandos after it was commandeered by the military during the Second World War.
Originally built in 1665 by Sir Ewen ‘Dubh’ Cameron, the originally Achnacarry house would be constructed from fir-planks and is said to have resembled a great hunting lodge.
It would eventually pass to Ewen’s son, John, and eventually to his grandson, Donald after John was forced into exile following his participation in the Jacobite Uprising of 1715. Donald would be the last chief to live in the original castle as it was burned to the ground by British forces as he watched from the mountains above.
After 50 years of ruin, the castle would finally be rebuilt at the beginning of the 19th century, this time from the less combustible stone. The castle would almost be completely finished under the orders of Donald Cameron, 22nd chief, until he surprisingly abandoned the area as he separated from his wife following a disagreement about the suitability of the Highlands as a place to live. It would eventually be finished by his son, the 23rd chief, in 1837.
After this return home, Achnacarry would remain the seat of the Camerons until the present day, other than a few short years when it was handed over to other organisations. Perhaps the most famous example of this happening was during the Second World War when the castle was vacated to be used as a training location for the British Military.
During the war, it is believed as many as 25,000 men were trained at the facility from a variety of countries including England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Belgium, Norway and the United States as they received their basic commando training and the castle is still affectionately known as ‘Camp Commando’ to this day.
It is now back in the hands of the Cameron Clan and has been used to host large clan gatherings such as in 2001 when it welcomed Cameron clans folk form around the world.