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Chluanaidh (Uamh)

Creag Dubh, Woods of Glentruim, Inveernessshire.

NGR:NN 67377 96022
WGS84:57.03616, -4.18707
Length:2 m
Vert. Range:1 m
Altitude:450 m
Geology:Not recorded
Tags:Cave, Archaeo

Creag Dubh (A' Chreag Dhubh -- the black crag), 2350 feet, is a picturesque hill cut off from the rest of the Monadhliath (Am Monadh Liath -- the grey mountain range) by Glen Banchor. It is prominent from Newtonmore and its name is the battle cry of the Clan MacPherson. On its sheer slopes towards Lochan Uvie is Cluny's cave where the chief of the MacPhersons hid safely for 9 years after Culloden in spite of a reward of Scots £11,000 offered for his capture, which in those days was a huge sum of money. []

This remote cave, high on the crags of Craig Dubh between Loch Ericht and Glen Spean provided a hiding place for Ewan Macpherson of Cluny following the massacre of the Jacobite army at the Battle of Culloden in 1745. As his home was looted and razed to the ground, Cluny survived here for part of the nine long years that he spent in hiding before escaping to France. [Scottish Field]

'One of the Caves in which Cluny of 1745 was concealed during the 9 Years he was an outlaw and a 1000 Guineas offered for his head dead or alive and never betrayed. A Company of the Black Watch under the Command or Sir Hector Munro being quartered at Rathven Castle and on the watch for him etc etc. Situated about 3 Chains east of the River Spey and about 14 Chains northeast of the south point of Lochan Ovie [Uvie] also about 13 chains north-northwest of Glentruim House. This cave is no longer accessible without expert assistance. [1066]

A rowan tree seems like a reasonable indicator for shuffling out towards the area of the cave....a little way above the tree there is a large boulder around which you can gain access to a bracken covered wide ledge. Further out along the ledge after passing an area of boulders things get a wee bit more angled....there are a few stones that make a small cairn. The entrance to the small cave only really would give room to stretch out for one small highlander. Care needed on a wet day and the 'dying back' bracken can be slippery. A we bit of perseverance is needed since the entrance to the cave is hidden from the approach direction. [gaffr, Walkhighlands]

Cluny's Cave : A Safe Retreat. From this point [?] a splendid view is obtained of the cliffs of Craigdhu. In a spot that any native will point out, high up in the face of the rock, is Cluny's Cave, where the Cluny of the '45 lay concealed for a time, and whence he could witness the movements of the military sent to effect his capture. The cave, which opens in the precipitous and sharply cut face of the rock, was dug during the night by his own people, and the excavated material was deposited in Loch-an-Ovie, a small lake at the foot of the hill, in order that no vestige of their labour might appear, and lead to the discovery of the retreat. That the work was admirably performed is evident, as the cave, although now partially fallen in, is still capable of accommodating several persons in comfort. At that period it must have been some twenty-five or thirty feet in length and four or five feet wide, with sufficient height for a medium-sized man to stand upright. The entrance to. this strangely-devised chamber is concealed by a huge ledge of rock, which would completely deceive any stranger who was not aware of its existence. Both from its position and natural appearance its detection could only be by accident or by treachery. Even should a fire be kindled, the colour of the smoke blended so well with the weather-beaten rock that it was almost impossible to detect it after close scrutiny. Deep fissures in the rocky wall of the cave were cunningly converted into loopholes which, owing to the fact that the interior of the cave was cleverly designed to run parallel with the almost perpendicular precipice, provided a very convenient means of observing the surrounding country. They commanded the only approach to the cave, and with one gentle touch the intruder could easily be precipitated hundreds of feet into eternity. For some seventy or eighty yards the path leading to this stronghold winds along on the sheer edge of the precipice, and except to the initiated is practically undiscoverable. Approachable only by one narrow track scarcely a foot wide, and traversable by one person at a time, it can easily be understood that the greatest danger by which Cluny was encompassed was not a direct attack, but rather the fear of starvation. In his dire need the necessities of life were brought to him under cloud of night by a devoted adherent, who on more than one occasion risked his life in the discharge of this duty. The chief's gratitude is shown by the fact that to this day it is incumbent on the chief of the Macphersons to send his piper to play a pibroch at the funeral of the direct descendants of this brave and devoted man.

Alternate Names: Uamh Chluanaidh, Chlunanaidh (Uamh), Uamh Chlunanaidh, Cluny's Cave, Corriedoe Cave

Notes: Further research is necessary as there has in the past been confusion between various locations called Cluny's Cave, Prince Charlie's Cave and Cluny's Cage.

During the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, clan chef Ewan Macpherson of Cluny (known simply as Cluny Macpherson), raised 400 men in support of Charles Edward Stuart's doomed attempt to restore the Stuart dynasty to the British throne. After the battle of Culloden (which Cluny Macpherson and his men missed), the chief went into hiding. He spent a total of nine years evading capture and had several notable lairs, including Cluny's Cave on an inaccessible cliff above Newtonmore, and Cluny's Cage: a hut on the sloes of Ben Alder immortalised in RL Stevenson's adventure story Kidnapped. Cluny finally escaped to France.

Cave near Benalder Lodge, at its [Ben Alder's] southern base is a remarkable cave in which Prince Charles Edward lay concealed in September 1746. [Oldham] This reference appears to be a conflation of the following description merging Cluny's Cave at Creag Dhu with Cluny's Cage in Perthshire:

At the beginning of the 1745 Jacobite Rising, the Clan Macpherson chief commanded a company of his clan in the services of the British government. However a party of Camerons was sent to the house of Macpherson of Cluny, the chief of the Macphersons. They were there to apprehend him, and succeeded. The Macphersons then joined the Jacobites. The chief of the clan, Ewen MacPherson of Cluny, raised a force of 400 men to aid Charles Edward Stuart. The Macphersons played an active role at the beginning of the rebellion and even fought at the Clifton Moor Skirmish in 1745. However Charles was urged to wait for Cluny, who was engaged in operation in Atholl, before the Battle of Culloden. He did not and the men of Macpherson took no part in the famous defeat at Culloden. The regiment was disbanded and Ewan went into hiding. A reward of 1000 [guineas] was placed on his head, but he was never captured in the nine years he spent in hiding. In 1755 he fled to France. During his time in hiding, his wife, Janet, gave birth to their son. The child was born in a corn kiln, earning him the nickname 'Duncan of the Kiln'. During his time hiding in and around the clan seat at Laggan, Macpherson had many hiding places made for him. One of these was Cluny's Cage, which featured in "Kidnapped" by Robert Louis Stevenson, a heather hut on the slopes of Ben Alder. Another of the famous hiding places is Cluny's Cave high on the crags of Creag Dhubh between Newtonmore and Laggan. This cave is no longer accessible without expert assistance. Every year in August, clan Macpherson holds a family gathering, during which a ceremonial run to the top of Craig Dubh and back takes place.

One alternative name refers to Prince Charlie hiding with Cluny MacPherson. Another alternative name Corriedoe probably relates to location on the southeast of Craig Dhubh.

Corrected coordinates from Streetmap. The cave can apparently be seen from the A9 car park.

See also Cluny's Cage or Prince Charlie's Cave [6], NN 499 693 and Cluny's Cave, near Chanonry Point.

There is also a song Cluny's Cave by Roy Budd.

Hydrographic Feeds: none

Hydrographic Resurgences: none

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This entry was last updated: 2021-12-13 18:39:01

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