Mission Statement

To Submit Content

Extract from a Fort William Letter
August 24, 1784
(regarding the restoration of the Lochiel Estate)

Yesterday there was a numerous meeting of the family of Lochiel, on the joyful news of the forfeited estates being restored.  It was proposed that, to testify to their gratitude to His Majesty, and to commemorate so generous an action, the family should unite to contribute towards erecting a pillar on the top of Ben-Nevis (the highest hill in the country), with suitable inscriptions in Gaelic, Latin and English.  That each family should have a small pillar (with the arms of the family) erected round the large one.  One gentleman suggested the following lines, from the first Eccologue of Virgil, for an inscription on the large pillar:-

"O, dundassiee!  Deus nobis haec otia fecit,
Namque erit ille mihi, semper Deus illius aram:
Saepe tener nostris ab oribus imbuit Agnus;
Ille meas errare boves ut cernes, et ipsum
Ludere quae vellem Calarno permissit Agresti"

Editor's Notes:  The pillar referenced above was never built, but many other structures and cairns, including a weather station, were placed upon the 4406 summit of Ben Nevis.  As to the mention of "each family," this may refer to the cadet branches of the Camerons of Lochiel (Erracht, Clunes...).  As to the author of this letter, the extract was provided by Celtic Magazine over one hundred years later, without listing the author's identity.