There is no feeling in the world like holding history in your hands. A piece that is centuries old… an item that has been held in the hands of a man well known in history, who bravely led his Clan into battle many times.

When my 50th birthday was approaching, my husband asked me what I’d like. I didn’t have to think twice. “A Cameron of Lochiel Targe” I said.

He didn’t need to question me, nor did he think I was crazy. He knows me too well. 

So we placed our order, and my Cameron of Lochiel Targe was hand-made over the following weeks by Rab Cairney of highland-targe.com. The detail is superb and it’s something I’ll treasure for life. 

The original of this Targe had been owned by Donald Cameron of Lochiel, 19th Chief of the Clan Cameron (aka the Gentle Lochiel) of the ’45 Jacobite Uprising. He met with Bonnie Prince Charlie at Glenfinnan, along with an army of 800 Camerons, on 19th August 1745, when the Royal Stuart Standard was raised and the Jacobite Uprising initiated. Although Lochiel had earlier tried to convince the Prince to return to France, Charles was a very persuasive man…

Glenfinnan, where the Prince’s Royal Stuart Standard was raised and the ’45 Jacobite Uprising initiated on 19th August 1745.

I was lucky enough to hold the 19th Lochiel’s historic Targe at Achnacarry Castle in 2018, which is the 27th Lochiel’s private home. I will be forever grateful to Lochiel for this opportunity, because it meant more than words can say. Not only did I hold the Targe that Lochiel had taken into many a battle back in 1745/6, including Prestonpans and Culloden, but I held his remarkable sword too. That was a moment I will never, ever forget.

Di holding the sword of the Gentle Lochiel, Chief of the Clan Cameron in 1746. This sword was taken into many battles, including Culloden.
Di holding the Targe of the Gentle Lochiel, Chief of the Clan Cameron in 1746. This Targe was taken into many battles, including Culloden. It has three musket-shot holes in it.

My own Cameron of Lochiel Targe was signed by Lochiel, 27th Chief of the Clan Cameron in 2018.

Below are some photos of these weapons on display at Achnacarry Castle. Many thanks to Lochiel for welcoming us into his home again.

Lochiel’s Targe. Pistols belonged to Cornwallis and were surrendered to Lochiel after the Battle of Prestonpans. At Achnacarry Castle.
Two hander Claymore allegedly present at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411 with the handle and grip restored in the early 18th century. At Achnacarry Castle.
Right – Gentle Lochiel’s Basket Hilt Sword. Centre – Clamshell guard from the Battle of Glenlivit 1596, belonging to Alan McIldhu who Balhaldie described thus “From the cradle to the grave, he was involved in a labyrinth of troubles.” At Achnacarry Castle.
Musket. At Achnacarry Castle.
The Clan Cameron Standard taken in to the Battle of Culloden by Clan Cameron in 1746 – Hanging at Achnacarry Castle. It went missing for 150 years before being returned to the family.
The Clan Cameron Standard taken in to the Battle of Culloden by Clan Cameron in 1746 – Hanging at Achnacarry Castle. It went missing for 150 years before being returned to the family.
Donald Cameron of Lochiel, 27th Chief of the Clan Cameron at Achnacarry Castle, his private home. A truly gracious man.

We now have a large collection of weapons at our home in Culloden, including a second Targe, which we bought so our tour guests could try it out without damaging my precious Cameron of Lochiel Targe. These days, this is what our home looks like (below). Most people think my husband initiated the purchase of the armoury, but no, it was definitely me. I am a woman who loves weapons. Although my husband carries out the weapons demonstration on our tours, handling these beautiful pieces comes naturally to me too.

One of our Basket Hilt Broadswords and our very old Lochaber Axe

One Responses

  • Rab C

    It’s a great honour to have been chosen to craft your special present, and what a great backdrop for your Blog. The Clava Cairns where the Ancestors rest and where I have spent long hours after paying my respects on Culloden Moor. Alba Gu Brath

    Reply

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