A quest for lost Jacobite treasure in the Scottish Highlands

A still from Garnet's Gold.
A still from Garnet's Gold.
Have your say

Twenty five years ago, amateur adventurer Garnet Frost escaped London and headed into the desolate wilderness of the Scottish Highlands.

Setting off without a map, disaster struck.

Garnet Frost was described by the documentary's director as a 'brave man'.

Garnet Frost was described by the documentary's director as a 'brave man'.

Garnet found himself trapped between a mountain and the mysterious Loch Arkaig. Lost, cold and alone, he resigned himself to die.

But before his miraculous rescue, by a lone fisherman, he stumbled upon a mysterious staff — a walking stick stuck in a rock — which he came to believe signified the burial point of a long-lost treasure.

For more than two decades Garnet was haunted by the memento from his doomed trip - which he believed could be a marker for one of history’s most famous lost treasures

Twenty-two years after he first journeyed to Scotland, Frost returned to the magical Loch Arkaig, where legend tells of a buried chest of gold that the French had planned to send to Prince Charles Edward Stuart (aka Bonnie Prince Charlie) in 1746.

Adventurer Garnet Frost has been searching for lost Jacobite treasure after a near death experience in Scotland.

Adventurer Garnet Frost has been searching for lost Jacobite treasure after a near death experience in Scotland.

READ MORE - Jacobites were outnumbered but not outgunned at Culloden

Garnet’s exploits have been turned into a film, Garnet’s Gold, by documentary maker Edward Perkins.

But he is not the first adventurer to go looking for the missing French gold, believed to have been sent to Scotland to help fund a Jacobite Rebellion.

People have been fantasying about the gold since 1746 following a death bed confession from a Jacobite, who admitted he had taken some of the money and hidden it.

The adventurer found the experience life changing.

The adventurer found the experience life changing.

A BBC Two series called History Detectives, lead by historian Neil Oliver, also attempted to track down the spoils.

READ MORE - The history of key Jacobite sites in Scotland

It is believed the money was intended to finance Bonnie Prince Charlie - and his efforts against the British monarch, George II, and put his father James Stuart on the throne.

Experts believe the original sum of money sent from France may be worth £5million today.

But what happened to the gold remains a mystery.

Scottish heritage: Scotland’s people, places and history

Director Perkins captured Garnet Frost’s efforts for the BBC’s Storyville documentary series, which has recently been shown in cinemas across America.

He said: “I first met Garnet Frost in 2010. Armed with a bundle of maps, an infectious enthusiasm and a disarming eccentricity, he immediately drew me into his world.

“Over the course of the next year I spent a lot of time with Garnet, his extraordinary mother, and wonderful friends. I spent countless hours absorbed by his plans to travel up to Scotland in search of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s lost gold, his new theories for where exactly it might be hidden, his elaborate plans to build flying machines.

“For much of that time I was still grappling to understand the deeper meaning of Garnet’s journey, but I always suspected that it might lead to somewhere more emotional – more human – than a literal pot of gold.

“I am immensely indebted to Garnet for his startling honesty and openness throughout the filmmaking process. I have enormous respect for him and the journey he has undertaken. It has been a true privilege to get to know this extraordinary and brave man…”

Keep up to date with all our sport news on The Scotsman’s Sport page on Facebook