Iconic Glenfinnan monument unveiled after major facelift

One of Scotland's best-loved landmarks has been unveiled after receiving a major facelift.

The Glenfinnan Monument has had a major facelift. Picture: TSPL
The Glenfinnan Monument has had a major facelift. Picture: TSPL

The 200-year-old Glenfinnan Monument in the West Highlands is back at its best after £170,000 of restoration work was carried out.

The iconic tower, erected to commemorate the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, was in desperate need of repair after decades of battering by wind and rain had taken its toll.

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The 18m-tall structure, which stands against a dramatic backdrop of sweeping glens at the head of Loch Shiel in Lochaber, has also developed a “lean” over the years.

The monument, which is under the care of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), has been under scaffolding since April to allow a wide range of repairs to be undertaken.

Work included fixing masonry on the monument and boundary wall, replacing lime pointing, renewing the roof, installing a more accessible hatch at the top of the tower and a new handrail to help visitors climb its 62 steps.

As part of the project, new equipment to help the conservation charity monitor movement of the tower was installed.

Laser survey points were put in at the top and the bottom of the tower to provide the team with accurate information about its ‘lean’ over time.

It currently tilts by about 260mm towards the west.

Historic commemorative plaques in Gaelic, Latin and English have also been expertly cleaned, repaired and re-lettered and landscaping around the monument improved.

NTS property manager Kirsteen Nielsen said: “It is great to see the Glenfinnan Monument standing tall and looking fantastic again, just as we approach its 201st birthday.

“Our summer visitors will be able to get some fabulous pictures of this well-preserved piece of our heritage while learning more about the Jacobite story.”

The monument marks the spot where the Jacobite rebellion began on 19 August 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charlie arrived from France to launch his bid to regain the British crown for the exiled Stuarts.

The campaign ended in a bloody defeat less than a year later in the historic battle on Culloden moor.

The original tower was erected in 1815 by Alexander MacDonald of Glenaladale to honour his ancestors and the other fallen Jacobites who rallied behind the ‘Young Pretender’.

The statue of a kilted Highlander was added later, in 1830.

Over the years the site has become a popular visitor attraction, bringing tourists from all around the world to this remote part of Scotland.

The repairs were funded by Historic Environment Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland’s Canadian Foundation and donations from members of the public.