The Slaughter at Dun Dige

The local clans were often engaged in fueds over land and livestock. Sometime in the 14th century a disupte arose between Clan Cameron and Clan Chattan. In an effort to ease tensions the Chief of the Camerons of Glen Nevis played host to the Chief of Clan Chattan and his men at his stronghold Dun Dige. Despite the misgivings of many of the Cameron men, hospitality was lavishly dispensed and a degree of accord between the clans was established.

However, as Clan Chattan were departing the Cameron piper decided to show his indignation. Rather than playing the conventional farewell number he launched into the Clan Cameron war pibroch (come, children of the dogs, and you will get flesh). A rousing tune, but inappropriate for peace-making purposes.

Clan Chattan were most perturbed by the choice of music. Immediately after they left Dun Dige they gathered on a nearby hillock (now known as 'the hill of evil council') and chose to seek immediate and uncompromising vengence.

In the dark of the night the Chattan men returned to Dun Dige bearing their swords and slaughtered the Camerons: man, woman and child. The Camerons were totally unprepared for such an attack and some were killed as they slept. The stronghold was then burned to the ground.

In the midst of the attack Iain Macdhom'ic Raoil, a member of the Camerons, acted quickly. He snatched the sleeping infant heir along with some heirlooms and fled to take cover in a cave further up Glen Nevis. He hid there for several weeks before taking the young boy north where he would be safe from the Clan Chattan.

Iain raised the child himself until it became necessary for the boy to receive an education befitting his rank. Returning to Lochaber, Iain visited the house of Inverlair where the child's aunt resided. She saw the family resemblance and recognised the heirlooms Iain had saved. At the age of seventeen he returned to Glen Nevis as Chieftain. 

Ruined Fort - Dun Dige

There are no structural remains of the ancestral stronghold of the Camerons (or MacSorlies as they were then called). The wooden fortification has long since disappeared, but the surrounding moat is clearly visible and the spot is marked by a tall conifer.

You can find out more about about the darker side to the history of the stronghold in the post 'The Slaughter at Dun Dige'.