Appeal for memorial to Highland Jacobite hero gathers momentum

A campaign to honour a Highland Jacobite “hero” soldier with a bronze statue has gathered momentum.

A JustGiving page has already raised £465 towards a cast of Donncha Mor – Big Duncan – MacKenzie from Ballachulish.

The page was launched by David McGovern who wants to create an onshore memorial in the village for MacKenzie, hailed a hero in the Battle of Prestonpans.

A scene of the battle showing Mackenzie slaying an English soldier with his sword is portrayed on his gravestone and Mr McGovern said: “Our intention is to have the scene from Mackenzie’s grave cast by The Mobile Foundry in Dundee and installed at the croft at North Ballachulish as a permanent memorial.”

The Battle of Prestopans took place in September 1745 where the Jacobite army led by Bonnie Prince Charlie defeated the government troops, which lost 300 men, with 1,400 captured, compared to the Jacobites losing only 30 men.

Mr McGovern said: “A couple of years ago, we took a boat out to Eilean Munde in Loch Leven to visit the grave of Big Duncan Mackenzie.

“We had with us the original backsword of Mackenzie, borrowed from the Duke of Argyll.”

He continued: “The hero of the Battle of Prestonpans and his sword were reunited for the first time since Mackenzie’s capture after the battle. I fulfilled an ambition to carve the scene on Mackenzie’s grave in sandstone.”

The appeal has raised well over the £370 target for the memorial.

Donors left messages of support on the JustGiving page. One said: “I’m proud to support this memorial to a real patriot of Scotland.”

Another said: “Without heroes whose stories ring aloud in our mind, there is nothing for our children to strive for. Big Duncan is an inspiration that even when all seems lost, we must give our best.”