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Skirmish at Tongue

It is the very fabric of the spirit of the Highlands...These stories need to be told, not lost.

November 1745 - the British Royal Naval vessel is captured in Montrose by French Jacobites.

In March 1746 King Louis of France sends the same ship with money, supplies, weapons and elite troops (French, Spanish, British and Irish) to the Moray Firth. The vessel is spotted by superior British fleet and chased into the Pentland Firth, before going aground in the Kyle of Tongue. Two ships go broadside, one with 14 cannons and the other 7. The Jacobites decide to abandon ship and instead head overland towards Culloden. They made it down the Kyle, the following morning were met head on by Hanoverian supporters, who outnumbered them. The Jacobites, trying to avoid the total loss of the gold, throw some into the Loch. The Jacobites were captured.

100 years later, circa 1840s, a gold coin was found in the hoof of a cow. The coin was documented and sent to then landowner's castle museum. Since then, the coin has gone missing. Many have searched the Loch. Where the ships fought many cannon balls have been found along with musket shot. More recently with the 275th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden in 2021, documentaries have been made. But still this story is relatively untold.

It is the very fabric of the spirit of the Highlands.

Lost gold, some say that the locals pilfered the chests, others report the Hanoverians supporters split it amongst themselves. Rumour has it various families became rich and moved away all of a sudden. Others say the gold is still hidden. [When the ship didn't make Moray Firth, troops from Culloden were sent North to assist in the safe journey of this prized cargo... instead Battle of Little Ferry ensued].

Could this and the Battle of Little Ferry have been a contributing factor to the Jacobite's loss at Culloden? Even the Culloden museum doesn't have anything on these two skirmishes.

These stories need to be told, not lost.

Want to find out more? For more information on the Skirmish at Tongue, please click here to visit the Jacobite Gold Facebook page.

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