In Search of the Real Dun Bonnet

Today we went in search of a cave. Bonaid Odhair Cave to be exact. (Also known as Dun Bonnet’s Cave).

This once little-known cave has been made famous by the popular Outlander series. In series 3, we saw main character Highlander Jamie Fraser hiding in here, and nick-named Dun Bonnet.

But it may surprise you to know that this storyline is actually based on an old tale of another James Fraser (IX clan chief of the Frasers). He took part in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. He then hid from the British Army in the neighbourhood of Foyers for about seven years. Local people took to calling him Bonaid Odhair (or Dun Bonnet), a nickname meaning ‘coloured hat’. So that they could talk of him without alerting the troops to his whereabouts.

Finding The Mysterious Cave

The exact site of the cave is difficult to locate. Even the one they used for filming the Outlander series has not been revealed. However, we had a vague idea of its location, deep into the woods near Foyers.

So, off we went this morning with a map and high hopes. An hour later, having scrambled through dense old woodland and across the edges of a steep rockface, we think we found it. But, it was hard to tell as there were so many huge rocks scattered around, that the possibilities of what constituted a cave, last used 265 years ago, were several in number!

We’ll be returning as soon as we can, because after much searching amongst our historical information on the area, we found not only reference to it in the book ‘Tales of Old Days on the Aldourie Estate’, but more precise details of it’s location than any present day map. So, watch this space!

Don’t forget to have a look at the other places of interest around Inverness and Loch Ness – there is so much to explore!