Massing at Mull’s Duart Castle this weekend – Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th August – will be a large group of military history enthusiasts, passionate about recreating the life and appearance of Scots soldiers of the mid 17t century.
They are the First Captain’s Company of Tilliers regiment – and will set up camp within the castle grounds and re-create the 1653 Invasion of Mull.
In the middle of the 17th century the British Isles were riven by the most destructive type of conflict – civil war, as men fought for their King, their church and their rights.
To suppress royalist risings, an English naval squadron sailed round the western isles to locations of known royalist clans and in late summer of 1653, the ships arrived off the shores of Duart Castle. They were poised to invade Mull from the water.
Fate was, however, kind to Duart.
Nature was the key warrior in the defending van, with a great storm destroying the English ships before the troops could be landed ashore.
A shipwreck was discovered in 1979, off Duart point and has been subject to an underwater archeological investigation with many relics being brought ashore. She was a small Cromwellian warship, lost in 1653, the year of the Invasion of Mull – and is probably The Swan.
Detailed investigation of the evidence of the wreck indicates that The Swan’s provisioning was locally-based. She still lies where she sank but some of the relics now on display in the Castle.
This weekend’s spectacular re-enactment of the 1653 threat to Mull – with Duart in the front line – offers something for all the family to enjoy.
Reliving military history in this way and on the precise location of the original event is the most impactful history lesson there can be.
Over the weekend, you can visit Duart Castle, hear the story of 1653 invasion of Mull, enjoy the sights and sounds of a 17th century soldiers campsite, see the parades, witness the battles and explore the displays by the First Captains Company of Tilliers regiment.
This particular period of history was knife-edge, stirring stuff – kaleidoscopic really, driven by chance as much as anything and marrying strategy and improvisation in a world where the notion and nature of communications is beyond our contemporary imagining.
Imagining though, gets a serious lift from the opportunity to see the things that can be seen and heard at Duart Castle this weekend.
And then there are the stories of Duart Castle itself and of the Chiefs of Clan Maclean. There are worlds within worlds in places with a history like Duart’s – and they all reward discovery.
More information is online here at the Duart Castle website or is available by phoning the Castle on 01690 812309.