Far from popular, the Jacobites were opposed by volunteers from all around the Clyde area. These had assembled as soon as word had spread about Jacobite activity in the Loch Lomond area. Within days, naval ships in Clyde’s waters supplied small boats with guns mounted on them (called ‘pateraroes’). The little armada, of 11 vessels of various kinds, was hauled up the River Leven and assembled on Loch Lomond. Meanwhile elements of the powerful Clan Campbell, taking the government side, plus the volunteers and clansmen from the Clan Colquhoun (with no love for the Macgregors either) pressed on, up the west side of the loch. Ashore and afloat, a formidable expedition was mounted. A contemporary pamphlet tells how the forces fired their guns as they went – probably to intimidate the Jacobites in the hills.
Eventually, the forces – numbering about 700 men - arrived at Inversnaid. They were several days too late. One of the boat-mounted guns was used to shoot at a house on the hillside, in the hope of bringing the Macgregors to battle. But no one appeared. Several of the party came ashore, ready for action but found only some old folk among the Clan Gregor houses. Many of the stolen boats were discovered, drawn up and hidden near Inversnaid. These were retrieved. So, after this show of strength the Hanoverian forces marched or sailed southwards down the loch again.
Later in that year, acting under direct orders from the Earl of Mar, Rob Roy himself took command of another flotilla for more raids along the southern end of Loch Lomond. Incensed, the Duke of Montrose called in the militia and the navy once again, with direct orders to bring in Rob. By the time a force reached Inversnaid, Rob Roy had vanished once more – though he just escaped capture at Crianlarich.
The Loch Lomond Expeditions of 1715 remain unique as the only war operations ever carried out on Scotland’s (or Britain’s) inland waterways.
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