WildCanoe Photography

Our Lady of the Braes

by Matthew Thompson 120 b&w Film

Our Lady of the Braes

If you drive the ‘Road to the Isles’ between Fort William and Malliag it is hard to miss the Roman Catholic chapel of ‘Our Lady of the Braes’. Built in 1874, and now very much a landmark along this route.

Built to serve the now deserted townships of Ardnish and Polnish, this lone monument to the former inhabitants of the empty landscape has a poignant significance, is surrounded by woodlands, mountains and spectacular views to Loch Ailort, the Small Isles and Skye. The Jacobite steam train, featured in the Harry Potter movies lie to the North of the Church which has also featured in the film “Local Hero” starring Burt Lancaster.


The origins of Lochailort date back to at least 1650 when an inn was recorded here, and by 1750 the settlement had grown enough to feature on a map as Kinloch Hoylort. Early in the 1800s Lochailort saw its first road with the arrival of Thomas Telford and his “Road to the Isles” from Fort William to Arisaig, and much later to Mallaig.

The chapel stands in a commanding place with views to the SW over Loch Ailort and towards the hills around Rois Bheinn and with its back towards Arnabol Hill and the wilds of Morar.

  • Camera/Lens: Yashica MAT 124G / 80mm 1:3.5 Yashinon
  • Film: Ilford FP4+ 125ASA @ 80ASA
  • Dev: LC29, 1:19, 8 min’s @ 20 deg’s

shot at f/11, 1/500



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