Scottish Clan Tours
Researching your family tree is a voyage of discovery. Full of intrigue, exotic names and fascinating histories. It is a pastime that rewards again and again. But those who simply trace their family tree from the comfort of their own home are missing out on the real story of their heritage.
For the whole exciting picture, you need to visit the places you read about. And that means a trip to Scotland. To help you plan your trip, we've compiled a number of clan-themed touring itineraries . So if you see your clan name, just follow the trail and walk in your ancestors' footsteps.
In the 14th century Clan Davidson originated from David Dubh of Invernahaven
who married Slone Mackintosh, the daughter of the Clan Chattan chief. Thus the
Davidsons had close links to the Clan Chattan confederation. The Davidsons
prospered as merchants and town dignitaries in Perth, Dundee and Aberdeen,
along the east coast and in the area around Inverness in the north. They fought
courageously and honourably, leading their clans-folk and townspeople when
necessary but suffered greatly in battles against the Camerons and the Lord of
This itinerary takes you from the royal Scottish capital through the Scottish Highlands to the Black Isle above Inverness to visit the lands and battle grounds of your ancestors. It will highlight just a few of the stories and places where the Davidsons have left their mark. You can experience the peace and tranquillity of inspiring Scottish landscapes, the evocative splendour of ancient castles, the hospitality of the local people and much more.
Arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland's magnificent historic capital. You'll be spoilt for things to do and places to visit. A good starting point is the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street. Here, you'll find the history of Scotland from early geological times through to the present day. At the nearby Scottish Genealogical Society library in Victoria Terrace you'll find plenty of fellow travellers and enthusiastic researchers, as well as a wealth of genealogical information and guidance. No appointment is necessary but there is a small charge for non-members.
Now head north towards the Forth Road Bridge. Three miles north-west of the Edinburgh city centre is the small village of Davidson's Mains. The village dates back to 1669 at which time it was known as "The Muttonhole". The name was changed to Davidson's Mains in the 1850s; the new name was taken from the Davidson family who owned Muirhouse Mansion in nearby Marine Drive. The mansion is an 'A listed' Gothic building beside the Firth of Forth. It was built in 1832 on the Muirhouse Estates which were the home of the Davidson family from 1776. The mansion has been empty since 1999. Continue your journey to Perth. Perth was originally a Roman outpost located at the highest navigable point on the River Tay. Its long history has been linked to the river as a crossing point into the north and it played an important role in the Wars of Independence in the 14th century. The Perth Museum is one of the oldest local museums in the UK with a depth and quality of exhibits reflecting this status, showing the local and natural history of the area. North of Perth is the site of the famous battle of North Inch. In 1396 King Robert III tried to resolve the feuds between Clan Cameron and Clan Chattan, which included members of the Davidson clan. An arena was built and each clan chose 30 of their best warriors to take part in a battle. The fight was so horrifically bloody only one of the combatants survived, and the feuds continued worse than before! Now head north on the A9 towards Inverness. Just south of Newtonmore is the site of the battle of Invernahaven. David Dubh of Invernahaven was the first Clan Davidson chief. His ancestors were from Kingussie to the north-east. The battle took place in 1387 when Camerons living on lands in Lochaber belonging to the Chattans had refused to pay the rent and Mackintosh-Chattan men had taken their cattle in lieu of the debt without their agreement. Some 400 Camerons gathered to take revenge and the Captain of Clan Chattan, the Mackintosh chief, called upon Davidsons and Macphersons to support him in the battle. The Davidsons were given the honour of fighting at the right hand side of the Mackintoshes and as a result the dishonoured Macphersons stormed off the battlefield before the fight had even begun. The Camerons now outnumbered the Davidsons and Mackintoshes and killed many of them. The next day the Macphersons were shamed into rejoining the battle and had no trouble in defeating the exhausted Camerons. Unfortunately it was the Davidson Clan who suffered, being greatly reduced as a result of the battle.
At Newtonmore and in Kingussie you'll find two fascinating Folk Museums where more than 400 years of Highland history are brought to life in exhibitions which track the everyday experiences of clansman and crofter. South-east of Aviemore is the Rothiemurchus Estate. The lands extend round Loch an Eilean, where a ruined castle stands on an island. In the mid 16th century a murderous Davidson was chained in the dungeons here before meeting a horrible end, and his head being set on a pole at the scene of his crime! But enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Cairngorms, and the natural history of Scotland here. Now travel to Inverness. The Davidsons are thought to have settled in this area after the Battle of North Inch in the early 15th century, specifically in Cantray to the east of Inverness in the Culloden area and on the Black Isle to the north of Inverness.
You may want to relax and enjoy the Highland hospitality of Inverness after a busy few days, and there is plenty to see. A fine introduction to the area can be found at Inverness Museum. Now we will explore the Black Isle peninsula. Travel north-west to Dingwall which sits at the head of Cromarty Firth. Dingwall has a long history. Its name is Viking and means parliament field and it has been an administrative centre since the 800s. In more modern times it was the famous engineer Thomas Telford who built the harbour here in 1820. Visit the award winning Dingwall Museum, which has permanent displays including a smiddy, kitchen and military room. Nearby is Tulloch Castle, the home of the Davidson chiefs from 1762. It was originally built in 1466 and was purchased from the Bayne family by Henry Davidson, the first of Tulloch. His son Duncan carried out grand improvements to the castle as well as to the lands and roads around, even reclaiming some land from the sea. It stayed in the Davidson family until quite recently but is now a hotel, with the promise of special attention for any Davidsons staying there.
Now head north-east to the tip of the peninsula, to Cromarty. Records show that there were Davidsons in Cromarty in the 1670's, and they wereinvolved in the local council. Cromarty is a pretty town with a seafaring tradition. Hugh Miller's Cottage, the last thatched cottage in Cromarty, offers an insight into life in the early 1800s. Cromarty Courthouse Museum tells the history of the town using animated figures and audio-visual displays. Travel to the south-west through the RSPB bird reserve to Fortrose. You may see dolphins in the Moray Firth here. Fortrose dates back to the 1200s when the Cathedral of Ross was built. Explore the attractive streets of Victorian villas and the red stone remains of the cathedral. Alexander Davidson, an author, was also the Town Clerk here in the late 1600s. Now return to Inverness and for a truly atmospheric experience, make the short journey to the battleground of Culloden where, in April 1746, 'Bonnie' Prince Charlie's Jacobite rebellion was crushed by Government forces. Clan Chattan and Clan Davidsons fought courageously but suffered heavy losses at the battle in support of the "young pretender".
We will now travel east on the A96 to the site of the Battle of Harlaw, to the north of Inverurie. Break your journey to look round a whisky distillery or two - and to admire the scenery. The battle of Harlaw took place in 1411. The Lord of the Isles, who did not acknowledge the Stuart monarch, had gathered a huge army of 10,000 Highland clansmen to attack the Lowland army at Harlaw. Sir Robert Davidson, Lord Provost of Aberdeen led the townspeople of Aberdeen together with the Earl of Mar and his supporters against this huge army. They numbered only 1,000 but were much better equipped and disciplined and many were noble knights. The battle was very bloody and many were killed and wounded, and there was no victor. Sir Robert was slain and the Lord of the Isles never regained his power nor posed any future threat. There is a monument which marks the site and Sir Robert's name is the first on the monument. He was buried in a crypt in St Nicholas Kirk in Aberdeen. Continue on to Aberdeen.
Spend a few hours exploring the distinctive grey-stoned architecture that gives the place its nickname of the Granite City. Perhaps visit the fine Maritime Museum. You may also like to view the elegant buildings of Kings College, one of the oldest university colleges in Scotland. Now begin the journey back to Edinburgh. Drive west across the Cairngorms to Balmoral Castle, the beautiful summer retreat of the Royal Family. Duncan Davidson, Laird of Tulloch was a favoured friend of Queen Victoria and visited her here at Balmoral. She made him Lord Lieutenant of Ross-shire. Continue west through Braemar. This is an attractive village which enjoyed the royal patronage of Queen Victoria. It also boasts the record for the lowest recorded temperature in Britain of -27.2 degrees on 10th January 1982. Half a mile to the east is Braemar Castle, a fairytale castle inside star-shaped walls. This was used as a garrison for Government forces during the Jacobite uprising. The Castle now has many period furnished rooms and museum exhibitions and is well worth exploring. The castle is owned by the Farquharson family who were part of the Clan Chattan confederation.
Continue south to Edinburgh. If time allows you can make a slight
detour to Dundee, where many Davidsons settled. It is
Scotland's fourth largest city and has a history covering the last two
thousand years. It was once a major centre of the jute industry and at
Discovery Point and Verdant Works (www.rrsdiscovery.com) you will find a working jute
mill in the award winning industrial museum, together with the Antarctic
museum where you can see the famous exploration ship Discovery and find
out about the explorer Captain Scott. Return to Edinburgh.
Before leaving Scotland, and Edinburgh behind, you might like to relax and enjoy one of the excellent bus tours of the city, visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the end of Edinburgh's historic Royal Mile or explore Edinburgh Castle, from the battlements of which you can enjoy commanding views out over both the New and Old towns of Edinburgh.
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