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.
Nothing certain is known of the origins of Clan Grant but they flourished in
the Highlands of Scotland as the people of Strathspey which was known as "the
country of the Grants" from the early 14th century. The Chiefs of the clan
acquired high position and power within the region. Their history is full of
stories of courage and loyalty, even in the face of adversity.
This itinerary takes you to the magnificent Highlands of Scotland to visit the lands of your ancestors. It will highlight just a few of the stories and places where Clan Grant chiefs and their followers have left their mark. You can experience the peace and tranquillity of the inspiring Scottish landscapes, the evocative splendour of ancient castles, the hospitality of the local people and much more.
Arrive in Aberdeen and spend a few hours exploring the distinctive grey-stoned architecture that gives the place its nickname of the Granite City.
Set off northwards around the coast to Cullen, looking out for the numerous castles and coastal landscapes on the way. Overlooked by spectacular railway viaducts, Cullen is an extremely attractive town. As the sign at the entrance to the town makes clear, it is known as the home of a delicious smoked fish soup called cullen skink. It also lays claim to the best ice-cream shop in Scotland. Half a mile south of Cullen is Cullen House, once the home of the Earls of Seafield, the Chiefs of Clan Grant in the 19th century. It is now a private residence but the Earl and Countess of Seafield still live nearby. Continue west towards Inverness. A few miles before you reach Inverness is the battleground of Culloden. Here in April 1746, 'Bonnie' Prince Charlie's Jacobite rebellion was crushed by Government forces. Many stories are told of the Grants and their efforts to support the Prince and to shelter him after his defeat.
Rest a while in Inverness, the beautiful, bustling capital of the Highlands. Inverness is an ancient town; it was destroyed by Alexander, Lord of the Isles in 1429 but was quickly rebuilt. A fine introduction to the area can be found at Inverness Museum. During the 13th century the Clan Grant became established in Scotland. An early Grant married the daughter of Sir John Bisset and one of their sons became the sheriff of Inverness in 1493 and was awarded the title of Sir Laurence le Grande. The Inverness Castle seen today was built in the 1830s as an administrative centre, but it houses an exhibition portraying the earlier medieval castle.
Leave Inverness and take the road to Drumnadrochit. Your journey takes you along the shore of Loch Ness, so look out for the monster! The splendid and atmospheric Urquhart Castle stands on the shore south of Drumnadrochit. There is a visitor centre with audio visual displays depicting the history of noble families who have held the castle, including the Grants. The Grants of Glenmoriston were granted the castle by James IV in 1509. Later in 1691 it was destroyed by Government forces to prevent the Jacobites from using it. Continue along the shore of Loch Ness to Invermoriston, a small hamlet on the Great Glen Way, a 73 mile path from Fort William to Inverness. Glenmoriston stretches out to the south-west, drive through the glen and back to the main route at Invergarry. After the defeat at Culloden, Charles Edward Stuart, now a fugitive, was given shelter by Patrick Grant of Craskie and others who were outlaws known as the Seven Men of Glenmoriston. They did not forsake the Prince for the large bounty on his head and have an honourable place in Scottish history. Many Grant clansfolk suffered at the hands of the Government forces because of their unfailing support for the Prince. Now continue south-west to Spean Bridge then turn north-east to the heartlands of Badenoch and Strathspey where you will find the villages of Kingussie and Newtonmore. Here are two fascinating Highland Folk Museums. More than 400 years of Highland history are brought to life in exhibitions which track the everyday experiences of clansman and crofter. Just south of Kingussie are Ruthven Barracks perched on top of a steep glacial mound, with views of the mountains and glens all around. These were one of four fortified barracks built to control the Highland peoples after the 1715 Jacobite uprising. More than a century earlier this was the site of a castle built by the Earl of Huntly, the Chief of the Gordons. Its proximity to Grant country, and disputes between the Earl and his Grant and Chattan vassals led to much conflict and bloodshed between the Gordons and the Grants.
Continue your journey north towards Aviemore. To the south-east is the Rothiemurchus Estate which extends round Loch Eilean, where a ruined castle stands on an island. This is a place to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Cairngorms, and the natural history of Scotland. The Grants of Rothiemurchus were descended from the son of John Grant, "the Gentle" who in 1560 was a member of the parliament which abolished so-called Popery as the established religion in Scotland. Near Aviemore is the Cairngorm funicular, the highest and fastest mountain railway in the country and a special way to enjoy the spectacular views. Heading north, to the east of Carrbridge is Duthil. Here is the Grant Clan centre, housed in the Duthil Kirk. It is currently being developed as a visitor centre by the Clan Grant Society. At the Kirk are the mausoleum and graves of some of the Clan Grant chiefs and the Earls of Seafield. Along Strathspey a few miles to the north-east is Grantown-on-Spey, a Georgian town planned by the Laird, Sir James Grant in 1766. It is a notable resort town and was favoured by Queen Victoria. Local history and genealogy records can be found at the Grantown Museum. A mile north is Castle Grant, originally the property of Comyn of Freuchie. According to tradition a young son of Grant of Stratherick ran away and married a daughter of the Chief of MacGregor and took refuge in Strathspey. The Comyn Chief tried to evict the couple and their followers. The MacGregor Chief forgave the young couple and the MacGregors and Grants attacked Castle Freuchie and killed the Comyn Chief in revenge for his treatment of them. It is said that his skull is carefully preserved at Castle Grant (Castle Freuchie having been renamed). In 1765 Sir James Grant rebuilt the castle as a grand mansion and brought in agricultural reforms, the displaced tenants being re-housed in the new town. Castle Grant was sold by the Grant family in the 1970s.
Continue north-east to Ballindalloch. Ballindalloch Castle is described by some as the "Pearl of the North". It started as a fortified tower house in the 16th century and has been extended and developed over the centuries into a magnificent castle, now the home of the Macpherson-Grants. Drive back to the city of Aberdeen, perhaps enjoying some of the numerous whisky distilleries, archaeological and historical sites of interest on the way. Your Grant ancestors may have lived in one of the many of the small hamlets and villages in the Banffshire and Aberdeenshire areas.
Spend some time exploring the city of Aberdeen, perhaps visiting the fine Maritime Museum or the elegant buildings of Kings
College, one of the oldest university colleges in Scotland.
Leave Aberdeen behind, but take with you memories of a place steeped in the myths, legends and heritage of your ancestors.
To search over 8,000 quality assured accommodation, from bed and breakfast to castles log on to www.visitscotland.com.
The information contained in this itinerary is as supplied to VisitScotland and to the best of VisitScotland's knowledge was correct at the time of publication. VisitScotland can accept no responsibility for any errors or omissions.
VisitScotland is committed to ensuring that our natural environment and built heritage, upon which tourism is so dependent, is safeguarded for future generations to enjoy.