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.
Clan Donald is a large clan with a proud history. Such was its far reaching
influence that it would be impossible to explore all the clan heartlands in one
trip. Instead, we have concentrated on the lands to the west of Scotland,
particularly the Isle of Skye, one of the most romantic - and most beautiful -
areas in the whole of the country.
The Clan Donald were once rulers of the 'sea kingdom' on Scotland's west coast and found particular success in Skye where they become the self-styled Lords of the Isles. A visit here, and some of the other notable homelands, would provide a truly memorable experience for Macdonalds everywhere.
Arrive in Inverness, the beautiful, bustling capital of the Highlands. The Inverness Tourist Information Centre has a wealth of information to help you make the most of your time in the city. A fine introduction to the area can be found at Inverness Museum. Or, 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.
In the nearby villages of Kingussie and Newtonmore, you'll find two fascinating Highland Folk Museums. Here, more than 400 years of Highland life are brought to life in exhibitions which track the everyday experiences of clansman and crofter.
A stunning drive, in the shadow of mountains, by the shores of lochs, takes you to the Kyle of Lochalsh and the bridge to the Isle of Skye. Over the bridge, head south to the Armadale Castle Gardens and Museum of the Isles. Built in 1825 as the MacDonald clan seat, this neo-Gothic castle has been recently restored to create a museum charting the clan's reign as Lord of the Isles.
Drive north to Skye's largest settlement, the picturesque harbour village of Portree, where, in 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie bade his final farewell to Flora MacDonald. It was Flora who had helped Charlie escape to Skye following his defeat at Culloden; the flight immortalised in the Skye Boat Song ('Speed bonnie boat...'). You can visit Flora's grave near Portree. While here, a visit to the Skye Heritage Centre at nearby Aros is worth the small detour. If time permits, a trip to Dunvegan affords a wonderful opportunity to visit Dunvegan Castle and other local attractions, including the Colbost Croft Museum where the smoke from the peat fire creates an evocative atmosphere.
Like Bonnie Prince Charlie afore ye, it's time to bid a fond farewell to Skye. But, fear not, we head for Glencoe, the darkly beautiful site of the infamous 1692 massacre of more than thirty members of the Macdonald clan. A stunning new Visitor Centre can be found at nearby Inverrigan, where the whole bloody story unfolds in a memorable audio-visual experience.
Will it be the magical isles of Islay, Jura or Eigg (MacDonald strongholds all)? It would be difficult to do any one of these justice in the time you have left, let alone all three. But it will give you something to look forward to on your next trip. Whatever you decide, it's time to head back to Inverness for a final night of Highland hospitality.
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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.
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