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.
Golf enthusiasts will be familiar with the name Colin Montgomery, one of
Britain's finest golfers. He was born in Glasgow. American history enthusiasts,
too, will be familiar with the name: General Richard Montgomery was the first
American general to die in the cause of independence in 1775.
The Montgomery clan is one of the oldest known, Roger de Montgomery having arrived in England with William the Conqueror in 1066. His grandson went to Scotland and was granted lands in Renfrewshire by King David I. There were many branches of the clan and they expanded in the 14th Century after Sir John the 7th chief of the clan captured Harry Hotspur at the Battle of Otterburn. He acquired the baronies of Eglinton and Ardrossan through marriage and their grandson Alexander was created Lord Montgomery in 1449.
Today you arrive in the cosmopolitan city of Glasgow, Scotland's largest urban centre and a popular destination for a short break. Glasgow's fine museums and galleries are complemented by the Mitchell Library, one of the largest public reference libraries in Europe and home of the city archives.
Clyde-built ships plied the seaways between Britain and North America, moving people and goods back and fore. Visit Clydebuilt to get an insight into this vitally important part of Scotland¿s industrial and social heritage. Then head west through Greenock and Gourock into the clan territories in Renfrew and North Ayrshire. On the coast you will arrive at Skelmorlie where the clan chiefs had a stronghold, Skelmorlie Castle. Originally the property of the Cunningham Clan, it was passed to the Clan Montgomery in the 1460's. The views from the castle are said to be some of the finest in Scotland, looking directly to Rothesay, the Isle of Bute and down across the Clyde to the peaks of Arran. There is self catering accommodation available in the castle.
Follow the coast road southwards through Largs and on to Ardrossan where you will catch the ferry for the journey to the beautiful island of Arran. The name means 'peaked island' in Gaelic and you can easily see why! The ferry docks in Brodick and nearby stands Brodick Castle, once in possession of Lord Montgomery prior to the Dukes of Hamilton and, today, in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. The castle gardens are perhaps at their most beautiful in spring when the rhododendrons bloom. Spend the rest of today exploring Arran and stay overnight to enjoy some island hospitality
Returning via Ardrossan, travel to Eglinton Castle just a short distance north of Irvine. This was one of the chief possessions of the Montgomery Clan for two centuries and the site of the lavish Eglinton Tournament in August 1839, a mock medieval tournament that featured the future Emperor Napoleon III of France as one of the combatants! Today all that remains of the castle are some ruins, the building having fallen into disuse and being used for naval gunnery practice in World War Two. A sad ending for such an important building.
Spend the day exploring North Ayrshire. Perhaps you will want to follow in Colin Montgomery's footsteps and enjoy some of Ayrshire's excellent golf courses. Or if you are still in the mood for more castles, a visit to Dundonald Castle, royal residence of the early Stewart Kings, is highly recommended. The commanding views from the castle extend over lands that your ancestors will have known well.
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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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