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.
The origins of the Clan Munro are uncertain, but their roots go deep into
Scottish history. Tradition has it that, in the 11th century, a group of
mercenary Irish soldiers were given lands in Ross-shire by the King in return
for helping defeat Viking invaders. They established themselves on the shores
of the Cromarty Firth and gradually spread their influence into the fertile
plains of Easter Ross in the area now known as the Black Isle.
The clan was loyal and generally peaceful, but it has a proud martial tradition. Munro clansmen helped form the backbone of the Scottish regiments that took part in the great European struggles of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Arrive in Inverness, the beautiful, bustling capital of the Highlands. You could start your exploration of Highland heritage at the Inverness Museum in the heart of this small city. Just up the hill is Inverness Castle, built in 1835. The Inverness library has a dedicated genealogy team which can help with your research, though you are advised to contact them in advance. Just to the west of the city is the village of Clachnaharry where there is a monument commemorating an ancient bloody battle between your ancestors and men of the Clan Mackintosh. Before departing Inverness, call into the Tourist Information Centre, on Castle Wynd, for directions to Clachnaharry.
A short journey southwards from Inverness will take you to the nearby villages of Kingussie and Newtonmore where 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. Then back north where, on the outskirts of Inverness, you will find the atmospheric battlefield of Culloden where, in April 1746, 'Bonnie' Prince Charlie's Jacobite rebellion was crushed by Government forces. Munros fighting at Culloden were on the Jacobite side.
Today you leave Inverness and cross the Cromarty Firth to enter the heartland of the Clan Munro. The clan seat is Foulis Castle near the village of Evanton, just four miles from Dingwall. Note that the castle, much of which dates from the 18th century, is a private home and is open by appointment only. Nearby is Storehouse of Foulis, a restored Girnel or rent house set beside the shore on the Cromarty Firth. The Storehouse is a mine of information about the Munro clan through the ages. You should also consider the lovely walk up to the Cnoc Fyrish monument, which offers a wonderful view over all of Munro Country. It was built by General Sir Hector Munro of Novar (1726-1805) who served in India, to represent the gates of Negatapam, the scene of one of his victories. At the end of your day in Munro country, drive the short distance to Dingwall ready for tomorrow's exploration of this historic town.
Situated at the head of the Cromarty Firth, Dingwall has a long history including being a meeting place or 'Ting' in Viking times. The Dingwall Heritage Trail is the easiest way to get to know the town's history and can be completed in under two hours. Then travel southwards to the tranquil village of Beauly with its beautiful 13th century ruined priory. If you are captivated by the charm of the priory and its setting then you are in good company. Mary Queen of Scots is said to have greatly admired Beauly. While in Beauly, don't forget to visit Made in Scotland where you can see a range of quality Scottish gifts including crafts, jewellery, knitwear and textiles.
Spend today enjoying the so-called Black Isle, though it is neither black nor an island! This attractive peninsula, just across the Cromarty Firth from your ancestral homeland, has many attractions. In the seaside village of Rosemarkie, the Groam House Museum will help you find out about the ancient Pictish people who inhabited the area long before your ancestors arrived. Looking across the Moray Firth you will see Fort George, built as a garrison after the 1745 rebellion was suppressed. Look out, too, for dolphins playing in the clear waters of the Firth. Boat trips may be available, enabling you to see these graceful creatures more closely.
It is time to return to Inverness and say farewell to the Highlands as you
end your ancestral journey.
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