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 Murray was a great and powerful clan scattered throughout Scotland. It is
said to originate from a Flemish knight who was granted lands in
Linlithgowshire, to the south of Stirling, and later following his quelling of
uprisings in the north, lands at Duffus, by the then King, David I. The Murrays
flourished and played an important part in establishing Scotland's early
independence and its subsequent protection and government.
This itinerary takes you from the historic cities of Edinburgh and Striling to the magnificent Highlands and Glens of Scotland to visit the lands of your ancestors. It will highlight just a few of the stories and places where Clan Murray chiefs and their followers have left their mark. You can experience the peace and tranquility of the inspiring Scottish landscapes, the evocative splendour of ancient castles, the hospitality of 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 travelers 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.
Just a few miles to the west of the capital is Broxburn and just north of Uphall was where Strathbroch, Linlithgowshire was located. This was where Freskin the Flemish ancestor of the Murrays was first granted lands by David I. He built a castle here but nothing remains. Nearby to the west is Linlithgow itself. Although a busy administrative and shopping centre Linlithgow retains many features from its regal and historic past. Linlithgow Palace was the favourite home of Scottish royalty. It is now a magnificent ruin lying between the town and Linlithgow Loch. Travel to Stirling and visit the very impressive Stirling Castle, a favoured retreat of the Stewart monarchs and the childhood home of Mary, Queen of Scots. North of the castle is the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297). William Wallace and Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell had raised an army of low ranking spearmen, many of the Scottish nobles being held captive in England. They faced the superior armoured knights of the English forces across a wooden bridge and refused to surrender or flee. The ensuing battle was unexpectedly won by the Scots but Sir Andrew was mortally wounded and died two months later. Then travel a mile or so southwest of the city to visit the very poignant site of the Battle of Bannockburn (1314). Robert the Bruce followed Wallace's ambitions for Scotland to be independent of England. Bruce declared himself King of Scotland in 1306 and began a long and arduous campaign to secure his title, finally achieving success at this battle. The son of Sir Andrew Moray supported Bruce and married Christian, one of Bruce's sisters.
Leave Stirling and head north-east towards Auchterarder. To the west past Gleneagles is Tullibardine Chapel. The chapel is one of the most complete and original medieval churches in Scotland. Tullibardine sits on the northern edge of the Ochil Hills, noted for their spring waters and whisky distilling. The lands of Tullibardine were transferred to the Murrays in 1282 through the marriage of Sir William to the daughter of the seneschal (administrator) of Strathearn. The Murrays of Tullibardine prospered. In 1458 Sir William Murray was sheriff of Perthshire and one of the King's daily council. He had 17 sons who continued the prosperity of the clan. These Murrays assumed leadership of the clan in the 16th century. Continue north to Crieff. On the way visit the Drummond Castle Gardens, one of the finest formal gardens in Europe. The Murrays of Tullibardine married into the Drummond family. However the Murrays of Ochtertyre (Ochtertyre was an area north of the road between Crieff and Comrie, no longer evidenced on maps) feuded with the Drummonds over a long period in the late 15th century. This feuding led to a tragic episode of clan warfare where many Murrays were slain at the little kirk of Monzievaird which was in Ochtertyre. Crieff was well established even before 1690 when the bridge was built. In 1691 the first public lending library in Scotland was opened here. It prospered as a market town as cattle were herded here from the Highlands, but it was attacked by the Jacobites in the 1715 and 1745 uprisings. It later became a resort town having beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and a warm sunny aspect. A few miles to the east of Crieff is Abercairny. Freskin's grandson William de Moravia was the ancestor of the Murrays of Abercairny and they owned these estates until the 1850s when they passed to the Drummond family, there being no male heir. The estate was saved for them on one occasion by a faithful servant who prevented the Laird from joining the rebellion of Bonnie Prince Charlie. He spilled boiling water on the Laird's legs as he put his boots on, and exclaimed, "Let them fecht wha will, bide ye at hame and be laird of Abercairney." The Drummond-Murrays live there now in a modern house, the original country mansion having been demolished. Continue east to Perth.
Just north of Perth is Scone Palace a splendid palace and grounds. The first Lord Scone was Sir David Murray, James VI's cupbearer, master of the Horse and Captain of the Guard. When King James became James I of England, Sir David went to London where he saved the King's life in the "Gowrie conspiracy" and was rewarded with the palace and lands at Scone in 1604. Travel north through Pitlochry to Blair Atholl. The seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl, Blair Castle is set in majestic grounds in the heart of highland Perthshire. It has extensive collections of arms and armour, pictures, furniture, porcelain, embroidery and family memorabilia and although a private home is open to the public. The Murrays married into the family of the Earls of Atholl in the 17th century and at the castle you can find out about the Stewart and Murray Dukes of Atholl and their distinctive history. The current Duke of Atholl is the Murray Clan Chief. Continue north for just less than 40 miles to the villages of Kingussie and Newtonmore. Here you'll find two fascinating Folk Museums where more than 400 years of Highland life are brought to life in exhibitions which track the everyday experiences of clansman and crofter. The experience is well worth the journey.
Continue on your journey. North of Aviemore, turn off the A9 and make your way to Kildrummy. There are two routes to choose from - the steep road which skirts the Cairngorms National Park or the longer, less steep route north-east along Strathspey and then south-east through Dufftown. Kildrummy Castle was built in 1250 by the Earl of Mar. It was a magnificent and imposing building and although a ruin now it is easy to see how impressive it must have been. Sir Andrew Murray who was distinguished for his support of Robert the Bruce and married Bruce's sister, was appointed Regent by the Scottish Parliament after the overthrow of the Regent Earl of Mar. He was a prisoner in England at the time of the battle of Halidon Hill, but was freed in time to march to the relief of his wife, Christian, who was bravely defending Kildrummy Castle. It was one of the four strongholds in Scotland which held out for David Bruce against Edward Balliol and Edward III. Now travel to Elgin. There are several whisky distilleries to visit if you need a break on the way. North of Elgin you will find Duffus Castle, a fine example of a motte and bailey castle and the original seat of your Murray family ancestors.
Today make your way west to Nairn. If time allows follow the road south at Nairn to Lochindorb. On the island in the loch are the ruins of the 13th century castle. In 1335 Sir Andrew Moray besieged Lochindorb and was almost surprised by the English, taking time to complete the service of Mass which he was hearing, and then by delaying to mend a strap of his armour which had been broken, but then led his force out of danger in good time through the wild passes of the Findhorn. Now make your way to Inverness You may want to relax and enjoy the Highland hospitality of Inverness after a busy few days, but there is plenty to see and do here. A fine introduction to the area can be found at Inverness Museum. Then, 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. The Murrays fought for the Jacobite cause and William, Marquis of Tullibardine tried to flee to the western isles after the defeat. Unfortunately he became unwell and had to surrender before reaching safety. He later died in the Tower of London.
Now start your long journey home and head back to Edinburgh. Any of the places you did not have time for on your journey north to Inverness can be visited on the way back, or re-visit your favourite places.
Return to Edinburgh. Before you leave Scotland you can visit
the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the end of the Royal Mile.
The new Scottish Parliament building lies nearby. At the
other end of the Royal Mile is Edinburgh Castle, from the battlements of which you
can enjoy commanding views out over both the New and Old towns of
Return home, knowing that you have walked in the footsteps of some of your ancient ancestors.
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