Clan Campbell itinerary

Follow this Clan Campbell itinerary and discover just a few of the many Campbell castles and strongholds in Scotland.

The Campbell Clan has long been one of the most numerous and powerful clans, gaining allegiances from many smaller clans over the centuries by both diplomatic and other means. Their success is owed to the remarkable succession of clan chiefs referred to as MacCailein Mor in Gaelic.

  • Castle Campbell above Dollar Glen
    Castle Campbell above Dollar Glen
  • Culloden Battlefield at dusk, near Inverness
    Culloden Battlefield, near Inverness
  • Edinburgh Castle
    Edinburgh Castle
  • Inveraray Castle, Argyll
    Inveraray Castle, Argyll

The early Campbell homelands cover the area to the north and west of Glasgow, from Argyll northwards into the Grampian Mountains and on into Perthshire. The itinerary also takes you around the beautiful and rugged northern area of Scotland where the Campbells have left their marks. 

Start off in Glasgow, where the city’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.

Head west past Greenock to Gourock, and take the ferry to Dunoon on the Cowal Peninsula. Following Robert the Bruce's victory at Bannockburn, the Clan Lamont Castle at Dunoon was made a royal castle and the Campbell family became the castle keepers.

Dunoon Castle had a grizzly past and little remains of the building. Castle House Museum, built in 1820 using the old stone from the original castle tells the story of its past. Holy Loch nearby was home to American nuclear submarines and their mother ships during the Cold War.

Head north and travel along the coast of Loch Eck to Strachur, one of the Campbells' acquisitions dating from the late 13th century. Continue north then south around Loch Fyne to sample the hospitality of Inveraray overnight.

The town of Inveraray is one of Scotland's earliest and best preserved planned towns. There is a maritime museum and the award-winning Inveraray Jail, Scotland's living 19th century prison where you can experience life in a cell. Nearby is Inveraray Castle, the permanent base for the now worldwide association of Clan Campbell. It is also the family home of the 13th Duke of Argyll, the 27th chief of the clan. Here, you can not only discover much about Clan Campbell, you can also enjoy 16 acres of formal gardens, park and woodland walks.

Travel north to Loch Awe ('ambush' in Gaelic), where the chiefly line of the Campbells emerged in the 14th century. Their power and wealth increased as a result of supporting the monarchy against the local rebels.

Turn west to the coast to follow the road north to Glencoe ('narrow glen'), with majestic mountain scenery which is as famous as the events which took place there in 1692. A stunning visitor centre can be found at nearby Inverigan where the whole bloody story unfolds in a memorable audio-visual experience. Great value Discover Tickets give you free admission to National Trust for Scotland attractions for 3, 7 or 14 days.

Continue north through Fort William and on to Inverness, spending some time to take in the scenery and look out for the fabled monster as you pass by Loch Ness. Spend an evening enjoying the restaurants and nightlife of Inverness, or relax by an open fire with a dram.

Now in Inverness, you can experience the beautiful, bustling capital of the Highlands. Explore Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, or make the short journey to the battleground of Culloden where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite Rebellion was defeated by government forces supported by the Campbells in 1746.

Further east is the fairy-tale Cawdor Castle. Linked with Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the castle is owned by the Campbell Earls of Cawdor whose maternal ancestors were the medieval Thanes of Cawdor. The castle is encompassed by three gardens, a golf course and wood, through which a path leads to the garden at the Cawdor dower house which was inspired by Tibet's Tsangpo Gorges.

Leaving Inverness, the road south leads to the village of Newtonmore where you will find the fascinating Highland Folk Museum. Further south you will enter the Perthshire lands of Black Duncan's grandson Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy, who in 1681 was created the first Earl of Breadalbane.

Travel on to Stirling to stay overnight, and if time allows visit the impressive Stirling Castle, a favoured royal retreat for the Stuart dynasty and the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots. To the east of Stirling lies Clackmannan, which was the chief lowland stronghold of the Campbell Clan. Originally called Castle Gloom, Castle Campbell is an awe-inspiring site, dramatically situated above Dollar Glen and dating as far back as the 15th century.

Before returning to Glasgow, why not spend some time in Edinburgh, Scotland's historic capital? The Campbell chiefs combined their role of clan chiefs with taking a leading part in the affairs of Scotland, Great Britain and the Empire over the centuries. Many Campbell clansmen have served the Crown and there have been 16 regiments associated with the Campbells.

There are plenty of historic attractions in Edinburgh to visit. A good starting point is the National Museum of Scotland where you'll find the history of Scotland from early geological times through to the present day. The nearby Scottish Genealogy Society library in Victoria Terrace boasts a wealth of genealogical information and guidance, and beautiful views can be enjoyed from the majestic Edinburgh Castle.