Clan Grant touring information

Clan Grant can trace its roots back to the 14th century when its people occupied Strathspey in the Highlands of Scotland which was then known as the ‘the country of the Grants’. Follow this itinerary take you through spectacular Highland scenery to the places and attractions connected to this once powerful and influential clan. Explore the tranquil and beautiful landscape and see where your ancestors left their mark.

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  • The gatehouse to Ballindalloch Castle with autumnal trees on either side
    The gatehouse to Ballindalloch Castle
  • Cullen
    Cullen
  • People walking across bridge and admiring Inverness Castle
    Inverness Castle
  • A ruined fortified building sits atop a small hill amidst mountainous scenery
    18th century Ruthven Barracks, near Kingussie

Arrive in the Granite City of Aberdeen and spend a few hours admiring its distinctive grey-stoned architecture which glistens silver in the sunshine. Visit the city's Maritime Museum which offers a fascianting insight into the city's proud seafaring heritage or walk around the elegant buildings of Kings College at the University of Aberdeen, one of Scotland's four ancient seats of learning.

Set off northwards to the coastal town of Cullen, looking out for the numerous castles dotted along the route. Overlooked by spectacular railway viaducts, Cullen is an attractive town which is famous for being the home of the delicious smoked fish soup dish Cullen skink. It is also home to the Ice Cream Shop, widely considered the best ice-cream parlour in Scotland. Half a mile south of Cullen is Cullen House, once the home of the Earls of Seafield, the Chiefs of Clan Grant in the 19th century. It is now a private residence but the Earl and Countess of Seafield still live nearby.

Continue west towards Inverness. A few miles before you reach Inverness is the battleground of Culloden. Here in April 1746, 'Bonnie' Prince Charlie's Jacobite rebellion was crushed by Government forces. There are many stories recounting the bravery of the Grants as they loyally defended the Prince and sheltered him after his defeat.

Begin the day in Inverness, the beautiful, bustling capital of the Highlands. An ancient town, it was destroyed by Alexander, Lord of the Isles in 1429 but was quickly rebuilt. Inverness Museum and Art Gallery offers a fascinating introduction to the region. It was in the 13th century that Clan Grant became established in Scotland. An early Grant married the daughter of Sir John Bisset and one of their sons became the sheriff of Inverness in 1493 and was awarded the title of Sir Laurence le Grande. Inverness Castle, built in the 1830s as an administrative centre, houses an exhibition reveals the castle as it would have existed during the medieval period.

After a day spent in Inverness, follow the the road to Drumnadrochit. As you drive along  the shore of Loch Ness, look out for the  atmospheric ruins of Urquhart Castle. Here audio visual displays inside the Visitor Centre bring to life the history of the noble families, including the Grants, who have held the castle throughout the ages. The Grants of Glenmoriston were granted the castle by James IV in 1509 but in 1691 it was destroyed by Government forces to prevent the Jacobites from using it.

Continue along the shore of Loch Ness to Invermoriston, a small hamlet on the Great Glen Way, a 73 mile path from Fort William to Inverness. Head next to Glenmoriston, located to the  south-west. After the defeat at Culloden, Charles Edward Stuart, now a fugitive, was given shelter by Patrick Grant of Craskie and others who became outlaws known as the Seven Men of Glenmoriston. By choosing not to forsake their allegiance to the Prince inspite of the large bounty on his head, the men secured their place in history.

Many Grant clansfolk suffered at the hands of the Government forces because of their unfailing support for the Prince. If you  continue south-west to Spean Bridge then turn north-east in the direction of  Badenoch and Strathspey, you will find the quaint village of  Newtonmore, home to a fascinating Highland Folk Museums. More than 400 years of Highland history has been preserved in exhibitions which reveal what everyday life would have been like for the ordinary clansman and crofter.

Just south of Kingussie are Ruthven Barracks perched on top of a steep glacial mound, with views of the mountains and glens all around. These were one of four fortified barracks built to control the Highland peoples after the 1715 Jacobite uprising. More than a century earlier this was the site of a castle built by the Earl of Huntly, the Chief of the Gordons. Its proximity to Grant country, and subsequent disputes between the Earl and his Grant and Chattan vassals led to much conflict and bloodshed between the rival clans.

Begin the day by journeying north towards Aviemore. To the south-east is the Rothiemurchus Estate which extends round Loch Eilean, where a ruined castle stands on an island. The Grants of Rothiemurchus were descended from the son of John Grant, 'the Gentle' who in 1560 was a member of the parliament which abolished Popery as the established religion in Scotland. 

 Near Aviemore is the Cairngorm Mountain Railway, the highest and fastest mountain railway in the country and a fantastic way to enjoy the scenery of the Cairngorms. Heading north to the east of Carrbridge before arriving at  Duthil where the Grant Clan centre is housed in the Duthil Kirk. At the Kirk are the mausoleum and graves of some of the Clan Grant chiefs and the Earls of Seafield.

Along Strathspey a few miles to the north-east is Grantown-on-Spey, a Georgian town planned by the Laird, Sir James Grant in 1766. It is a notable resort town and was favourite of Queen Victoria. Local history and genealogy records can be found at the Grantown Museum.

A mile north is Castle Grant, originally the property of Comyn of Freuchie. According to legend, a young son of Grant of Stratherick ran away and married a daughter of the Chief of MacGregor who then took refuge in Strathspey. The Comyn Chief tried to evict the couple and their supporters while the MacGregor Chief forgave the young couple. The MacGregors and Grants attacked Castle Freuchie and killed the Comyn Chief in revenge for his callous treatment of the young couple. It is said that his skull is carefully preserved at Castle Grant.

In 1765 Sir James Grant rebuilt the castle as a grand mansion and introduced agricultural reforms which resulted in the displaced tenants being re-housed in the new town. Castle Grant was sold by the Grant family in the 1970s.

Start the day with a trip to the splendid Ballindalloch Castle, frequently described as the 'Pearl of the North'. Originally built as a fortified tower house in the 16th century, it has since been  extended and developed over the centuries into a magnificent castle and remains the beloved family residence of the Macpherson-Grants.

After exploring its exquisite interior and beautiful grounds, drive back to the city of Aberdeen, perhaps stopping by one of the many historic whisky distilleries located along the way. Perhaps one of your Grant ancestors lived in one of the many of the small towns and villages located in the Banffshire and Aberdeenshire areas?