Clan Ross itinerary

The Ross Clan has a long and noble history stretching back to the early 12th century. The name came from the land where they lived, the promontory between the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths. The clan has played a prominent role in the affairs of Scotland and was a signatory of the Declaration of Arbroath.

Follow this five-day itinerary through the ancestral lands of Clan Ross in the Highlands and the beautiful island of Skye.

  • Armadale Castle, Skye
    Armadale Castle, Skye
  • Looking up the main driveway of Dunvegan Castle and Gardens
    Dunvegan Castle and Gardens
  • Loch Ness
    Loch Ness
  • Portree, the main town on Skye
    Portree, Isle of Skye
  • Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness
    Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness

Start your journey in Inverness, the beautiful, bustling capital of the Highlands. A fine introduction to the area can be found at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. 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. Clan Ross supported the Government throughout the Jacobite uprisings.

There are two options for the journey. Either head south east on the A9 and A86 to the village of Newtonmore, where you'll find the fascinating Highland Folk Museums. Here, more than 400 years of Highland history are brought to life in exhibitions which track the everyday experiences of clansman and crofter. Continue on the A86 but turn north at Spean Bridge onto the A82, a stunning drive, in the shadow of mountains and by the shores of lochs, to the beautiful Kyle of Lochalsh.

Alternatively, for a shorter route travel from Inverness on the road to Drumnadrochit. Your journey takes you along the shore of Loch Ness, so look out for the monster! The splendid and atmospheric Urquhart Castle stands on the shore south of Drumnadrochit. There is a visitor centre with audio visual displays depicting the history of noble families who have held the castle. Continue along the shore of Loch Ness to Invermoriston, and west along Glen Morriston and Glen Sheil to Kyle of Lochalsh.

Make your way to the Isle of Skye to see what life is like in a Scottish island community. Cross the bridge and head south to the Armadale Castle Gardens and Museum of the Isles. Built in 1825 as the MacDonald clan seat, this neo-Gothic castle has been recently restored to create a museum charting the clan's reign as Lord of the Isles. William the son of Fearcher, Earl of Ross, was given land in Skye and Lewis as well as in Ross and Moray in the early 13th century. Two centuries later the Lord of the Isles laid claim to the Earldom of Ross for his wife and raised an army of Highlanders against a rival claimant the Duke of Albany with his army of Lowlanders.

Drive north to Skye's largest settlement, the picturesque harbour village of Portree, where, in 1746, 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' bade his final farewell to Flora MacDonald. It was Flora who had helped Charlie escape to Skye following his defeat at Culloden. While here, a visit to the Aros Experience, Skye’s heritage centre, on the outskirts of Portree is worth the small detour. If time permits, a trip to Dunvegan affords a wonderful opportunity to visit Dunvegan Castle and other local attractions, including the Colbost Croft Museum where the smoke from the peat fire creates an evocative atmosphere.

Back on the mainland, head north east to Strathcarron. The Highland Clearances in the area in 1854 meant that many Ross clansmen were forced to leave the area or even Scotland to find new homes elsewhere. Drive through Glen Carron and Strath Bran to Dingwall at the head of the Cromarty Firth. To the north east of here, between the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths is the area of Ross, settled in the 14th and 15th centuries by the Earls of Ross and their followers who later became the Ross Clan.

A few miles north east of Alness is Delny. Fearcher, the first Earl of Ross lived and died at Delny Castle in the 1200s. Today nothing remains of the original castle, but a tower house was built on the site by the later Earls, and is now run as a guest house, Delny House.

At Hill of Fearn, north of Pitcalnie, you will find Fearn Abbey which was founded by the Earl of Ross in 1225. Originally it was sited between Bonar Bridge and Edderton but was relocated to the better agricultural land here, in 1238. The 1790's parish church brickwork hides St Michael's Aisle which dates back to 1485.

Next, travel to Tain an old Viking settlement and the location where Saint Duthus was born in the 11th century. For this reason many nobles and royalty made pilgrimages to Tain to seek sanctuary in the St Duthus shrine. In 1307 the Earl of Ross was forced to surrender Robert the Bruce's wife and daughter, who had sought sanctuary at the shrine, to the English. King Bruce was enraged but later pardoned the Earl and the Earl's son married the King's sister to mark the reconciliation.

Tain Through Time, housed in The Pilgrimage, explains the long history of Tain and has a wealth of Clan Ross images and documents. A mile north of Tain is the Glenmorangie Distillery - for those partial to a wee dram!

After your exploration of Tain return to Inverness directly for another look round the beautiful city or take a meandering route to see more of the mountainous scenery and historic sites.