Clan Cameron itinerary

Take this Clan Cameron itinerary, which will take you to the lands once home to your courageous ancestors and help you explore their stories.

The history of Clan Cameron is rooted in the Lochaber area in the Western Highlands. Here, you will find Britain’s highest mountain and deepest loch. The spectacular scenery is wild and rugged yet can be serene, peaceful and remote from the cities and urban life.

  • Looking across the calm waters of Loch Linnhe to Fort William and Ben Nevis
    Ben Nevis
  • Buachaille Etive Mor with Allt Nan Gubhas in the foreground, Glen Coe
    Buachaille Etive Mor, Glen Coe
  • Glenfinnan Monument at the head of Loch Shiel
    Glenfinnan Monument at the head of Loch Shiel
  • The view from the battlements of Stirling Castle
    Battlements of Stirling Castle

Over many centuries the Camerons have defended their lands and their loyalties with tremendous courage. The best known were perhaps the fearless Sir Ewan Cameron and his grandson the ‘gentle Lochiel’, an enlightened chief who tried to improve conditions for his clansmen.

Start off discovering the history of Clan Cameron in the city of Stirling. To the south west of the city is the site of the Battle of Bannockburn, where in 1314 the men of Clan Cameron fought with Robert the Bruce against the armies of King Edward II of England. Whilst in Stirling, visit the impressive Stirling Castle, a favoured royal retreat for the Stuart dynasty and the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots.

Take the road to Fort William, passing through Glen Coe (narrow glen in Gaelic). Glen Coe’s mountain scenery 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. Glencoe’s scenery features in a number of Hollywood movies, including Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the latest James Bond epic Skyfall. After a busy day of travelling and sightseeing, relax in Fort William, the largest town in the West Highlands, nestling next to Loch Linnhe at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain.

Inverlochy Castle is a mile north of Fort William and was built in the 1200s by the Comyn of Badenoch. In the 15th century the Camerons deserted Alexander, the Lord of the Isles, to join King James I’s royal banner. At the Battle of Inverlochy in 1431, the Camerons were defeated and had to flee to the mountains to avoid the revenge of the Lord of the Isles.

Travel west to Glenfinnan on the north shore of Loch Sheil, a famous place in Scotland’s history. Against the advice of many, including the Cameron Chief, Locheil, Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard here in 1745. Despite his concerns, Locheil committed himself and 850 doomed clansmen to the Jacobite cause. The Glenfinnan Monument was built in memory of the clansmen who fought for the prince.

Double back, unless you want to travel to the coast for a view of the Western Isles. If time allows, leave your car at Benavie and walk along the canal, passing Neptune’s Staircase, a series of eight locks built in 1822. At Torcastle Farm you will find the ruins of Tor Castle, which was occupied by the Camerons from 1528 to 1650 and was much fought over between the Camerons and the Macintoshes.

Travel a few miles north to Achnacarry, passing through Gairlochy. This is the site of the Pass of Killicrankie, where the heroic and chivalrous chief Sir Ewan Cameron was victorious against General Mackay in 1689. Today, Achnacarry Castle is the seat of the chiefs of Clan Cameron and offers self-catering accommodation. 

The nearby Clan Cameron Museum traces the history of the clan since the 14th century. It also has exhibits from the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders Regiment, originally raised by Cameron of Erracht in 1793, and tells the story of the time the castle was used as a commando training centre. At nearby Spean Bridge stands an impressive sculpture, a memorial to their courage, dedication and sacrifice.

If you follow the north shore of Loch Arkaig you will travel along the Mile Dorch (Dark Mile), a road in a deeply wooded valley with thick mossy walls on either side. At the end of the road is a car park and access to the spectacular waterfalls of Eas Chia-aig. The loch is the fabled hiding place of French gold which was on its way to the Jacobites in 1746, but neither the Jacobites nor anyone since has been able to find the treasure.

Heading back to Spean Bridge, further east is Roy Bridge. Here there is a monument to the Battle of Mulroy, and on the hill opposite is the place where the MacDonnells of Keppoch defeated the Macintoshes in the last inter-clan battle fought in Scotland in 1688.

Travel a couple of miles from Roy Bridge to Cille Choirill Church. The first building on this hallowed ground was built in the 15th century by Ewan Macallan, one of the great Cameron chiefs. He went on a pilgrimage to Rome after the untimely death of his son, Donald. The Pope ordained that he should build six chapels to expiate his sins, and Cille Choirill Church is one of them.

Continue along the A86 towards Inverness, passing through the villages of Kingussie and Newtonmore. The Highland Folk Museum explores more than 400 years of Highland life in exhibitions which track the everyday experiences of clansmen and crofters.

Head to the Highland capital and visit Inverness Museum, where you can learn more about the history and culture of the area.  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 character of Sir Ewan Cameron was upheld by his grandson, the ‘gentle Lochiel’, who fought gallantly at the battle and gained the esteem and admiration of many. However, hundreds of Cameron clansmen perished in the battle. Lochiel's estates were forfeited as part of the suppression of the insurrection, but later were restored under the general act of amnesty in 1796.

Return southwards by turning off the A9 at Carrbridge and take the road encircling the Cairngorms National Park to Braemar. This is an attractive village which enjoyed the royal patronage of Queen Victoria. Half a mile to the east is Braemar Castle, which was used as a garrison for government forces during the Jacobite uprising, and today the castle has many period furnished rooms and museum exhibitions well worth exploring.

If your schedule allows, why not take a trip on the Cairngorm Mountain Railway? Located near Aviemore, this is the highest and fastest mountain railway in the country and a special way to enjoy spectacular views.