Clan Murray itinerary

Clan Murray was a great and powerful clan with land scattered throughout Scotland. It is said to originate from a Flemish knight who was granted lands by the then King, David I.

The Murrays played an important part in establishing Scotland's early independence and its subsequent protection and government. This four-day itinerary takes you from Edinburgh and Stirling to the magnificent Highlands and glens of Scotland, highlighting a few places where Clan Murray left their mark.

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  • The woodlands of the Blair Atholl estate
    The woodlands of the Blair Atholl estate
  • The inscription on a memorial cairn at Culloden Visitor Centre marking the site of the Battle of Culloden in 1746 near Inverness
    The inscription on a memorial cairn at Culloden Visitor Centre near Inverness
  • Looking over the formal gardens - the largest in Scotland - at Drummond Castle, south west of Crieff
    The formal gardens - the largest in Scotland - at Drummond Castle, south west of Crieff
  • The Animal World Gallery at the National Museum of Scotland
    The National Museum of Scotland

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 where 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, there is as a wealth of genealogical information and guidance. Appointments are not necessary, but a small fee is applicable for non-members.

Before you leave the city, make sure to 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 Edinburgh.

Just a few miles to the west of the capital is Strathbroch near Linlithgow where Freskin the Flemish, ancestor of the Murrays, was first granted lands by David I. Nearby is Linlithgow itself. Although a busy administrative and shopping centre, the town retains many features from its regal and historic past and Linlithgow Palace was the favourite home of Scottish royalty.

Next, travel north to Stirling and visit the equally impressive Stirling Castle, a retreat favoured by the Stuart monarchs and the childhood home of Mary, Queen of Scots. North of the castle is the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge where Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell raised an army of low ranking spearmen with Scottish hero William Wallace in 1297. They faced the superior English forces across a wooden bridge but they refused to surrender or flee. The ensuing battle was unexpectedly won by the Scots but Moray was mortally wounded and died two months later.

A mile or so southwest of Stirling lies the very poignant site of the Battle of Bannockburn. Robert the 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 Christina, one of Bruce's sisters.

Leave Stirling and head west past Gleneagles to Tullibardine Chapel in Perthshire. The chapel is one of the most complete and original medieval churches in Scotland. The lands of Tullibardine were transferred to the Murrays in 1282 where the Clan 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, and these Murrays assumed leadership of the clan in the 16th century. Continue north to Crieff and visit the Drummond Castle Gardens, one of the finest formal gardens in Europe. The Murrays of Tullibardine married into the Drummond family, but they feuded with the Drummonds over a long period in the 15th century which lead to a tragic massacre of the Murray clan at Monzievaird kirk.

Continue east to Perth where you’ll discover Scone Palace. 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. The Murrays married into the family of the Earls of Atholl in the 17th century and the current Duke of Atholl is the Murray Clan Chief.

Continue on your journey to Elgin. There are several whisky distilleries in the famous Speyside region 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.

From here, travel onwards to the Highland capital of Inverness and for a truly atmospheric experience; make a stop at the battleground of Culloden. Just east of the city, it is the site of 'Bonnie' Prince Charlie's final defeat in the Jacobite rebellion when his army crushed by Government forces in April 1746. It was the last battle to be fought on British soil.

The Murrays fought for the Jacobite cause and prominent clansman William, Marquis of Tullibardine later died in the Tower of London after his failed bid to escape to the Western Isles after the battle. Once you reach Inverness, relax and enjoy Highland hospitality after your busy few days.