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The Rodney Stone
Brodie, Scottish Highlands © The Hebridean Explorer

Highland Pictish Tour

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April — Oktober

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Explore the ancient history of the Picts through their legacy of wonderfully decorated sculpture standing stones.

The Picts were native inhabitants of the region when the Romans arrived nearly two thousand years ago followed by the Gaels from Ireland a few hundred years later. By the end of the first millennia the Picts had eventually assimilated into the Gaelic culture and society of early Scotland. Although they left us little evidence of a discernable written Pictish language, their artistic and cultural legacy has survived through a wonderful series of sculptured and carved standing stones dotted around the Scottish Highlands.

Our Highland Pictish tour begins from Inverness where we head east towards the grounds of Brodie Castle, home of the wonderful Rodney Stone. This class II Pictish stone (8-9th century, highly decorated stones with Pictish symbols and Christian imagery) includes a very striking Pictish beast illustration. Next stop is the scenic town of Forres, home of the wonderful Sueno's Stone. This class III Pictish stone (9-10th century, highly decorated stones with Christian imagery) is one of the most remarkable sculptured monuments in Scotland and stands over 20 feet high.

We continue our journey to the magnificent medieval ruins of Elgin Cathedral. Even as a ruin this fourteenth century architectural marvel still radiates the prescence that earned it the name 'Lantern of the North'. The grounds also contain a wonderful class II Pictish cross stone that includes an intricate Pictish hunting scene. Leaving Elgin Cathedral we enjoy a wonderful scenic journey through the beautiful landscape of Moray and Easter Ross as we drive for 1¼ hours to our late lunch stop at the Storehouse of Foulis by the Cromarty Firth.

The afternoon takes us to the Tarbat peninsula to explore two wonderful class II stones nearby. First stop is the Shandwick Cross Slabwith its detailed Pictish and Christian carvings. Next is Nigg parish church, home of the magnificent Nigg Stone with its breath-taking decoration of a Pictish hunting scene, an eagle symbol and a great Christian cross surrounded by biblical imagery. Before our return to Inverness we take a detour to Strathpeffer to view the class I (6-8th century incised Pictish symbol stones) Eagle Stone with its distinctive decorated horseshoe symbol above an eagle. Lastly, we drive up towards Knockfarrel for a stunning view of the surrounding Highland landscape from just below the summit of the vitrified remains of a Pictish Hillfort.


The Hebridean Explorer
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The Hebridean Explorer

The Hebridean Explorer (John Alasdair Macdonald) is an independent tour guide specialising in private guided tours for small groups (up to 3) from Inverness and Edinburgh covering the Scottish Highlands and Islands including the Isle of Skye, the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland along with Scotch whisky, Highland clans and history tours.


January to December, Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 7.30pm

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