Clan Mackenzie Tour from Inverness – Itinerary
The Clan Mackenzie Tour from Inverness takes us down Loch Ness side, past Urquhart Castle and then west, to the Atlantic coast. Eilean Donan Castle is our first stop, and this was where the Mackenzies began. Next you’ll enjoy the delights of Gairloch and Inverewe Gardens. Then we head back across country to visit the clan seat – Castle Leod. Our last photostop before returning to Inverness will be at the Brahan Monument.
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle is called the “most romantic castle in the Highlands” due to the number of weddings it hosts. Nowadays a Clan Macrae stronghold, it was originally the first major Clan Mackenzie Castle. As the Mackenzies spread eastwards towards the fine arable lands of Easter Ross, they needed someone to hold it. So they asked the trustworthy Macraes to become constables of this castle and police this corner of Mackenzie lands. It is a favourite with photographers, and as a result appears on many postcards and calendar pictures.
Gairloch is our second main stop, and has been held historically by the Mackenzies since the late 1400’s. The events which led to the necessity for a Mackenzie takeover are dark and tragic, and we can share this story with you. As a visit, Gairloch has options. You could enjoy a walk along the beach to the ruins of an Iron Age Fort or visit the local museum. Alternatively, if you enjoy spending time at pretty harbours then Gairloch fits the bill. A couple of the boat operators also list all of the wildlife seen, day-by-day, over the preceding month.
Inverewe Gardens, created by Osgood Mackenzie from 1870, are one of the main visits of the day; due to being a must-see for all garden lovers. There are 50 acres of sub-tropical wonderland and as a result there are exotics and specimens from all around the world, such as Chile, the Himalayas, New Zealand and China. There is also a shop, restaurant and visitor centre onsite.
This ancient castle has been home to the Cromartie branch of the Mackenzies for over 500 years. The original chiefs of Clan Mackenzie were the Seaforth Mackenzies, but their line died out in 1815. In 1979 the Lord Lyon recognised the seniority claim of the Cromartie cadet branch of the Mackenzies, and from that time the Cromartie Mackenzies have been chiefs of the clan, and Castle Leod is the clan seat. We always manage at least a walk and some exterior photographs here, although we may be able to arrange a visit with your chief if you request it.
Brahan Estate and Monument
When the Seaforth Mackenzies moved east they settled at Brahan. One of their agricultural labourers, Kenneth Mackenzie, was said to have second sight, and as a result was called the Brahan Seer. It was he who foresaw in detail the downfall of the Seaforth MacKenzies, including the accidental death of Lady Caroline MacKenzie at the hands of her sister. A monument stands on the Estate at the exact spot where that death happened. We will delight in telling you much more, both about the prophecies of the Brahan Seer, and the doom of the house of Seaforth.
Some Clan Mackenzie Snippets
Legend says that Colin Fitzgerald came from the house of Geraldine in Ireland, and assisted King Alexander III at the Battle of Largs in 1263 AD, against King Hakon of Norway. He was rewarded with the lands of Kintail, which became a Barony on 9th January 1266 AD. Colin’s grandson was Coinneach MacCoinneach (Kenneth son of Kenneth), pronounced MacKenny in English. From him come all the families of Mackenzie in Scotland. The peak of Mackenzie power was in the 17th century, at which time they became one of the most influential clans in the Highlands. The present chief (since his succession in 1989) is the 5th Earl of Cromartie at Castle Leod.
The Holly is the plant badge of Clan Mackenzie. I shine not burn is their motto. The war cry is – Tullach Ard (as a result of being their gathering place)
Clan Mackenzie Tour from Inverness – Price
£450 for the tour
Clan Mackenzie Tour from Inverness – Departure
The tour departs from your Inverness accommodation, or any transport hub, such as bus station, train station or airport. You tell us, and we’ll be there.