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19th September 2016

The Clans of the Highlands

Walking Scottish highlands routes around the north coast is idyllic. Because Scotland has a rich and fascinating history, built around the infamous clan system. By the 13th century, the clan system had established firm roots in the Scottish Highlands. The area surrounding of the NHW has remained largely untouched since the time of the clans, allowing Scots and tourist alike to walk the land, once rules by the Scottish Clans.

Finding Castle of Mey when walking scottish highlands routes

A beautiful part of the Scottish north coast!

The History of the Clans

The name “Clan” comes from the Gaelic word for “children”. The clans gave the members a sense of identity and shared ancestry, with people continuing to celebrate this history around the world. Most Clans have their own tartans which was incorporated into kilts and clothing, strengthening the sense of identity within the clans. Each clan had their own native regions in Scotland, with their own laws, rules and requirements to be followed by their members. Each clan has its own strong sense of identity based on their history and values. Unfortunately, the clan system came to an end following the Jacobite rebellion, leading to many clan members moving away from Scotland hoping for a better life. When walking Scottish highlands routes, you will learn so much about the fascinating Scottish history!

Clan Sinclair

Clan Sinclair once ruled the area of Caithness, located on the very north east coast of Scotland. It is thought that the Sinclair’s came from Normandy, originally with the name “Saint-Clair” which was a place name. The Sinclair’s are said to have come with William the Conqueror to England, before moving north into Scotland.

The Sinclair’s gained their land after William of Saint-Clair accompanied Saint Margaret of Scotland to Scotland where she married Malcolm III of Scotland. As a reward for his efforts, the Sinclair’s were granted the barony of Roslin. Roslin was a subsidiary of the Earldoms of Orkney and Caithness. These regions have seen very little change over the years, and castles they once called home can still be seen today.

Walking Scottish highlands routes is the perfect way to explore the history of Clan Sinclair. Whether you visit Castle Mey (the former seat of Clan Sinclair) or walk the land they once called home, a walking holiday in the area is the perfect way to do it.

Clan Mackay (Or Morgan)

Clan Mackay was once an incredibly powerful clan in the north of the Scottish Highlands. Their territory covered areas of Sutherland, as well as the Parishes of Farr, Tongue and Durness. Clan Mackay fought alongside Robert the Bruce during the wars of independence, and continued to hold their power across the north highlands until the Jacobite rising. Like the majority of the clans, the Jacobite rebellion shattered Clan Mackay, with many of them moving overseas to the likes of America.

Castle Varrich is located near the area, again, providing decedents of Clan Mackay with the opportunity to visit the land their ancestors once called home.

Walking Scottish Highlands Routes

Walking Scottish Highlands routes, you’ll pass through some of the last areas of true wilderness in the UK. The areas have seen very little changes over the centuries, providing plenty of opportunities to explore Scotland as it was while the Clans ruled the highlands. If you are interested in any other parts of Scotland and the routes EasyWays offer, look at our last post!

Walking holidays in Scotland are always great! Visit some brilliant historical landmarks from your history as you explore the North Highland Way. If you are interested in walking in the steps of your ancestors, then get in touch, we would love to hear from you.