Clan MacKenzie 7-day Cromarty Gathering and Tour.

Clan MacMillan Cromarty and Kintail homelands

Based in Ullapool for five days, taking in west coast MacKenzie seats in Applecross & Gairloch, as well as the lovely gardens created by Osgood MacKenzie at Inverewe; concluding with two nights at the luxurious country house hotel at the old MacKenzie home of Coul House in Contin, Easter Ross.

Day 1

Inverness to Ullapool

Day 1 will start in Inverness, the capital city of the Highlands, with its castle, museum, and lovely wooded islands in the River Ness. In the afternoon we’ll set off across the Kessock and Cromarty Firth bridges on our way to Tain, where we’ll visit the historic church of St Duthac and the local museum. From there we’ll head west, through Invershin and Strath Oykel to Ledmore in Assynt, and south to Loch Broom and the thriving port of Ullapool where we’ll be based for the first five nights of the tour.

Day 2

"The mad little road to Sutherland"

Day 2 will start with a stroll round Ullapool, and then a three hour cruise to, and landing on, the beautiful Summer Isles (depending on the weather - if it’s bad we’ll swop itineraries with another day). In the afternoon we’ll drive north to see Ardvreck Castle - a ruined MacKenzie stronghold - on the way to Stoer Point, and the monument to the Rev. Norman MacLeod who took shiploads of emigrants firstly to Canada and later to New Zealand. We’ll then visit the picturesque fishing port of Lochinver, and - time permitting - we’ll traverse "The Mad Little Road of Sutherland" to Achiltibuie where the Summer Isles can be viewed from the land.

Day 3

Europe's oldest mountains & medieval monasteries

Day 3 will initially take us through the magnificent mountains of Torridon, which constitute some of the oldest rock formations in Europe, and then through the picturesque village of Shieldaig, along the south shore of Loch Torridon, and down the west coast of the Applecross peninsula - with its spectacular views of the islands of Raasay and Skye - on our way to the village of Applecross, the seat of an important branch of Clan MacKenzie. There we’ll visit the fascinating local heritage centre, and the early 19th century church, built on the site of one of the most important medieval monasteries in the Highlands. Our return route will take over the notorious Bealach na Ba/Bealach nam Bo ("Pass of the Cattle") to Lochcarron, and then on back through Achnasheen and Garve.

Day 4

Fairytales, goldrush & cruelest of Highland Clearances

Day 4 will be spent mostly in Sutherland, as we head east from Ledmore to Lairg and Golspie, en route to tour the fairytale castle of Dunrobin, the seat of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland. From there we’ll travel further up the east coast to Helmsdale, where we’ll visit the fascinating Timespan Museum and Arts Centre. Our route will then take us northwest up Strath Kildonan - the site of a brief goldrush in the mid-19th century - and through Strath Naver, the site of some of the cruellest of the Highland Clearances in the early 19th century. The story of these tragic events is told at the Strathnaver Museum at Bettyhill, which also has a room devoted to the local clan, the Mackays. From there we’ll travel west along the north coast to Tongue and Durness, and south along the west coast back to Ullapool.

Day 5

Gardens at Inverewe

Day 5 will see us heading south again, down Loch Broom, and then north and west to Dundonnell - once the seat of an important branch of the MacKenzies – on our way to the wonderful coastal gardens created in the mid 19th century by Osgood MacKenzie of Inverewe, where, benefitting from the influence of warm sea current off-shore, sub-tropical plants grow on the same latitude as the Hudson’s Bay. From there we’ll proceed to the nearby village of Gairloch to see Flowerdale House, the west coast home of the oldest of the clan’s cadet branches - the MacKenzies of Gairloch - and to visit the excellent local museum and heritage centre. Our route back to Ullapool will take us south east along the shores of the stunningly beautiful Loch Maree to Kinlochewe, before heading north and west again back to Loch Broom.

Day 6

1719 Jacobite Rising

Day 6 will take us from Ullapool to the Coul House Hotel in Contin, the old MacKenzie home where we’ll be based for the last two nights of the tour, via Eilean Donan Castle - the original west coast seat of the MacKenzies of Kintail. Our route will be via Garve, Achnasheen and Lochcarron, from whence we’ll visit the beautiful seashore village of Plockton, where the TV series "Hamish Macbeth" was filmed. After our tour of nearby Eilean Donan - which is now the seat of the MacKenzies' old allies the Macraes - we’ll travel east up Glen Shiel, past the site of the only battle in the 1719 Jacobite rising, to Glenmoriston, where we’ll stop at the grave of Roderick MacKenzie, a Jacobite who was killed there in 1746 because he looked like Prince Charles Edward Stuart (thus perhaps allowing the "Bonnie Prince" to escape back to France). From there our route to Contin will take us up Loch Ness, past the ruins of the famous Urquhart Castle, through Drumnadrochit with its Loch Ness Monster Exhibitions, and on to Beauly where our final stop will be at the ruins of the priory to see the burial place of Coinneach a Bhlar.

Day 7

Burnt alive

Day 7 will start with a visit to Brahan, where the old clan chiefs, the Earls of Seaforth had their home (now no longer standing). Then we'll visit the ruins of Cille Chriosd, the church near Muir of Ord in which a congregation of MacKenzies was burnt alive by the MacDonells of Glengarry, before taking a tour of the nearby Glen Ord Distillery, which was set up in the early 19th century on the MacKenzie of Ord’s estate. In the afternoon we’ll visit the earliest MacKenzie residence in Easter Ross - the crannog (artificial island) on Loch Kinellan - before joining the present chief of the clan, the Earl of Cromartie for a tour of his historic home, Castle Leod. In the evening, Cabarfeidh - as the chief is known within the clan - and his wife will be hosted by the tour party for dinner at Coul House.

Day 8

Inverness and/or Inverness Airport.

Daily itineraries are subject to last minute change depending on traveling conditions, venue closures, etc.

$3150 per person for this tour. Price includes all transportation, accommodations and reservations at sites requiring them. Pricing is subject to change based on accommodation / transportation changes. Read more about pricing specifics.

See an illustrated map of key sites for this tour.

Loch Maree, one stop on this tour, is believed by many to be the most beautiful loch in Scotland. It is representative of the scenery in this area of Scotland.

All Clan MacKenzie tours feature a dinner with Clan Chief John Mackenzie, 5th Earl of Cromartie. Read more on his bio page on the Clan MacKenzie website.