Clan MacKenzie 7-day Coigeach Gathering and Tour.

Though the early MacKenzies may have belonged to a kindred in south east Ross, with an artificial island fortress on Loch Kinellan near Strathpeffer, their emergence as a separate clan was in the west of Ross, as Lords of Kintail with their seat at the castle of Eilean Donan. Their rise to prominence began in 15th century when they allied themselves with the crown, broke with the Lords of the Isles, and Coinneach a Bhlair (Kenneth of the Battle) defeated the MacDonalds and their allies at a famous battle near Kinellan.

The Sacred Sites & Spectacular Scenery Tour: Coigeach and Seaforth

Over the next century they expanded their west coast lands, and acquired rich new estates in Easter Ross. Their greatest single acquisition however was the Isle of Lewis which, with royal help, they took from the MacLeods in the early 1600s. They marked this triumph by taking the MacLeod Crest (the flaming mountain) and motto (Luceo non uro - "I shine not burn"), and using the name of the sea loch that divided Lewis from Harris - which was still held by the MacLeods - as the title of the earldom they were granted in 1623. The title was held, in one form or another, by chiefs of the clan until the last Lord Seaforth died in 1815.

See a detailed description and itinerary of the MacKenzie "Sacred Sites & Spectacular Scenery" Tour and Gathering and a map of the tour.

The West Coast & Gardens Tour: Cromartie and Kintail

During the 16th century Clan MacKenzie expanded its west coast lands, taking Lochalsh from the MacDonalds, and Gairloch from the MacLeods. They followed this up with an assault on the Isle of Lewis, using the favour of the crown to deprive the MacLeods of it too, along with the mainland territories of Coigeach and Assynt. Sir Roderick MacKenzie, the brother of Kenneth, the first Lord MacKenzie of Kintail, who acted as "tutor" (i.e. guardian) of his nephew, the future first Earl of Seaforth, acquired for himself the Lordship of Coigeach; and, though his son (the first Baronet of Tarbat) and grandson (the first Earl of Cromartie) acquired far richer estates in fertile Easter Ross, branches of the family remained for generations in Coigeach and Assynt.

See a detailed description and itinerary of the MacKenzie "West Coast & Gardens" Tour and Gathering and a map of the tour.

Read more about Clan MacKenzie's history on the Clan MacKenzie Society of Scotland and UK website's "Clan History" page.