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In times long ago, the Highlands were the strongholds of the Gaelic-speaking clans – a race apart from Lowland Scotland. The clan system, with its emphasis on loyalty and kinship to the clan chief, began to break down during the 18th century, as Scotland changed with the modern age. Eventually, leaving their homelands voluntarily or otherwise, clansfolk were scattered across the world, though many to this day still feel the call of Scotland.
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Perth, the starting point of this itinerary, is also home of the Regimental Museum to the Black Watch, the oldest Highland regiment and a reminder that, as the old clan ways were swept aside, the Highland clans became a pool of men for the armies of imperial Britain. Go north for Killiecrankie, scene of a famous battle in 1689 when the clans on the Jacobite side (who wanted to restore the exiled Stuart King of Scotland) defeated the government opposition. Head for Newtonmore and the Clan Macpherson Museum with its ancient clan relics. Nearby, and highly visible from the main road, are the Ruthven Barracks, destroyed by the Jacobite clans, Bonnie Prince Charlie's supporters, during the final Jacobite rebellion in 1745-6. Overnight Nairn Area
The most important site connected with the ending of the old clan way of life can be found by continuing towards Culloden, near Inverness. After the defeat of the mostly Highland army of Bonnie Prince Charlie (though more Scots actually fought on the government side), severe measures were put in place to ensure that the clans could no longer act as 'private armies'. A huge military fortification was built at Fort George, near Culloden. Both sites should be visited – but allow enough time to appreciate the sheer scale of Fort George. Overnight Nairn Area
Head west for Inverness and continue northwards, for the Struie Viewpoint over the Dornoch Firth and the old clanlands of the north. Turn west at Ardgay for Croick Church where, in 1845, 80 local people who had been cleared from their lands in the glen took shelter in the churchyard and are said to have scratched messages on the glass of the church's east window which can still be seen today. Return to Ardgay and circle north to take in the scenic Falls of Shin with its visitor centre and then east to Dunrobin Castle at Golspie. The castle, the largest house in the north of Scotland, is associated with the Sutherland clearances in the area and there is a Clan Sutherland room within the castle, with genealogical material. Overnight Brora Area
Return south via Strathpeffer towards Garve for the west, reaching the coast at Loch Carron. Further south, Eilean Donan Castle stands on Loch Duich. Briefly retrace the route to cross to Skye by the Skye Bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh. Head for the north-west of the island to see Dunvegan Castle, the seat of the Clan MacLeod. Overnight Skye
Go south on the island, and, beyond Broadford, take the road for Sleat, the southernmost part of the island, sometimes known as the 'Garden of Skye'. Visit the Armadale Castle Gardens and Museum of the Isles, with its comprehensive displays and story of the Lords of the Isles. From Armadale cross to the mainland at Mallaig by ferry. Overnight Mallaig Area
Take the 'Road to the Isles' back to Fort William, its name recalling the fort built here to control clan activities in the Great Glen. On the way, take in Glenfinnan where Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied the local clans to his cause in 1745. Continue south and visit the National Trust for Scotland's visitor centre in Glencoe. Return to the shores of Loch Linnhe to head south for your overnight stay at Edinburgh or Glasgow for your return journey home. Overnight Edinburgh/Glasgow
Included in this package:
All hotels will be 3 star or above.
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3 nights' hotel accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis; Chauffeur Drive car; Admission to Whisky Distilleries to include tastings; VAT at 20%.
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