Dale & Barbara’s Ancestral Tour

Barbara, Dale & Alasdair at Duthil

Barbara, Dale & Alasdair at Duthil

Dale & Barbara initially spent ten days in Edinburgh with Genealogy Tours of Scotland researching Dale’s Scottish ancestry. Armed with their research notes they joined me for a four day ancestral and sightseeing tour visiting the areas where Dale’s MacGregor ancestors belonged.

The ancestral journey began near Duthil in Speyside where Dale met his third cousin once removed Alasdair for the first time – both have carried out considerable research into their MacGregor ancestry. Alasdair agreed to spend the afternoon with us as he has extensive knowledge of the local area and where his and Dale’s ancestors once lived. A visit to Inverallen Cemetery yielded many MacGregor and associated family headstones which delighted Dale, Barbara & Alasdair. It was our visit to Duthil Churchyard that delighted everyone most – just behind the church there was a row of eight MacGregor family headstones, all ancestors and relatives of Dale & Alasdair. The oldest stone was Dale’s four times great grandparents and the surrounding stones were their descendants – there were beaming smiles from Dale, Barbara & Alasdair at their find.

Afterwards we visited the MacGregor family croft where Alasdair lives for celebratory tea and cake. Alasdair has a collection of old family photographs that he shared with Dale.

Later we had dinner in Grantown-on-Spey where we met Chris Halliday, a friend of mine who is researching his MacGregor ancestry in the same area as Dale. Chris brought along his family tree, unfortunately there appeared to be no connection between their families which was disappointing, however Dale now knew to discount that particular family from his research. Chris is Family History Leader at Highland Archive Centre, he gave Dale advice about which records were available and would be helpful for his research.

Barbara, Dale & Chris

Barbara, Dale & Chris

Day two began with a visit to the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness. Dale was given very helpful advice by Chris and the archive team. Dale & Barbara consulted several historical documents, they made many notes to investigate further when they return home. Afterwards we visited nearby Beauly for lunch then visited the ruins of the early 13th century priory.

Ian, Dale & Barbara at Highland Archive Centre

Ian, Dale & Barbara at Highland Archive Centre

En-route back to Inverness we visited the Wardlaw Mausoleum at Kirkhill. The mausoleum was built in 1634 as the burial place for the Frasers of Lovat. The most famous member of the family to be interred in the mausoleum is Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat who was known as the ‘Old Fox’. Lovat was a Jacobite follower and following the Battle of Culloden was convicted of treason then executed by beheading at Tower Hill – the last such execution in Britain. Dale & Barbara are fans of Outlander and were interested to learn that the ‘Old Fox’ is being portrayed as Jamie Fraser’s grandfather in the current series.

Day three was devoted to sightseeing. Our first visit was to Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre where Dale & Barbara visited the exhibition then made a poignant walk around the battlefield. Following a lovely lunch at Culloden we visited the nearby Clava Cairns. The Bronze Age burial cairns and standing stones date from 2000BC. Readers of the Outlander series of books will recognise the cairns as the setting for Craigh Na Dun, however filming took place at a purpose built film set at Kinloch Rannoch.

Dale & Barbara at Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre

Dale & Barbara at Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre

We later visited Cawdor Castle the late 14th century home of the Earls of Cawdor. The castle was originally built as a fortress for the Thanes of Cawdor who were linked with Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. Following a fascinating tour of the castle we visited the beautiful gardens and parkland that surrounds it.

Cawdor Castle

Cawdor Castle

On the final day of Dale & Barbara’s tour we visited some of Scotland’s famous places – Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, the Commando Monument at Spean Bridge and Glencoe. Our final visit was to Rob Roy MacGregor’s grave at Balquhidder Church.

Rob Roy MacGregor's Headstone at  Balquhidder Church

Rob Roy MacGregor’s Headstone at Balquhidder Church

It was a pleasure to be part of Dale & Barbara’s ancestral journey and to guide them around Scotland.

More photographs of the Dale & Barbara’s Ancestral Tour can be found on Borders Journeys’ Facebook.

Where do you come from? What stories lie in your family history? Have you ever wondered? Maybe you’ve hit a dead end in your research or just don’t know where to start.

Simply tell me what you know so far and I will not only give you research advice but investigate your Scottish ancestry on your behalf. I will research your family history by connecting the dots to form a real picture of who and where you come from.

Do you want to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors?

I will design a tailor-made ancestral tour especially for you, taking you on a journey of discovery where you’ll connect with your Scottish ancestors by walking in their footsteps. Your ancestors will be brought to life when you learn about the people, places and traditions connected with them. By the end of the tour you will have gained a real insight into your ancestral heritage and where you came from, something you can share with present and future generations.

Have you ever dreamed of standing on the steps of Lallybroch or visiting the stones at Craigh na Dun?

I will create a tailor-made Outlander tour for you where you will walk in the footsteps of Jamie and Claire and follow their adventures. You will discover the places that inspired Diana Gabaldon’s writings along with visiting Outlander film locations. Your tour will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty, history and culture of Scotland – some of which will be very familiar to Jamie and Claire.

I recognise that for many of you this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity, my emphasis is upon making your time in Scotland an experience you’ll always remember.

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