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Pilgrimage and Ancestral Tourism

Scotland’s Pilgrim Journeys

Come walk in the footsteps of your ancestors.

A national network of pilgrimages, allowing both visitors and local communities to access Scotland’s wonderful range of church buildings in a meaningful way – whether the visit be due to spiritual or heritage motivation.

Iona abbey

Iona Abbey

There are 6 journeys in total:

St Andrew Journey

St Ninian Journey

St Cuthbert Journey

St Margaret Journey

St Mungo Journey

St Columba Journey: Exile and Resurrection. Route length: 743 miles

St Columba’s Journey

From Ireland to Kintyre, through Argyll to Iona onwards, Columba’s epic journey by sea and land form the cultural and sacred geography of Scotland. Dramatic scenery unveils a story of exile, penitence and peace. St Columba was an important Irish Saint who founded many monasteries. He was connected to the royal dynasties of the north of Ireland, and may have gone into exile in 563 because of a war between kingdoms in which he played some part. Exile took him to Argyll, where he was related to the King of Dalriada, and to Iona where he founded Scotland’s most influential early monastery, dying there in 597.

Temple Wood, Kilmartin

Temple Wood, Kilmartin

Historical Attractions near Loch Melfort Hotel

From Crinan you turn north into an area of Argyll whose concentration of sacred sites is unrivalled except perhaps in Orkney. On the left hand is the citadel of Dunadd, where kings were inaugurated, and on the right Kilmichael Glassary with its ancient Church of Kilbride. Columba probably participated in the inauguration at Dunadd of Aedan, Dalriada’s most famous ruler.

Next comes Kilmartin Glen with its complex of cairns and standing stones; then Kilmartin with its carvings, church and museum. Above Kilmartin lies Carnasserie Castle where John Carsewell, the first Protestant Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, translated John Knox’s liturgy into Gaelic.

A roll call of beauty and historical interest lies ahead with the villages of mid-Argyll from Ardfern and Craignish to Kilmelford and Kilninver. A detour to the inner islands of Seil and Luing reminds us that the sea is ever present.

Carnasserie Castle

Carnasserie Castle, Kilmartin

Argyll Clans

Clans of Argyll

Over 50 million people across the globe, largely in Northern American and the rest of the UK, are able to lay claim to Scottish ancestry. Below are the most common clan names found throughout Argyll, many of which have castles as their main seats which are open to the public to learn more about each clan’s history.

See which Clan you scottish name belongs to here

Inveraray Castle - seat of Clan Campbell

Inveraray Castle – seat of Clan Campbell

Clan Campbell

Clan Territory: The main Campbell territories are in Argyll.
Clan Chief: Torquhil Ian Campbell, became the 13th Duke of Argyll and Chief of Clan Campbell in 2001.
Clan Castles: The main seat of Clan Campbell is Inveraray Castle, on the shores of Loch Fyne. Kilchurn Castle and Carnasserie Castle in Argyll originally belonged to Clan MacDougall. Arduaine House, now Loch Melfort House, was once the family home of John Campbell and then Brigadier Sir Bruce Campbell during the first half of the 1900’s.

For a history of the Campbells of Arduaine and Arduaine House/Loch Melfort Hotel, visit our History of Loch Melfort Page

Kilchurn Castle

Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe

Clan MacDonald

Clan Territory: The Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
Clan Chief: Godfrey James Macdonald of Macdonald, 8th Lord Macdonald, became high chief of Clan Donald in 1970.
Clan Castles: The Clan Donald ancestors were Lords of the Isles and their main stronghold was at Loch Finlaggan on Islay where they held their court.

Clan MacDougall

Clan Territory: Highlands of Scotland
Clan Chief:  Morag Morley MacDougall of MacDougall
Clan Castles: Dunollie and Dunstaffnage Castle, Oban. They originally owned Castle Stalker before it fell into the hands of Clan Stewart and then Clan Campbell.

Dunollie Castle

Dunollie Castle, Oban

Clan MacIntyre

Clan Territory: Glen Noe on the shores of Loch Etive, Argyll; also the district of Lorn, Argyll.
Clan Chief: The present chief is Donald Russell MacIntyre, 10th Chief of Glenoe, and citizen of the USA and a resident of California.

Clan MacLean

Clan Territory: The Isle of Mull and the Isle of Coll
Clan Chief: Sir Lachlan Hector Charles MacLean of Duart and Morven.
Clan Castle: Successive clan chiefs have returned to live in their ancestral home of Duart castle on the Isle of Mull.

Duart Castle

Duart Castle, Isle of Mull

Useful Links:

Ancestral Scotland

Argyllshire Gathering Highland Games

Auchindrain Township

Clans and Castles Tour Operator

Scotlands People Website

Scotia Roots Tours

Scots Roots Research

Scottish Registerof Tartans

The National Archives of Scotland

The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs