2019 Clan MacRae Gathering in Scotland

Every four to five years, the Clan MacRae Society of Scotland has an international Gathering of MacRaes from all over the world. In 2015, they held a Clan MacRae Gathering in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the 1715 Battle of Sheriffmuir. This year in May, there will be another Gathering of MacRaes in Scotland to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the destruction of Eilean Donan Castle on 10th of May 1719. The dates of the Gathering are May 8th to May 12th. Gathering participants will actually be at Eilean Donan Castle on this 300th anniversary with a special commemoration. Attending one of these Gatherings is a once in a lifetime experience and if you have MacRae blood, then it should be on your bucket list!

If you are just now finding out about this Gathering, there are still some ways you could attend! Why not be courageous and make your own travel plans to attend the Gathering! Read on and we will help you make your own plans to attend the Gathering in May!

The Gathering starts in Edinburgh on Wednesday May 8th 2019. We always recommend you arrive a few days early to acclimate and even though you can fly in and out of Edinburgh, Glasgow might be lower cost for your air travel. There are several transportation options that will take you from the Glasgow airport to Edinburgh. Staying in Edinburgh can be expensive and we recommend lodging either on or close to the Royal Mile. Holyrood Palace is at one end of the Royal Mile with Edinburgh Castle at the other end. Look into alternative places to stay including rooms or homes found on Airbnb.com. We do not recommend driving in Edinburgh due to the city center traffic, but with the right lodging, everything is within walking distance.

We do not know the timing yet of all the activities of May 8th, but the big daytime event will be the climb up Arthur’s Seat which provides spectacular views of Edinburgh. This climb is to honor the “Affair of the Wild MacRaes”, the only successful mutiny of the British Army in 1778. During the climb, there will be rest stops where you will learn the history of the mutiny. For those who do not want to climb, you can enjoy a lovely afternoon tea at Holyrood Palace. Later that evening there will be a Clan MacRae Banquet at a nice venue in Edinburgh.

Thursday morning May 9th, we head northwest to the Stirling/Dunblane area. For those making their own plans, we recommend you rent a car at the Edinburgh Airport. Again, there are several transportations options that can take you from Edinburgh city center to the Edinburgh Airport including Uber. Plans for the day will usually include an afternoon stop at the Sheriffmuir Battlefield which is around 40 miles from the Edinburgh Airport. Yes, it can be scary to get in a rental car and drive on the wrong side of the road for the first time, but know that many of us have done it and done it well without incident! Much of your driving will be on the divided motorways which makes it much easier. The visit to the Sheriffmuir Battlefield in the afternoon will include a historical talk at the Memorial Cairn and then a walk onto the Battlefield to the Gathering Stone where many MacRae men died in a fierce fight against British Dragoons. We recommend you tour Stirling Castle in the morning for it is exquisite! In the evening there will be another Clan MacRae Banquet in Dunblane. Consider spending the night in either Dunblane or Stirling.

On Friday May 10th, we head further northwest to the Kintail region and Eilean Donan Castle. It is a spectacular drive heading into what some consider the most beautiful area of Scotland! There are many options for lodging with all the Gathering events taking place at Eilean Donan Castle and the village of Dornie. Also consider staying in Plockton which is a lovely seaside village close by. The weekend will be full of Clan MacRae Gathering activities: touring the castle, a day trip to explore the Dun Telve broch at Glen Elg, a clan march to an evening banquet at Dornie Hall with a Ceilidh and dancing and the Sunday morning service at Clachan Duich which is the ancient Clan MacRae burial ground and the finale to the Gathering.

Once the Gathering is over, feel free to extend your travel plans to include the Isle of Skye or to just leisurely make your way back south through Fort William, Glencoe and many other beautiful areas to the Glasgow airport to fly home. For early morning flights home, plan to stay at the Glasgow Holiday Inn (not the Express) which is across the street from the airport. For more information on making your own travel plans to Scotland, contact Judy McRae at judymcrae777@gmail.com. She would love to help you make your trip to Scotland and the 2019 Clan MacRae Gathering a reality!