Clan Gunn is one of the oldest and most northerly clans in Scotland, claiming descent from the Norse "Jarls" of Orkney in the tenth century. The name "Gunn" is believed to come from "Gunni", the grandson of Sweyn Asleifsson, the "Ultimate Viking" hero of the Orkneyinge Saga.
The first Clan Gunn Society was founded in Thurso, Caithness, in 1821 with the title "The Loyal and United Benevolent Society of the Clan Gunn".
The present Clan Gunn Society was formed in 1960 to "promote a spirit of kinship amongst members of the clan throughout the world". Now 45 years on we have a membership of over 300 families worldwide.
Clansmen and women travel to Scotland from all parts of the world to take part in the International Gatherings of the Clan. These take part every three years.
Sightseeing trips are organised both in the Orkney Islands and on the Scottish mainland in Caithness and Sutherland so that clansmen may visit all the places associated with our Clan's long history. In addition many fun activities are provided to make it a holiday to remember.
The Society publishes a magazine, the "Gunn Herald", three times a year.
In the intervening years Mini-Gatherings are held in Caithness timed to coincide with the annual Halkirk Highland Games at the end of July. The St. Donan's Day Dinner is held each year in April, in a different location each year. The Society also arranges a less formal occasion each year aimed at the younger members and their families.
If you would like to see the society's constitution then please click below:
President's Message October 2013
What a wonderful summer we've had, the best in quite some time. In fact, today was the first day that I've had to put the central heating on and then, only momentarily. I've just returned from a business trip to Caithness and Sutherland and yes, it was even sunny up there although quite windy. I find a trip to the homelands very therapeutic and my batteries always seem to get a good charging. Admittedly, I have the draw that my parents live there and I of course tie in any business trip with a stay at Swiney House where I am thoroughly spoilt by both parents and plied with all my favourite childhood food dishes. While I have visited Caithness every year of my life, my trips only generally happen once or twice a year and as such I find that any changes to the topography or the local community become far more apparent than if I lived there all year round. One such change that I noticed this year was the major overhaul that John O'Groats has just undergone. Those of you that have attended an international gathering in the past can no doubt remember assembling in what can only be described as a glorified car park surrounded by semi-derelict 50's and 60's style properties as we have waited for the ferry to take us to Orkney. Oh and of course the rather grim gift shop whose merchandise would not be best described as particularly tasteful or useful. Well I am pleased to report a massive change (for the better). Yes, the gift shop is still there (some things will never change) but the old John O'Groats hotel has been completely renovated and extended to create some extremely smart self-catering apartments. In addition, the company behind the renovation has also built a number of very well appointed luxury eco huts resplendent with turf roofs. There is still room for improvement, but what was always a slightly disappointing start or finish to numerous charity walks/cycles (and of course the usual starting venue for our own International Gathering) now has an air of respectability about it. I bet you can't wait until 2015. While on the subject of repairs and redecoration, I should also like to report that the Clan Gunn Heritage Centre has also undergone a face-lift with repairs to its windows and a new paint job. It looks magnificent. Every summer, when we don't have the international gathering, we hold a mini-gathering and this year it was held around the Ashbourne Games in Derbyshire. This proved successful with a good number of our members converging for dinners, the AGM and of course, the games and I would like to thank my vice president, Gordon Nelson for all of his help in organising such an enjoyable weekend. Next year we intend to revert back to Caithness for the mini-gathering and the International Gathering will follow the year after. While the latter is just under 2 years away, work has already begun with various reconnaissance trips to Orkney having been carried out to check out some upgraded hotel accommodation and potential new venues. The council are also hard at work finding a suitable venue for the St Donan's Day dinner in April next year. Keeping with tradition where we try to host this event alternatively North and South of the border and we will be looking for a southern venue in 2014; details of which will be available on the website and in the next edition of the Herald. Finally, I would like to welcome the new editor of the Herald, my daughter, Charlotte Gunn into a role, which can sometimes be a bit of a labour of love. She certainly has some big boots to step into, following on from Dave Taylor but I'm sure she will bring her own "spark" to the role and I wish her well. In this respect, one of the main things an editor needs is content and if any clan members have some interesting stories or anecdotes about members of their family (past or present) then I know she would be delighted to receive them for potential publication in future editions of the Herald.