20th Clan Gunn International Gathering 2022

Next year’s International Clan Gathering will be based around Inverness (first 3 nights) and Thurso (second 4 nights) and will run from Sunday 24th July until Saturday 30th July 2022. The planned itinerary is listed below but may be subject to minor changes.

Sunday 24th July

PM       We begin with an informal evening reception at 7.00pm at the Glen Mhor hotel in Inverness, a chance for everyone to meet and chat over a two-course supper and perhaps a few whiskies. Drinks are not included in the cost of the event.

Monday 25th July

AM       Coaches will leave from outside of the Glen Mhor hotel at 10.00am as today we head to the Culloden Battlefield Centre and Cawdor Castle and Gardens. The former was the scene of the last pitched battle fought on British soil where the Jacobite army of Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) was defeated by a British government force under William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, which reputedly “sounded the death knell” for the Clan system. The latter was built as a fortress for the Thanes of Cawdor which many will be familiar with from Shakespeare’s Macbeth fame. Lunch will be at the Culloden Battlefield café at your own expense.

PM       We return to the Glen Mhor hotel for a Scottish Folk Music evening. There will be a three-course dinner followed by musical entertainment from some of Inverness’s finest folk musicians. Definitely an event to get the toes tapping. Drinks are not included in the cost of the event.

Tuesday 26th July

AM       Coaches will leave from outside the Glen Mhor hotel at 10.00am and head for Loch Ness where we will join a boat trip up the Loch to visit Urquhart Castle, once one of Scotland’s largest castles. Castle Urquhart saw great conflict during its 500 years as a medieval fortress with control of the castle passing back and forth between the Scots and English during the Wars of Independence. Who knows, you might also catch a glimpse of Nessie (the Loch Ness Monster) too.

PM       There is a free evening tonight which will allow you to explore the delights of inverness’s excellent and numerous bars and restaurants for yourselves. I know from experience that Johnny Foxes and Hootananny’s are both very lively bars and a lot of fun if you want to stay out a bit later.

Wednesday 27th July

AM       Coaches will leave from outside of the Glen Mhor hotel at 09.30am for our trip North to Caithness (the home of Clan Gunn). We will go via Dunrobin Castle, one of Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s, home to the Earls and later, the Dukes of Sutherland. The castle resembles a French chateau and has some magnificent rooms and there is also a fantastic falconry display which is well worth seeing. Lunch will be at the castle’s Tearoom at your own expense.

PM       We will aim to arrive in Thurso around teatime where you will be able to check in to your Thurso accommodation and after a relatively quick turnaround, on to a dinner dance at the Weigh Inn hotel. The music is being provided by the Ade Harper Band, one of the best dance bands in the North of Scotland. Drinks are not included in the cost of this event.

Thursday 28th July

AM       Coaches will leave from outside of the Premier Inn Hotel (Thurso) at 9.30am and will head along the North Coast to Farr Museum where we will have a stop. From there we will head down the strath of Kildonan where many of the Gunns lived, with a visit to Kildonan church scheduled. Lunch will be a packed lunch included in the price.

PM       We will also be visiting the Clan Gunn Heritage Centre (a chance to stock up on Clan Gunn merchandise) followed by a drinks’ reception at 5.00pm at Swiney House, home of our chief, Iain Gunn of Gunn and his wife Bunty.

              From Swiney we will head for Clyth Hall for a Ceilidh put on by the local community. A ceilidh for those that don’t know is a showcase of Highland musical and cultural talent and a must if you’ve never been to one before. The word ceilidh comes from the Gaelic meaning gathering or party. There will be a hearty supper served prior to the Ceilidh, but drinks are not included in the cost of the Ceilidh, Coaches will return you to Thurso for 10.30pm.

Friday 29th July

AM       There is a free morning today to allow you to “recharge the batteries” or carry out some probably by now, “much needed” laundry duties. It will give you time to have a wander around Thurso and perhaps pay a visit to Caithness Horizons in the centre of town (which has just reopened following a major upgrade) or perhaps just a leisurely wander down to the harbour and beach which have stunning views of Dunnet Head and the Orkney isles.  

PM       The Coaches will leave from outside of the Premier Inn hotel at 2.00pm and head over to the East Coast of Caithness to visit Sinclair castle. Sinclair or Girnegoe Castle was one of the earliest seats of Clan Sinclair and we are hoping to have Malcolm Caithness (current chief of Clan Sinclair) to give us a guided tour. We will also pay a visit to St Tears, site of the infamous battle between the Gunns and the Keiths. If time allows, we may also stop at Ackergill castle which was originally built in the 16th century, reputedly by our enemies (no longer); the Keiths. There is a legend that tells of a young woman, Helen Gunn, who was abducted by John Keith for her beauty, but rather than succumb to his advances, she flung herself from the highest tower. Supposedly her ghost is still seen

We will then head to Wick for a traditional High Tea at the Norseman Hotel which will be followed by a talk and demonstration of how our ancestors survived in the Highlands, including how they wore and the uses of the “Great Kilt”. Drinks are not included in the cost of the event. Coaches will return you to Thurso for 9.00pm.

Saturday 30th July

AM       Coaches will leave at 10.30am from outside of the Premier Inn hotel to take the Clan to Halkirk for the clan’s AGM at the Ross Institute at 11.00am. At 12.00pm there is a

kilted march to the Halkirk Highland Games (all Clan members are welcome) followed by an afternoon spent watching the many events of the Highland Games which include the “heavy events”, the most famous of which is the tossing of the caber. Other events include cycling, athletics, clay pigeon shooting, bagpiping and highland dancing. There will be a soup and sandwich lunch with tray bakes in the Women’s institute tent which is included in the price of the event.

PM       In the evening, there will be a formal “black tie” dinner in the Pentland Hotel, Thurso (a short walk from the Premier Inn Hotel) which will be the last event of the International Gathering and an opportunity to say farewell to old (and hopefully new) friends. The evening will start with a champagne reception at 7.00pm followed by a 4-course dinner (including a haggis course) with wine. Speeches will follow over coffee and a dram.

Sunday 31st July

AM       Coaches will leave at 10.00am for the return journey back to Inverness for those that want it.

Accommodation

Inverness 24th – 26th July inclusive

Clan members are responsible for booking their own accommodation, however we have reserved 40 rooms at the Glen Mhor hotel (where a number of the evening events are based) from 24th to 26th July (inclusive). The room rates are £170/night for a double or twin and £154/night for a single – both rates include breakfast. Full details of how to contact the hotel are on page 2 of the booking form. However, there is plenty of other accommodation in Inverness to suit all pockets.

Thurso 27th – 30th July inclusive

We have not been able to reserve rooms in Thurso but suggest the Premier Inn hotel in Ormlie road which is a short walk from the town centre and from which the Coaches for the tours will leave from. This is a new 85 bedroom hotel and all rooms are of a decent size and have ensuite facilities. Rates will no doubt change as the Gathering date approaches but at the time of writing, a room for single or double occupancy including breakfast could be booked for c.£100/room/night. Booking is best done through the website

www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/scotland/highland/thurso/thurso.html?cid=GLBC_THURSO

Other accommodation at a range of prices is also available and details can be found at www.visitscotland.com/accommodation or at other popular travel search sites.

Administration

Please can you ensure that booking forms and payment are sent in and made by 31st March 2022 as we need to confirm numbers with some of the venues well in advance of the actual Gathering. A digital version of the booking form can be found on the Clan Gunn Society UK website which will calculate total costs for you: CLICK HERE

We do appreciate that COVID 19 may yet “throw us another curve ball”, but for now we have little option but to try to continue as normal. Fingers crossed!