A Passion For Heritage
The Easter Ross Peninsula is part of the Highland Pictish Trail which takes you from Inverness to Golspie in Sutherland, exploring the mysterious and beautiful carved stones made by the Pictish people who lived in the area from 3rd to 9th Centuries AD. The peninsula also has a rich history featuring royalty, links to the first bid for Scottish Independence and of course the patron Saint of Tain - St Duthac.
Walk in the Footsteps of King James IV
Tarbat Discovery Centre
The Tarbat Discovery Centre, Portmahomack, opened in 1999 in the disused medieval church of St Colman, to display a nationally-significant collection of Pictish artefacts. The Centre’s 'Pictish Treasury' houses a wonderful corpus of sculpture including unrivalled works of art created in stone by the Picts over 1,200 years ago. These treasures include fragments of majestic cross slabs carved skilfully with elaborate and intricately designed geometric patterns, interwoven with magnificent animals and people. In addition, artefacts discovered during archaeological excavation of the early Christian monastery, that lies beneath and around the Centre, is on display. The monastery was engaged in making sumptuous holy books and works of art in gold, silver, glass and enamel, and evidence for these monastic crafts can also be seen. Check website for opening times of the Discovery Centre.
The Seaboard Centre
The Seaboard Villages are the home for not one but two Pictish Stones - The Shandwick Stone and The Hilton of Cadboll Stone.
A replica of the Hilton of Cadboll Stone - carved by Barry Grove - stands proud in Hilton, with the original base at home in the John Ross Centre (pictured) which is managed by the Seaboard Centre. The Shandwick Stone sits resplendent encased in glass, in a magnificent location overlooking the sea near Shandwick.
The Seaboard Villages are also home to the sculpture trail which highlights Fishing, Folklore, Faith, Four Corners and Fortitude. Check out the famous Mermaid of the North and grab a bite to eat at the Seaboard Centre, East Street, Balintore, IV20 1UA.
Centre Open Tuesday - Friday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Nigg Old Church
Nigg Old Church is a fine example of a Scottish parish church and - since it houses a magnificent Pictish stone of the late eighth century, carved with unique Pictish symbols and Christian imagery - it is likely that it stands on what has been a place of Christian worship for at least 1200 years.
It has, to this day, an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. The Church lies on the southwest approach to the village of Nigg, in the county of Ross & Cromarty.
Approximately 35 miles drive north of Inverness, it can also be reached using the car ferry which runs from Cromarty in the summer months.
The church is opened daily from 10am to 5pm by a wonderful group of volunteers from 1 April to 31 October.
Read more here... Nigg Old Church | Home (niggoldtrust.org.uk)
The Highland Pictish Trail
The Highland Pictish Trail is a trail that dates back more than 25 years and has recently been extended to include 32 of the area’s most impressive and accessible Pictish sites. These sites include carved stones set in superb scenery, museums and visitor centres where you can see impressive and thought-provoking carved stones and Pictish objects, and the mighty hill fort of Craig Phadrig (on the outskirts of Inverness) with its amazing views over the Beauly Firth and towards the Great Glen.
St Duthac - Patron Saint of Tain
The St Duthac Book and Arts Festival proudly takes its name from the Patron Saint of Tain. St Duthac, or Duthus, or Duthak, lived from 1000 to 1065. and was an important figure in the Celtic Church.
A chapel was built in his honour and a sanctuary established at Tain in the thirteenth century, and was ministered by the Norbertine canons of Fearn Abbey. A century later, this sanctuary was notably breached by English supporters who captured Robert the Bruce's wife, daughter and sisters sheltering in the chapel. The chapel was burnt later in political violence between regional power groups, namely the Clan MacKay and the Clan Ross. The ruins of the chapel still exist as a centrepiece of St Duthus Old Burial Ground on the shores of the Dornoch Firth. (source Saint Duthac - Wikipedia - 7/2/2023)