Battle of Bannockburn
The Battle of Bannockburn on 23 and 24 June 1314 was a Scottish victory by King of Scots Robert the Bruce against the army of King Edward II of England in the First War of Scottish Independence. Though it did not bring overall victory in the war, which would go on for 14 more years, it was a landmark in Scottish history. King Edward invaded Scotland after Bruce demanded in 1313 that all supporters still loyal to ousted Scottish king John Balliol acknowledge Bruce as their king or lose their lands. Stirling Castle, a Scots royal fortress occupied by the English, was under siege by the Scottish army. King Edward assembled a formidable force of soldiers from England and Wales to relieve it — the largest army to invade Scotland; this attempt failed. The Scottish army was divided into three divisions of schiltrons commanded by Bruce, his brother Edward Bruce, his nephew, the Earl of Moray. After Robert Bruce killed Sir Henry de Bohun on the first day of the battle, the English were forced to withdraw for the night.
Sir Alexander Seton, a Scottish noble serving in Edward's army, defected to the Scottish side and informed them of the English camp's position and low morale. Robert Bruce decided to launch a full-scale attack on the English forces and to use his schiltrons again as offensive units, a strategy his predecessor William Wallace had not done; the English army was defeated in a pitched battle which resulted in the death of several prominent commanders, including the Earl of Gloucester and Sir Robert Clifford, capture of many others. The victory against the English at Bannockburn is the most celebrated in Scottish history, for centuries the battle has been commemorated in verse and art; the National Trust for Scotland operates the Bannockburn Visitor Centre. Though the exact location for the battle is uncertain, a modern monument was erected in a field above a possible site of the battlefield, where the warring parties are believed to have camped, alongside a statue of Robert Bruce designed by Pilkington Jackson.
The monument, the associated visitor centre, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. The Wars of Scottish Independence between England and Scotland began in 1296 and the English were successful under the command of Edward I, having won victories at the Battle of Dunbar and at the Capture of Berwick; the removal of John Balliol from the Scottish throne contributed to the English success. The Scots had been victorious in defeating the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297; this was countered, however, by Edward I's victory at the Battle of Falkirk. By 1304, Scotland had been conquered, but in 1306 Robert the Bruce seized the Scottish throne and the war was reopened. After the death of Edward I, his son Edward II of England came to the throne in 1307 but was incapable of providing the determined leadership his father had shown, the English position soon became more difficult. In 1313, Bruce demanded the allegiance of all remaining Balliol supporters, under threat of losing their lands, as well as the surrender of the English forces encircling Stirling Castle.
The castle was one of the most important castles held by the English, as it commanded the route north into the Scottish Highlands. It was besieged in 1314 by Robert the Bruce's younger brother, Edward Bruce, an agreement was made that if the castle was not relieved by mid-summer it would be surrendered to the Scots; the English could not prepared and equipped a substantial campaign. It is known that Edward II requested 2,000 armoured cavalry and 25,000 infantry, many of whom were armed with longbows, from England and Ireland; the Scottish army numbered around 6,000 men, including no more than 500 mounted forces. Unlike the English, the Scottish cavalry was unequipped for charging enemy lines and suitable only for skirmishing and reconnaissance; the Scottish infantry was armed with axes and pikes, included only a few bowmen. The precise numerical advantage of the English forces relative to the Scottish forces is unknown, but modern researchers estimate that the Scottish faced English forces one-and-a-half to two or three times their size.
Edward II and his advisors were aware of the places the Scots were to challenge them and sent orders for their troops to prepare for an enemy established in boggy ground near the River Forth, near Stirling. The English appear to have advanced in four divisions, whereas the Scots were in three divisions known as'schiltrons', which were strong defensive squares of men bristling with pikes. Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, commanded the Scottish vanguard, stationed about a mile south of Stirling, near the church of St. Ninian, while the king commanded the rearguard at the entrance to the New Park, his brother Edward led the third division. According to Barbour, there was a fourth division nominally under the youthful Walter the Steward, but under the command of Sir James Douglas; the Scottish archers used yew-stave longbows and, though these were not weaker than or inferior to English longbows, there were fewer Scottish archers only 500. These archers played little part in the battle. There is first-hand evidence in a poem, written just after the battle by the captured Carmelite friar Robert Baston, that one or both sides employed slingers and crossbowmen.
The exact site of the Battle of Bannockburn has been debated for many years, but mos
A Scottish clan is a kinship group among the Scottish people. Clans give a sense of shared identity and descent to members, in modern times have an official structure recognised by the Court of the Lord Lyon, which regulates Scottish heraldry and coats of arms. Most clans have their own tartan patterns dating from the 19th century, which members may incorporate into kilts or other clothing; the modern image of clans, each with their own tartan and specific land, was promulgated by the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott after influence by others. Tartan designs were associated with Lowland and Highland districts whose weavers tended to produce cloth patterns favoured in those districts. By process of social evolution, it followed that the clans/families prominent in a particular district would wear the tartan of that district, it was but a short step for that community to become identified by it. Many clans have their own clan chief. Clans identify with geographical areas controlled by their founders, sometimes with an ancestral castle and clan gatherings, which form a regular part of the social scene.
The most notable gathering of recent times was "The Gathering 2009", which included a "clan convention" in the Scottish parliament. It is a common misconception that every person who bears a clan's name is a lineal descendant of the chiefs. Many clansmen although not related to the chief took the chief's surname as their own to either show solidarity, or to obtain basic protection or for much needed sustenance. Most of the followers of the clan were tenants. Contrary to popular belief, the ordinary clansmen had any blood tie of kinship with the clan chiefs, but they took the chief's surname as their own when surnames came into common use in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thus by the eighteenth century the myth had arisen that the whole clan was descended from one ancestor, with the Scottish Gaelic of "clan" meaning "children" or "offspring". The word clan is derived from the Gaelic word clanna. However, the need for proved descent from a common ancestor related to the chiefly house is too restrictive.
Clans developed a territory based on the native men who came to accept the authority of the dominant group in the vicinity. A clan included a large group of loosely related septs – dependent families – all of whom looked to the clan chief as their head and their protector. According to the former Lord Lyon, Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, a clan is a community, distinguished by heraldry and recognised by the Sovereign. Learney considered clans to be a "noble incorporation" because the arms borne by a clan chief are granted or otherwise recognised by the Lord Lyon as an officer of the Crown, thus conferring royal recognition to the entire clan. Clans with recognised chiefs are therefore considered a noble community under Scots law. A group without a chief recognised by the Sovereign, through the Lord Lyon, has no official standing under Scottish law. Claimants to the title of chief are expected to be recognised by the Lord Lyon as the rightful heir to the undifferenced arms of the ancestor of the clan of which the claimant seeks to be recognized as chief.
A chief of a clan is the only person, entitled to bear the undifferenced arms of the ancestral founder of the clan. The clan is considered to be the chief's heritable estate and the chief's Seal of Arms is the seal of the clan as a "noble corporation". Under Scots law, the chief is recognised as the head of the clan and serves as the lawful representative of the clan community. A clan was made up of everyone who lived on the chief's territory, or on territory of those who owed allegiance to the said chief. Through time, with the constant changes of "clan boundaries", migration or regime changes, clans would be made up of large numbers of members who were unrelated and who bore different surnames; those living on a chief's lands would, over time, adopt the clan surname. A chief could add to his clan by adopting other families, had the legal right to outlaw anyone from his clan, including members of his own family. Today, anyone who has the chief's surname is automatically considered to be a member of the chief's clan.
Anyone who offers allegiance to a chief becomes a member of the chief's clan, unless the chief decides not to accept that person's allegiance. Clan membership goes through the surname. Children who take their father's surname are part of their father's clan and not their mother's. However, there have been several cases where a descendant through the maternal line has changed their surname in order to claim the chiefship of a clan, such as the late chief of the Clan MacLeod, born John Wolridge-Gordon and changed his name to the maiden name of his maternal grandmother in order to claim the chiefship of the MacLeods. Today, clans may have lists of septs. Septs are surnames, families or clans that currently or for whatever reason the chief chooses, are associated with that clan. There is no official list of clan septs, the decision of what septs a clan has is left up to the clan itself. Confusingly, sept names can be shared by more than one clan, it may be up to the individual to use his or her family history or genealogy to find the correct clan they are associated with.
Several clan societies have been granted coats of arms. In such cases, these arms are differenced from the chief's, much like a clan armiger; the former Lord Lyon King of Arms, Thomas Innes of Learney stated that such societies, according to the Law of Arms, are considered an "indeterminate cadet". Scottish clanship contained two distinct concepts of heritage; these were
Sutherland is a historic county, registration county and lieutenancy area in the Highlands of Scotland. Its county town is Dornoch. Sutherland borders Caithness to the east, Ross-shire to the south and the Atlantic to the north and west. Like its southern neighbour Ross-shire, Sutherland has some of the most dramatic scenery in the whole of Europe on its western fringe where the mountains meet the sea; these include high sea cliffs, old mountains composed of Precambrian and Cambrian rocks. The name Sutherland dates from the era of Norwegian Viking rule and settlement over much of the Highlands and Islands, under the rule of the jarl of Orkney. Although it contains some of the northernmost land in the island of Great Britain, it was called Suðrland from the standpoint of Orkney and Caithness. In Gaelic, the area is referred to according to its traditional areas: Dùthaich MhicAoidh in the northeast, Asainte in the west, Cataibh in the east. Cataibh is sometimes used to refer to the area as a whole.
The northwest corner of Sutherland, traditionally known as the Province of Strathnaver, was not incorporated into Sutherland until 1601. This was the home of the powerful and warlike Clan Mackay, as such was named in Gaelic, Dùthaich'Ic Aoidh, the Homeland of Mackay. Today this part of Sutherland is known as Mackay Country, unlike other areas of Scotland where the names traditionally associated with the area have become diluted, there is still a preponderance of Mackays in the Dùthaich. Much of the population is based in coastal towns, such as Helmsdale and Lochinver, which until recently made much of their living from the rich fishing of the waters around the British Isles. Much of Sutherland is poor relative to the rest of Scotland, with few job opportunities beyond government funded employment and seasonal tourism. Further education is provided by North Highland College, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands; the Ross House Campus in Dornoch was the first establishment in the United Kingdom to provide a degree in golf management.
The Burghfield House Campus in Dornoch, is the home for the Centre for History teaching undergraduate and postgraduate history degrees to students around the UHI network and worldwide. The inland landscape is rugged and sparsely populated. Despite being Scotland's fifth-largest county in terms of area, it has a smaller population than a medium-size Lowland Scottish town, it stretches from the Atlantic across to the North Sea. The sea-coasts boast high cliffs and deep fjords in the east and north, ragged inlets on the west and sandy beaches in the north; the remote far northwest point of Sutherland, Cape Wrath, is the most northwesterly point in Scotland. The county has many fine beaches, a remote example being Sandwood Bay, which can only be reached by foot along a rough track; the number of visiting tourists is minimal. Sutherland has many rugged mountains such as the most northerly Munro; the western part comprises Torridonian sandstone underlain by Lewisian gneiss. The spectacular scenery has been created by denudation to form isolated sandstone peaks such as Foinaven, Arkle, Cùl Mór and Suilven.
Such mountains are attractive for hill scrambling, despite their remote location. Together with similar peaks to the south in Wester Ross, such as Stac Pollaidh, they have a unique structure with great scope for exploration. On the other hand, care is needed when bad weather occurs owing to their isolation and the risks of injury. Owing to its isolation from the rest of the country, Sutherland was reputedly the last haunt of the native wolf, the last survivor being shot in the 18th century. However, other wildlife has survived, including the golden eagle, sea eagle and pine marten amongst other species which are rare in the rest of the country. There are pockets of remnants of the original Caledonian Forest; the importance of the county's scenery is recognised by the fact that 4 of Scotland's 40 national scenic areas are located here. The purpose of the NSA designation is to identify areas of exceptional scenery and to ensure its protection from inappropriate development; the areas protected by the designation are considered to represent the type of scenic beauty "popularly associated with Scotland and for which it is renowned".
The four NSAs within Sutherland are: The Assynt-Coigach NSA has many distinctively shaped mountains, including Quinag, Suilven, Cùl Mòr, Stac Pollaidh and Ben More Assynt, that rise steeply from the surrounding "cnoc and lochan" scenery. These can appear higher than their actual height would indicate due to their steep sides and the contrast with the moorland from which they rise. Assynt lies within Sutherland, whilst Coigach lies within Cromarty; the Dornoch Firth NSA straddles the boundary between Sutherland and Ross and Cromarty, covers a variety of landscapes surrounding the narrow and sinuous firth. The Kyle of Tongue NSA covers the mountains of Ben Hope and Ben Loyal, as well as woodlands and crofting settlements on the shoreline of the kyle itself; the North West Sutherland NSA covers the mountains of Foinaven and Ben Stack as well as the coastal scenery surrounding Loch Laxford and Handa Island. The A9 road main east coast road is challenging north of Helmsdale at the notorious Berriedale Braes, there are few inland roads.
The Far North Line north-south single-track railway line was extended through Sutherland by the Highland Railway between 1868 and 1871. It enters Sutherland near Invershin and runs along the east coast as far as possible, but an inland diversion was necessary from Helmsdale along the Strath of Kildonan; the line
Clan MacLeod of Lewis
Clan MacLeod of The Lewes known as Clan MacLeod of Lewis, is a Highland Scottish clan, which at its height held extensive lands in the Western Isles and west coast of Scotland. From the 14th century up until the beginning of the 17th century there were two branches of Macleods: the MacLeods of Dunvegan and Harris. In Gaelic the Macleods of Lewis were known as Sìol Thorcaill, the MacLeods of Dunvegan and Harris were known as Sìol Thormoid; the traditional progenitor of the MacLeods was Leod, whom, a now discredited tradition, made a son of Olaf the Black, King of Mann and the Isles. An older and now more accepted tradition names his father Olvir and describes the clan as Sliochd Olbhur. Tradition gave Leod Tormod - progenitor of the Macleods of Harris and Dunvegan. In the 16th and early 17th centuries the chiefly line of the Clan Macleod of The Lewes was nearly extinguished by the bloodthirsty and power hungry chief "Old Rory" and his various offspring; this feuding directly led to the fall of the clan, loss of its lands to the Clan Mackenzie.
One line of the 16th century chiefly family, the Macleods of Raasay and prospered on their lands for centuries thereafter. The current chief of Lewis descends from this latter family. Today, Clan MacLeod of The Lewes, Clan Macleod of Raasay, Clan Macleod are represented by "Associated Clan MacLeod Societies", the chiefs of the three clans; the association is made up of ten national societies across the world including: Australia, England, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States of America. Today the official clan tradition is that the Macleods descend from Leod, born around 1200. Traditionally, from Leod's son Tormod the Macleods of Harris and Dunvegan claim descent, through Leod's other son Torquil Macleods of Lewis claim descent; the earliest evidence of this traditional descent from Olaf the Black may only date as far back as the 17th century, from the era of Iain Mor MacLeod, styled "John McOlaus of Dunvegane" in a document dated 1630. His son Iain Breac is thought to have been the first Macleod to incorporate the coat of arms of the Kings of Mann into his own coat of arms, because the "Macleods imagined themselves descended from King Olaf of Man".
Leod, the traditional eponymous ancestor of the clan, does not appear in contemporary records, or the Chronicles of Mann which lists the four sons of Olaf. After the last king of this dynasty, Magnus Olafsson, died in 1265, after the last known male representative of the family fled from the Isle of Mann to Wales in 1275, the claims of the Isle of Mann was taken up on behalf of the daughters of the family. This, according to Andrew P. MacLeod, implies that the legitimate male line from Olaf the Black was by extinct. "In short, there is no historical reason to believe that Leod was the son of Olaf the Black". Several historians have shown a connection between the early clan and the Hebridean Nicolsons/MacNicols. W. D. H. Sellar and William Matheson pointed out that in lands held by the clan, there were traditions of the Nicolsons/MacNicols preceding them. Of Lewis itself, tradition had it that the Macleods gained the island through a marriage with a Nicolson heiress. Both Sellar and Matheson agreed that the traditional connection and the gaining of lands through the Nicolsons explains the Macleods of Lewis' identity "as a clan separate from the MacLeods of Harris and Dunvegan".
Though the heraldry of the Macleod of The Lewes is different from that of the Macleod of Macleod, there may be a connection with the Hebridean Nicolsons/MacNicols. In their coat of arms, the Macleods of The Lewes have "a black burning mountain on a gold field". According to Sellar, when the Macleods married the Nicolson heiress of tradition, her arms would have passed to the Macleods as well; the Hebridean Nicolsons/MacNicols were supposed to have held their lands in the Western Isles from the Norse rulers for their services as coast-watchers, hence the burning mountain on the arms of Macleod of The Lewes. The earliest reference to the Macleods of Lewis is found in a royal charter granted in the reign of David II King of Scots, when Torcall Macleod was granted the four penny land of Assynt in c.1343. In this charter Torcall had no designation. By 1344 the Macleods of Lewis held the Isle of Lewis as vassals of the Macdonalds of Islay. In time the Macleods of Lewis grew in power, rivalling the Macleods of Harris - with lands stretching from the islands of Lewis, the district of Waternish on Skye, on the mainland Assynt and Gairloch.
In 1406 a party of Macleods of Lewis were defeated at the battle of Tuiteam Tarbhach against a party of Mackays. The cause of the battle, according of tradition, was the ill treatment of Sidheag, widow of Angus Mackay of Strathnaver, by her brother-in-law Hucheon, Tutor of Mackay. Sidheag was the sister of The Macleod of The Lewes, a contingent of Macleods of Lewis led by the chiefs brother, Gille-caluim Beag, encountered a party of Mackays in Sutherland. During the battle that followed the Macleods were routed and Gille-caluim Beag was slain. In 1528 the chief of the clan, John Macleod of The Lewes, supported his half-brother, Donald Gruamach MacDonald of Sleat, who had seized the lands of Trotternish from the Macleods of Harris and Dunvegan. Domhnall Dubh was proclaimed Lord of the Isles by many families who had once served under Clan Donald
Dry stone, sometimes called drystack or, in Scotland, drystane, is a building method by which structures are constructed from stones without any mortar to bind them together. Dry stone structures are stable because of their unique construction method, characterized by the presence of a load-bearing façade of selected interlocking stones. Dry stone construction is best known in the context of stone walls, traditionally used for the boundaries of fields and churchyards, or as retaining walls for terracing, but dry stone sculptures, buildings and other structures exist; the art of dry stone walling was inscribed in 2018 on the UNESCO representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, for dry stone walls in countries such as France, Italy and Spain. Some dry stone wall constructions in north-west Europe have been dated back to the Neolithic Age; some Cornish hedges are believed by the Guild of Cornish Hedgers to date from 5000 BC, although there appears to be little dating evidence.
In County Mayo, Ireland, an entire field system made from dry stone walls, since covered in peat, have been carbon-dated to 3800 BC. The cyclopean walls of the acropolis of Mycenae, have been dated to 1350 BC and those of Tiryns earlier. In Belize, the Mayan ruins at Lubaantun illustrate use of dry stone construction in architecture of the 8th and 9th centuries AD. Great Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe, Africa, is a large city "acropolis" complex, constructed from the 11th to the 15th centuries AD. Terminology varies regionally; when used as field boundaries, dry stone structures are known as dykes in Scotland. Dry stone walls are characteristic of upland areas of Britain and Ireland where rock outcrops or large stones exist in quantity in the soil, they are abundant in the West of Ireland Connemara. They may be found throughout the Mediterranean, including retaining walls used for terracing; such constructions are common where large stones are plentiful or conditions are too harsh for hedges capable of retaining livestock to be grown as reliable field boundaries.
Many thousands of miles of such walls exist. In the United States they are common in areas with rocky soils, such as New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and are a notable characteristic of the bluegrass region of central Kentucky as well as Virginia, where they are referred to as rock fences or stone fences, the Napa Valley in north central California; the technique of construction was brought to America by English and Scots-Irish immigrants. The technique was taken to Australia and New Zealand. Similar walls are found in the Swiss–Italian border region, where they are used to enclose the open space under large natural boulders or outcrops; the higher-lying rock-rich fields and pastures in Bohemia's south-western border range of Šumava are lined by dry stone walls built of field-stones removed from the arable or cultural land. They serve both as the lot's borders. Sometimes the dry stone terracing is apparent combined with parts of stone masonry that are held together by a clay-cum-needles "composite" mortar.
The dry stone walling tradition of Croatia was added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November 2018, alongside those of Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia and Switzerland. In Croatia, dry stone walls were built for a variety of reasons: to clear the earth of stone for crops; some walls date back to the Liburnian era. Notable examples include the island of Baljenac, which has 23 kilometres of dry stone walls despite being only 0.14 square kilometres in area, the vineyards of Primošten. In Peru in the 15th century AD, the Inca made use of otherwise unusable slopes by building dry stone walls to create terraces, they employed this mode of construction for freestanding walls. Their ashlar type construction in Machu Picchu uses the classic Inca architectural style of polished dry stone walls of regular shape; the Incas were masters of this technique, in which blocks of stone are cut to fit together without mortar. Many junctions are so perfect that not a knife fits between the stones.
The structures have persisted in the high earthquake region because of the flexibility of the walls, because in their double wall architecture, the two portions of the walls incline into each other. A wall's style and method of construction will vary, depending on the type of stone available, its intended use and local tradition. Most older walls are constructed from stones and boulders cleared from the fields during preparation for agriculture but many from stone quarried nearby. For modern walls, quarried stone is always used; the type of wall built will depend on the nature of the stones available. One type of wall is called a "double" wall and is constructed by placing two rows of stones along the boundary to be walled; the foundation stones are ideally set into the ground so as to rest on the subsoil. The rows are composed of large flattish stones. Smaller stones may be used as chocks in areas; the walls are built up to the desired height layer-by-layer and, at intervals, large tie-stones or through stones are placed which span both faces of the wall and sometimes project.
These have the effec
Ross is a region of Scotland, a former earldom and, under the name Ross and Cromarty, a county. The name Ross derives from a Gaelic word meaning "headland" a reference to the Black Isle. Another possible origin is the West Norse word for Orkney – Hrossey – meaning horse island. Ross is a historical comital region predating the Mormaerdom of Ross, it is a region used by the Church, with the Presbytery of Ross being part of the Synod of Ross and Caithness. Excavations of a rock shelter and shell midden at Sand, Applecross on the coast of Wester Ross have shown that the coast was occupied by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, it may be doubted whether the Romans effected a temporary settlement in the area of the modern county. In Roman times, for long afterwards, the land was occupied by Picts, who, in the 6th and 7th centuries, were converted to Christianity by followers of Saint Columba. Throughout the next three centuries the natives were continually harassed by Norwegian Viking raiders, of whose presence tokens have survived in several place-names.
At this time the country formed part of the great province of Moray, which extended as far as the Dornoch Firth and the Oykel, included the whole of Ross and Cromarty. William, the 4th Earl of Ross, was present with his clan at the Battle of Bannockburn, a century the castle of Dingwall, the chief seat on the mainland of Donald, Lord of the Isles, was captured after the disastrous fight at Harlaw in Aberdeenshire, which Donald had provoked when his claim to the earldom was rejected; the earldom reverted to the crown in 1424, but James I soon afterwards restored it to the heiress of the line, the mother of Alexander Macdonald, 3rd Lord of the Isles, who thus became the 11th Earl. In consequence, however, of the treason of John Macdonald, 4th and last Lord of the Isles and 12th Earl of Ross, the earldom was again vested in the crown. Five years James III bestowed it on his second son, James Stewart, whom he created Duke of Ross in 1488. By the 16th century the whole area of the county was occupied by different clans.
The Rosses held. The county of Ross was constituted in 1661, Cromarty in 1685 and 1698, both being consolidated into the present county in 1889. Apart from occasional conflicts between rival clans, the only battles in the county were at Invercarron, at the head of Dornoch Firth, when Montrose was crushed by Colonel Archibald Strachan on 27 April 1650. Ross lies south of Sutherland and the Dornoch Firth, west of the North Sea and the Moray Firth, north of the Beauly Firth and Inverness-shire and east of The Minch. There are a number of small islands off the area's west coast, among which are: Gillean in the parish of Lochalsh Crowlin Islands in Applecross Eilean Horrisdale, Isle of Ewe in Gairloch parish Isle Martin and Tanera More, of the Summer Isles group in the parish of LochbroomThe area of the mainland is 1,572,332 acres. On the North Sea side of the county the major firths are the Beauly Firth and the Moray Firth, which separate the Black Isle from Inverness-shire. On the Atlantic coastline—which has a length of nearly 311 miles —the principal sea lochs and bays, from south to north, are Loch Duich, Loch Alsh, Loch Carron, Loch Kishorn, Loch Torridon, Loch Shieldaig, Upper Loch Torridon, Gair Loch, Loch Ewe, Gruinard Bay, Loch Broom and Enard Bay.
The chief capes include Tarbat Ness on the east coast, Coigach, Greenstone Point, Rubha Reidh and Hamha Point on the west. All the southern boundary with Inverness-shire consists of a rampart of peaks, many of them Munros: An Riabhachan, Sgurr na Lapaich, Carn Eige, Mam Sodhail, Beinn Fhada, Sgurr Fhuaran, The Saddle. To the north of Glen Torridon are the masses of Liathach, Beinn Eighe, Beinn Alligin and Beinn Dearg. On the northeastern shore of Loch Maree rises Slioch, while the Fannich group contains six Munros, the highest being Sgurr Mor; the immense isolated bulk of Ben Wyvis, forms the most noteworthy feature in the north-east, An Teallach in the north-west appears conspicuous, though less solitary. Only a small fraction of the west and south of the area is under 1,000 ft in height. Easter Ross and the peninsula of the Black Isle are comparatively level; the longest stream of the mainland portion of Ross and Cromarty is the River Orrin, which rises from the slopes of An Sidhean and pursues a north-easterly course to its confluence with the River Conon after a run of about 26 miles, a small part of which forms the boundary with Inverness-shi
Scottish Gaelic or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a Celtic language native to the Gaels of Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish. Most of modern Scotland was once Gaelic-speaking, as evidenced by Gaelic-language placenames. In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people reported as able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001; the highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides. There are revival efforts, the number of speakers of the language under age 20 did not decrease between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. Outside Scotland, Canadian Gaelic is spoken in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Scottish Gaelic is not an official language of either the United Kingdom. However, it is classed as an indigenous language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which the British government has ratified, the Gaelic Language Act 2005 established a language development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Aside from "Scottish Gaelic", the language may be referred to as "Gaelic", pronounced or in English. "Gaelic" may refer to the Irish language. Scottish Gaelic is distinct from Scots, the Middle English-derived language varieties which had come to be spoken in most of the Lowlands of Scotland by the early modern era. Prior to the 15th century, these dialects were known as Inglis by its own speakers, with Gaelic being called Scottis. From the late 15th century, however, it became common for such speakers to refer to Scottish Gaelic as Erse and the Lowland vernacular as Scottis. Today, Scottish Gaelic is recognised as a separate language from Irish, so the word Erse in reference to Scottish Gaelic is no longer used. Gaelic was believed to have been brought to Scotland, in the 4th–5th centuries CE, by settlers from Ireland who founded the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata on Scotland's west coast in present-day Argyll.:551:66 However, archaeologist Dr Ewan Campbell has argued that there is no archaeological or placename evidence of a migration or takeover.
This view of the medieval accounts is shared by other historians. Regardless of how it came to be spoken in the region, Gaelic in Scotland was confined to Dál Riata until the eighth century, when it began expanding into Pictish areas north of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. By 900, Pictish appears to have become extinct replaced by Gaelic.:238–244 An exception might be made for the Northern Isles, where Pictish was more supplanted by Norse rather than by Gaelic. During the reign of Caustantín mac Áeda, outsiders began to refer to the region as the kingdom of Alba rather than as the kingdom of the Picts. However, though the Pictish language did not disappear a process of Gaelicisation was under way during the reigns of Caustantín and his successors. By a certain point during the 11th century, all the inhabitants of Alba had become Gaelicised Scots, Pictish identity was forgotten. In 1018, after the conquest of the Lothians by the Kingdom of Scotland, Gaelic reached its social, cultural and geographic zenith.:16–18 Colloquial speech in Scotland had been developing independently of that in Ireland since the eighth century.
For the first time, the entire region of modern-day Scotland was called Scotia in Latin, Gaelic was the lingua Scotica.:276:554 In southern Scotland, Gaelic was strong in Galloway, adjoining areas to the north and west, West Lothian, parts of western Midlothian. It was spoken to a lesser degree in north Ayrshire, the Clyde Valley and eastern Dumfriesshire. In south-eastern Scotland, there is no evidence that Gaelic was widely spoken. Many historians mark the reign of King Malcom Canmore as the beginning of Gaelic's eclipse in Scotland, his wife Margaret of Wessex spoke no Gaelic, gave her children Anglo-Saxon rather than Gaelic names, brought many English bishops and monastics to Scotland.:19 When Malcolm and Margaret died in 1093, the Gaelic aristocracy rejected their anglicised sons and instead backed Malcolm's brother Donald Bàn. Donald had spent 17 years in Gaelic Ireland and his power base was in the Gaelic west of Scotland, he was the last Scottish monarch to be buried on Iona, the traditional burial place of the Gaelic Kings of Dàl Riada and the Kingdom of Alba.
However, during the reigns of Malcolm Canmore's sons, Alexander I and David I, Anglo-Norman names and practices spread throughout Scotland south of the Forth–Clyde line and along the northeastern coastal plain as far north as Moray. Norman French displaced Gaelic at court; the establishment of royal burghs throughout the same area under David I, attracted large numbers of foreigners speaking Old English. This was the beginning of Gaelic's status as a predominantly rural language in Scotland.:19-23 Clan chiefs in the northern and western parts of Scotland continued to support Gaelic bards who remained a central feature of court life there. The semi-independent Lordship of the Isles in the Hebrides and western coastal mainland remained Gaelic since the language's recovery there in the 12th century, providing a political foundation for cultural prestige down to the end of the 15th century.:553-6By the mid-14th century what came to be called Scots emerged as the official language of government and law.:139 Scotland's emergent nat