The north west of Sutherland was for centuries the main territory of the Mackays, although they were also to be found in Argyll, Kintyre and much further south west in Galloway.
With the motto ‘A strong hand’, the main seat of the clan chief was the House of Tongue, on the eastern shore of the Kyle of Tongue, while this clan renowned for its martial skills also held the forbidding strongholds of Castle Borve and Castle Varrich.
In common with many other clans, the Mackays were often embroiled in bitter warfare with their neighbours.
In 1372, after opposing an attempt by the powerful Clan Sutherland to impose feudal superiority over them, the Mackay chief and his son and heir were callously murdered in Dingwall Castle by Nicolas Sutherland of Duff.
In later centuries, they became engaged as much sought after mercenaries in European wars, and their frequently bloody tale is chronicled here.