The Dalmally Stones Project


 The village or clachan of Dalmally is situated near Loch Awe in Argyll. It’s old name is Dysart, which means a retreat or a hermitage and it is recorded, under various spellings, as Clachan Dysart in early Scottish annals. The present church at Dalmally is the third one known to have been built on the site and is called Glenorchy Parish Church. The original parish of Glenorchy comprised the ancient MacGregor lands of Glen Orchy, Glen Lochy and Glen Strae.

The Church and Graveyard

 The original church is first mentioned in written records as a burial place of Clan Gregor in the 14th century, with The Book of the Dean of Lismore giving detailed accounts of the Chiefs of Clan Gregor interred there, circa 1390 – 1528. The present building, which is a superb, white painted, octagonal design with bell tower, was constructed by the Earl of Breadalbane in 1811.

Around 30 years ago, extensive repairs were carried out to strengthen the stairwell in the tower and to support the gallery in the main body of the church. When part of the floor was dug up for this purpose, a scatter of human bones were found. These were presumed to have been disturbed during construction of the building in 1810/11.

With the floor removed, signs of the medieval church were also found but these were insufficient to give an exact layout of that building. It would seem, however, that the High Altar, at which the leaders of Clan Gregor were buried, must lie under the present tower. This conclusion stems from the earlier churches being of different design.

The graveyard contains several sculptured stones from the 14th and 15th centuries. Many appear to have been re-used, as was common in earlier times, and most are found on the west side of the church. The likelihood is that that they were placed there during The Reformation in Scotland when great change took place. Altars were moved and burials within churches were forbidden in 1572 so cists, i.e. stone coffins, which had previously lain inside churches, were thrown out. This may be why one of the MacGregor stones, which lies among the early sculptured stones, appears to be part of a cist.

The graveyard is very ancient and also has a MacNab stone, a walled Campbell enclosure and an area said to be for tinker children’s burials.


Clan Gregor Society has taken an active interest in the church and conducted historical research there for some years now. In 2011 we donated a beautifully carved wooden lectern to commemorate the building’s 200th anniversary and in 2012 we surveyed the interior of the church, using ground penetrating radar, as part of our archaeological program of digs in the surrounding area. We seek to discover and preserve Clan Gregor history within the church itself and in the adjacent clan lands of Glen Orchy and Glen Strae. We also seek to protect and preserve the Clan Gregor gravestones from further decay by wind and weather.

One possibility is to mount the stones inside the church, together with a history of Clan Gregor, as part of a display, thereby preserving them for future generations to see. Another is to house them in a separate building adjacent to the church. Either way the cost will be considerable and we urge members and readers to donate to this worthy cause via the Contact Us directory here on the website.

Extracts from the Book of the Dean of Lismore

“Death of John Macgregor of Glenurquay, at Glenurquay.” (Glen Orchy). “He was buried in Dysart on the north side of the High Altar, on the 19thof April, in the year 1390.”

“Death of John Dhu Macgregor of Glenstray, son of Patrick, at Stronmelochan (Stronmilchan).  He was buried in Dysart, north of the Great Altar, in a stone coffin, upon the 26thof May, in the year 1519; on which day a great meteor was seen in Glenurquay.”


Glenorchy Kirk is a beautiful church in a superb location. It is well worth visiting now. If you also visit Kilchurn Castle, the magnificent MacGregor holding on nearby Loch Awe side, it puts the church’s position within the clan lands into context.

We have received very welcome donations from all over the world which have allowed the Society to set up the Dalmally Stones project, the Ed Boothe Fund and the GPR projects. We are extremely grateful to our American cousins and, in particular, to Ms JoAnn Pippin, her family and the members of SEUS, for their generosity.  – Sincere thanks to everyone who gives of their time and resources, and to Dalmally church itself, for the progress we have made in five years of archaeology; a study never done before, in the clan’s history.

 The Dalmally Stones Project will take time to complete but it will make the church an even greater attraction for visitors and researchers once the MacGregor grave stones  are readily on view.

(Sources = Clan Gregor Society, Wikipedia, Church of Scotland).

Posted in History

International Gathering 2018 – Now Sold Out


Full details on The 2018 International Gathering, as well as how to apply, can be found on The Gatherings Page which is under the heading Membership above.  

NB. Due to the huge demand we are now sold out and have had to open a Waiting List.

If you have already expressed an interest but find that you cannot come, please tell us, straight away, for the sake of those on the Waiting List.  

(Post updated 12 May 2017)  

Posted in Events

Take part in the Edinburgh Tattoo 2017

March to the Castle

More than 30 clansmen and clanswomen marched to the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle for the press launch on Monday, 8th May to mark a momentous occasion in Scotland’s history. This is the first time that Scotland’s clans have been welcomed into the Castle since the Highland Clans marched to the City of Edinburgh, to lay siege to the Castle, during the Jacobite uprising in 1745.

During the Tattoo’s August extravaganza, the military showcase will champion the theme Splash of Tartan. In each evening’s opening ceremony, selected Clan Chiefs will lead their clan folk on to the Esplanade to the awaiting Tattoo crowd. Everyone across the city is being encouraged to dress up in finest tartan accoutrements.


Clans at Edinburgh Castle     Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle


Join Clan Gregor in this amazing spectacle and have the experience of a lifetime.

NB.  – Special passes are needed to be able to march.

  • Would anyone wishing to take part, please contact Clan Gregor Society now at
  • Would anyone who booked using the “public” Edinburgh Tattoo site and who wants to take part, please contact us immediately.
  • The Clan Gregor event is on Monday 21st August at 9pm.


The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2017 will be unique as clans are participating for the first time. Clan chiefs are, therefore, sending out a rallying call to clansmen and women from all over the world to join them, in their tartan, at the Tattoo in August . The theme of the event, which takes place every year at Edinburgh Castle, will be a ‘Splash of Tartan’ and performances will have a strong clan content. Fifty members of each clan are invited to march in to the Tattoo with their Clan Chief, on a specified night, but you must be in tartan to march.

Clan Gregor takes part on Monday 21st August 2017 together with the Hannays and the Buchanans. Space is strictly limited to fifty members from each clan so, if you want to be one of the fifty MacGregors involved, please contact Clan Gregor Society and provide your details . Once the march is over, you then go to your allocated seats to watch the rest of the performance.

The Tattoo will run from 4th-26th August 2017. Twenty four performances with over 1,200 performers will take place on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, the iconic home of the world’s best known military spectacle. Performances are Monday to Friday at 9pm and on Saturdays at 7.30pm and 10.30pm, with standard ticket prices ranging from £25 to £74.

Full details of the 2017 The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo can be found at where tickets can be purchased online or by telephone on +44 (0)131 225 1188.

NB. We could, in theory, have more than fifty MacGregors wishing to march but, as mentioned above, only fifty will be allowed into the actual arena. We suggest you do not delay as The Tattoo is a hugely popular spectacle. It also takes place during the Edinburgh Festival when the city is full to the brim with people and other great events.

This is an exciting first for the clans and for Clan Gregor in particular. We are immensely proud that our chief, Sir Malcolm, 24th Chief of Clan Gregor and Chieftain of the Children of the Mist, has been instrumental in setting up the relationship with the Tattoo. Let’s put on a great show for the sake of our members worldwide and for the 6000 plus spectators on August the 21st. It’ll be a fantastic experience.


The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been taking place since 1950. It is run for charitable causes and is broadcast on BBC television each year. The Tattoo attracts over 200,000 spectators annually, with a further 100 million watching the televised showings in 30 different countries. It comprises military bands from British, Commonwealth and International armed forces, massed Pipes and Drums and spectacular performers from all over the world. – If you are coming from abroad, it is a definite highlight of your visit to Scotland.

Photographs courtesy of REMT and Tony Marsh, photographer.


Posted in Events

Society member honoured as Chieftain of the Games

By Lois Ann Garlitz

MacGregors ready to march in the noon parade.

MacGregors getting ready to march in the Parade of Clans.

I enjoyed a lovely weekend at Utah Scottish Festival and Highland Games at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah on June 12th and 13th 2015 as their Chieftain of the Games. As an additional honour, I was asked by the Chief of Clan Gregor, Sir Malcolm MacGregor, to fly his Pinsel flag as his personal representative in the United States.

What’s a Pinsel?

In heraldry, a Pinsel is small triangular flag granted only to Chiefs or very special chieftain-barons by the Lord Lyon King of Arms in Scotland. It’s used to denote a person to whom the Chief has delegated authority to act in his behalf on a particular occasion. The MacGregor Pinsel was presented to the American Clan Gregor Society decades ago by Sir Malcolm’s father, Sir Gregor MacGregor. You can see this special Pinsel flag in the photo below.

Lois Ann Garlitz with Steven Argyle

Lois Ann Garlitz with Steven Argyle holding the Pinsel.

Posted in Chapters, Highland Games Tagged with:

5 Insider Tips to Get the Best Airfare Prices

Travel Thursday: airline ticketsTraveling to Scotland?

When planning a trip involving airfare, most people believe one of two things (or maybe both!).

  • You get a better price on airline tickets when you book far in advance.
  • You may be able to find some sweet, last-minute deals on unsold inventory if you wait until the very last minute.

While there are no fail-safe methods for predicting airfare patterns, a recent report from CheapAir shows the best buying times.

Here are five of the top airfare tips:

  1. Book domestic flights between 3-7 weeks out from your travel dates. Average fares start to decline about 3 months out from departure.
  2. Start researching international flight prices 6-9 months out then sign up for a fare-monitoring service to alert you when prices are at their lowest.
  3. Plan Spring break getaways to warmer weather about 5 months in advance.
  4. Book winter holiday trips as early as June because prices tend to climb and keep on rising from that point on.
  5. Don’t wait until the week of the departure because fares typically shoot up by 25% or more.

Are your bags packed?


Posted in Tourist Thursday, travel
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