If you cast around for a guide to the clan Mackay, you will find three principal books - one by

Sir Robert Gordon, one by Robert Mackay and a third by Angus Mackay. Each of these is learned and interesting in its way but the most recent was written in 1906.

It seemed high time for an updated version - one that fills in some rather yawning 20th century gaps, one that speaks to a contemporary audience, one that acknowledges an international longing to research family roots.


The Mackay spirit was remarkable from the very first. We hope that all Mackays who read this book do so with pride.

Welcome to the county of Sutherland in Scotland
Mackay Country
The House of Tongue
Manu forti

In its heyday, the chiefs of the clan Mackay owned 400,000 acres of this wonderful county. Today, Mackays proliferate throughout Sutherland but the clan chiefs - along with many, many clan members - have long dispersed. Mackays today flourish in Canada, Australia, the USA, Sweden, Holland, Germany and beyond.

For many years, the seat of the clan Mackay was in or around Tongue. Castle Varrich was the first, Borve Castle was another. Pictured is the House of Tongue which now belongs to the Sutherland family but for several generations, belonged to the Mackay chiefs. Its origins are 16th century.

From their earliest origins, the Mackays - like most Highland clans - were warring spirits. Indeed, the chief was given the title Lord Reay in recognition of his military services. Both crest and the motto -  Manu Forti orwith a strong hand - reflect this preoccupation. Pictured is the crest planted in box at Whittington Hall in Lancashire.

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Sutherland at its wintry best