International Clan Gathering 2005

The very successful and enjoyable International Gathering of nearly two hundred Sinclairs from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, the United States of America and the United Kingdom has recently ended. After three days in Orkney visiting sites there they spent a week in Caithness with a varied programme of activities and attractions to see. Their itinerary included a wildlife cruise to Stroma and Duncansby Stacks after which they had lunch at and toured the Castle and Gardens of Mey. An afternoon was spent in Wick where the Heritage Centre and the Isabella Fortuna were visited before the Clan Meeting was held. A number of councillors from Caithness attended and Cllr. Alastair MacDonald gave a speech of welcome on behalf of the Council. This was followed by a ceilidh with the Gordon Gunn Band and Isla St Clair. Elise Lyall’s dancers performed, the drums of the Wick Royal British Legion Pipe Band joined with the Clan Sinclair Pipe Band, who played regularly throughout the Gathering, to entertain everyone. The night was completed by a fireworks display with a pipes and drums backing at Castle Sinclair Girnigoe. They returned there the next day to see the progress with the preservation works and to commemorate the occasion the Sinclair Banner was unfurled and flew, for the first time for 350 years, over the Castle. There was also a family fun day at Noss Head including a mini Highland Games. The next day Caithness Archaeological Trust organised an excellent range of visits to Dunbeath Broch and Harbour, Laidhay, Camster Cairns, Achavanich stone circle and the chambered cairn project at Spital quarry. On Saturday they all marched onto the field at the Halkirk Games and spent the day there. The following and final day there was a clan service in West Church, Thurso and in the evening a farewell dinner followed by dancing to the Addie Harper Scottish Dance Band. Everyone then returned to the far corners of the world, tired but very happy, and commenting on the friendship and welcome they had received from everyone in the County.

Photographs by Clan Photographer © Brian Finch who can supply a CD with many more images



Friday 22nd July

09.00 Meet at Thistle Hotel, Inverness after breakfast and take coaches to Scrabster, near Thurso
13.15 Ferry Scrabster to Stromness, Orkney. Lunch on the ferry.
14.45 Arrive Stromness. Coaches to Kirkwall
c. 15.30 Arrive at Hotels in Kirkwall
18.00 Welcome Reception and Cocktail Party in Ayre Hotel.

Saturday 23rd July

08.30 Qualified Orkney guides will arrive at the Kirkwall Hotel.

09.00 Depart for Skara Brae via Scapa Flow.
10.15 Arrive Skara Brae and Skaill House
12.00 Depart for lunch at Harray Community Hall
13.45 Depart for Maeshowe
14.15 Arrive Maeshowe
15.30 Depart for Corrigall Farm Museum
15.45 Arrive at the Corrigall Farm Museum
16.15 Depart for Stones of Stenness/Ring of Brodgar
16.30 Arrive at the Stones of Stenness/Ring of Brodgar
17.15 Depart for Kirkwall
17.30 – 19.30 Visit to Highland Park Distillery and whisky tasting for half the party.

Sunday 24th July

11.15 Church Service at St Magnus Cathedral followed by tour of Cathedral
14.00 Depart for Birsay (via Dounby)
14.30 As an alternative visit to the Kirkwall Lodge to view the Kirkwall Scroll and afternoon in Kirkwall.
15.00 Arrive at Birsay
15.30 Depart for Kirkwall (via Evie)
16.30 Arrive Kirkwall
17.30 – 19.00 Visit to Highland Park Distillery and whisky tasting for remainder of the party.

Monday 25th July

09.45 Depart for Italian Chapel
10.00 Arrive Italian Chapel
10.15 Depart for Burwick (via the Churchill Barriers)
10.45 Arrive at Burwick
11.30 Depart Burwick by John O Groat’s Ferries
12.10 Arrive John O’Groats and coaches to hotels in Thurso

Tuesday 26th July

11.00 Depart for John O’Groats
12.15 Wildlife Cruise
13.45 Depart for Castle of Mey
14.00 Lunch at Mey and tour of Castle and Gardens

Wednesday 27th July

am free.

12.00 noon Depart for Wick
12.30 arrive Wick
Visit to Wick Heritage Centre
16.30 Clan Meeting in Mackays Hotel
19.30 Ceilidh at The Waterfront
20.00 Depart for
20.30 Fireworks at Castle Sinclair Girnigoe (a torch/flashlight will be useful)

Thursday 28th July

10.15 Depart for Noss Head
11.00 Arrive Noss Head for family fun day with events designed to cater for all - falconry display, gundog demonstration, sheep shearing demonstration, and opportunities for you to put your skills to the test in supervised activities including fly fish casting, clay pigeon (skeet) shooting, catapult competition and mini Highland Games including hurling the haggis, caber, shot put and tug of war.
BBQ lunch provided
16.30 Tour of Sinclair Girnigoe Castle

Friday 29th July

09.00 Depart for Chambered Cairn project at Spital, Achavanich Stone Circle, Camster Cairns, Laidhay Croft Museum, Dunbeath Heritage Centre, Dunbeath Broch and Dunbeath Castle
17.15 Depart for
18.00 Reception at Thurso East

Saturday 30th July

11.30 Coaches depart for Halkirk
12.00 Assemble outside Ulbster Arms Hotel
Sinclairs will march onto the field following the Pipe Band
Buffet lunch in Clan Tent with Chief’s Reception at the end of the Games

Sunday 31st July

From 10.00 Coffee and opportunity to view Sinclair memorabilia display in the Church
11.15 Church Service at West Street Church of Scotland
18.15 Reception at Weigh Inn Hotel followed by farewell Banquet and Dancing to Addie Harper Band

Monday 1st August

09.00 Coaches return to Inverness
Farewell and goodbyes

Gathering Guide


Created and maintained by Iain Laird and all rights donated to the Clan Sinclair Trust.
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