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History of Tongue, Sutherland

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Tongue, Sutherland

Tongue, Sutherland is called Tunga in Scottish Gaelic and Old Norse. It is also known as Ceann Taile, however, it was historically known as Circeabol. It is a small, coastal village in the western part of the historic county of Sutherland. In 2011, the population of Tongue was 564.

Ancient History

This area was frequently used by Gaels, Picts, and Vikings before it was permanently settled by Scots.

Tongue House

Clan Mackay made their Clann seat here after they abandoned Castle Varrich.

Castle Varrich

The ancient seat of the chief of Clan Mackay and is believed to be over 1,000 years old. It may have been built over the top of an existing Norse fortification in the 14th century. There is also a cave system that runs below the castle.

The castle walls are about 5ft thick and are made from squared blocks of sandstone. The castle was a two story building with an attic. It has views of both Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains, and is located near the village of Tongue.

Battle of Drumnacoub

The Battle of Drumnacoub involved factions of Clan Mackay and was fought sometime between 1427 and 1433. The battle took place on a hill named Carn Fada near the southern end of the Kyle of Tongue.

Clan Chief, Angus Du Mackay and his son John Aberach Mackay led their side of the battle against their cousins, Morgan Neilson Mackay and troops of men from Clan Sutherland, led by Angus Murray. Morgan Neilson McKay was attempting to take the Mackay lands from the Chief. Angus Du Mackay and his son John were the victors in the battle.

Notables from Tongue

  • George W Campbell, an American Statesman
  • Patrick Sellar, a Scottish lawyer and factor for the Sutherland Estate
  • Elizabeth Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland

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Categories: Tongue, Sutherland