The Highland Treasures series takes place in the Highlands of Scotland on the ancient lands of Clan Munro during the 16th century. While engaging in genealogical research, I became intrigued by my Scots heritage, so I located the ancestral clan on a map. A few months later found me eagerly planning a trip to Scotland. During that first trip connections were made with members of Clan Munro and I visited Foulis Castle, the ancestral seat of the clan. The seeds of a Scottish historical romance took root in my imagination and a story entitled A Highland Pearl became a publication.
Duncan Munro, my Scots ancestor, left Scotland in the early 1800′s and journeyed to North Carolina. But long before Duncan, another ancestor left his homeland and made the trip across unknown seas to a far and distant land. His name was Donald O’Ceann, and he journeyed from Ireland to Scotland where he became the progenitor of the Highland Clan Munro.
Legend says Donald O’Ceann arrived in Scotland as a mercenary soldier during the time of Malcolm II, King of Scots, in the 11th century to help expel the Danes from Scottish shores. He received the lands of East Dingwall in Ross-shire for his services. These lands later became a barony and were named Foulis, from Loch Foyle in Ireland. The chief of the clan was designated of Foulis, with his residence in the parish of Kiltearn near the mountain called, Ben Wyvis. Ferindonald is the anglicized name of the lands of Clan Munro on the north shore of Cromarty Firth in the Scottish Highlands. The Gaelic name is Fearann-Domhnuill and it means, The Land of Donald.
The clan name, Munro, which in Gaelic is Rothach, Roich, or Mac an Rothaich, means Ro Man or Man from Ro, and supports the traditional origin that the clan emigrated from the River Roe area in Ireland.
Hugh Munro, the first of the family authentically designated of Foulis, died in 1126 A.D. He seems to have been the grandson of Donald, the son of O’Ceann, progenitor of the Clan. Robert, reckoned the second baron of Foulis, was actively engaged in the wars of David I and Malcolm IV. Donald, heir to Robert, built the old tower of Foulis.
A monument to the Battle of Clacknaharry is located on Munro clan land. The battle was fought between Clan MacIntosh and Clan Munro in 1341 A.D. John Munro, the tutor or guardian of Foulis, was treated with indignity as he passed through MacIntosh land with a herd of cattle. The MacIntosh demanded a toll of the plunder. The guardian offered a share, but MacIntosh demanded nothing less than half. Munro would not yield to the demands and went on his journey homeward. MacIntosh convened his forces to follow John Munro. A battle ensued in which John Munro was seriously injured and left for dead. The Lord Lovet of Clan Fraser carried Munro to his house and cured John’s wounds. One of Munro’s hands was permanently mutilated.
The Eagle Stone, an ancient Pictish stone with the carving of an eagle, is located in Ferindonald. It is said to commemorate a Munro battle.
Another Pictish stone is located nearby and is thought to be a boundary stone.
Knock Farrell is a village in Ferindonald where and ancient henge was located. The henge was made of wood and has disintegrated over time, but the remains date to a time before the druids. Remnants of the wooden henge can still be seen.
Excerpt from A Highland Pearl
Tavish pushed her toward the pallet. “The laird needs your help, Madam.”
She hesitated. “Angus is there with him.”
“His brother asked for you. You must help now.” Tavish grabbed her arm with his free hand and pulled her toward the stricken laird.
She resisted. “So many others need my help.” She counted only three other servants and the laird’s sister, Davina, caring for the wounded.
“Angus can help them.” Tavish tugged on her arm once more. She reluctantly followed. “The tanist said Laird Andrew asked specifically for you to come to his aid.”
“He asked for me?” Maidie pulled against the arm holding her. “He looks unconscious.”
“He’s only resting now. Angus gave him a potion to ease his pain.” Tavish jerked once more.
Maidie reluctantly let him pull her to the pallet that held Andrew Munro. Angus turned to her when they approached, his face covered with a scowl. The castle physician left quickly, making his way to another of the wounded men.
A voice came from the darkness on the far side of the bed. “Thank you for coming Maidie Cameron Munro. As you can see for yourself, my brother needs your attention.”
Maidie’s hand went to the very first thing a Munro noticed— her kertch of Cameron colors. The large form of Gavin, tanist of the clan, rose from the shadows. Filth caked the russet hair tied away from his grimy face with a leather thong. A dirty linen léine hung in shreds from his shoulders and arms. The upper end of his great plaide, now stained with gore, wrapped around broad shoulders with a long dagger sheathed on a wide leather belt at his waist.
“I fought many wearing those same colors this verra day,” he said with heavy brows knit together in a dark, frightening scowl.
Maidie could only shake her head in response. Her stomach churned at the sight and sound of him. Then she looked down at the man lying on the pallet. His face held the green pallor of death she had seen before on the dying. His body, covered with a filthy plaide, trembled. Long black hair, fanned about powerful shoulders. She knelt beside the trembling form, and lifted the plaide. A hand went to her mouth when she uncovered the gaping wound across his abdomen.
A loud gasp escaped between Maidie’s fingers. “Ach! Saints in Heaven! Why didn’t Angus stitch this wound?” She pushed the plaide away from the open wound, leaving it to cover only the lower part of the chief’s torso.
His powerful dark-haired chest lay bare, rising and falling with labored breathing. Maidie noticed the large legs bulging with muscles from the constant training for battle and fighting required for survival. The same dark hair spanning his chest covered his legs and arms. She understood why the local people called this laird, An t-Seabhag Dubh Ferarann Dhòmhnaill, The Black Falcon of Ferindonald.