MORE than 60 descendants of the Bruces have travelled across the Atlantic to visit the ancestral seat of the family in Clackmannan last month.

The group of 64 from the US and Canada visited the Wee County town on Saturday, June 15, as part of a week-long tour to connect with their ancestry.

Clackmannan, which for long was a focal point of life in Scotland, was high on the list as it was the home of many members of the Bruce family over the years, including King Robert I, commonly known as Robert the Bruce.

Those welcoming the party pulled out all the stops for the day as descendants of the Bruces spent six hours in the town.

They visited Clackmannan Parish Church while Clackmannan Tower, the imposing 1300s tower house built by a descendant of Robert the Bruce, was also opened up by Historic Environment Scotland.

Guided tours at the tower were not only provided to the visiting party, but also a few lucky locals who managed to book one of the much sought-after afternoon slots on the day.

It was then over to the Bruce Lounge for teas and coffees where the party watched a video of the 1949 Clackmannan Historical Pageant which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

There was also a presentation of old photographs while council archivist Susan Yule brought along a presentation on the history of Clackmannan with amateur historians Agnes and David Neeson also on hand to answer any questions.

Cait Sinnott from Clackmannan Heritage Group also played a big part in the event while Clackmannan gent Ian Russell was in attendance with a copy of the Bruce family tree, which he has been translating after it was given to him by the late Lord Balfour.

It proved a huge hit with everyone from both sides of the pond.

Those who were able also enjoyed a walk around the town, which was once the focal point of life in the highest of circles and where Robert the Bruce once enjoyed hunting in the Royal Forest of Clackmannan.

Clackmannan Development Trust’s Scott Bamford also organised for Cycling Without Age to come along and provide guests with short tours on trishaws.

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The guests and volunteers were then joined by the Earl of Mar and Kellie as well as Lord and Lady Bruce from Broomhall House when all gathered at Clackmannan Town Hall.

A lunch from Toni’s Bakery was enjoyed by all while piper Amy Low entertained the guests, including with a rendition of Happy Birthday for one of the guests as well as Highland Cathedral for a couple celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

Clackmannan Heritage Group played a big part in the day, having been approached about the visit in the first instance and thanks go to Clackmannan Development Trust, Clackmannan Town Hall Trust, Clackmannan Parish Council, Historic Environment Scotland and all the volunteers who helped make the day a huge success.

With a rich history, it is hoped the visit can help put Clackmannan on the tourist map.