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For other uses, see Tain (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 57°48′42″N 4°03′24″W / 57.81178°N 4.05670°W / 57.81178; -4.05670{{#coordinates:57.81178|-4.05670|region:GB_type:city(3972)|||||| |primary |name= }}

Scottish Gaelic: Baile Dhubhthaich
Scots: Tain
Tain Tolbooth in 2004.jpg
Tain is located in Highland

 Tain shown within the Highland council area
Population 3,972 
OS grid reference NH779821
Council area Highland
Lieutenancy area Ross and Cromarty
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town TAIN
Postcode district IV19
Dialling code 01862
Police Northern
Fire Highlands and Islands
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Scottish Parliament Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Tain (Gaelic: Baile Dhubhthaich, Duthac's town) is a royal burgh and post town in the committee area of Ross and Cromarty, in the Highland area of Scotland. It is on the A9 road which links the south of Scotland with the far north (Caithness). Population, according to the 2001 Census, is 3,972.


The origin of the name 'Tain' is uncertain. It may be derived from the pre-Celtic name for the nearby River Tain or it may derive from the Norse word for a meeting place - "Thing."[citation needed] The origin of the town's Gaelic name is however quite clear; Baile Dubhthaich, meaning 'Duthac's town' after the saint of this name, also known as Duthus.[1]


Tain railway station is on the Far North Line. The station is now unmanned; however, in its heyday it had a staff of 30 people. The station opened on 1 January 1864.

Notable buildings in the town include Tain Tolbooth and St Duthus Collegiate Church. The town also boasts a museum, Tain Through Time, and the Glenmorangie Distillery.

Tain has two primary schools called Craighill (pupils - 301, January 2008) and Knockbreck and a secondary school called Tain Royal Academy (pupil roll - just under 600, August 2008).

The layout of the town golf course was designed by Tom Morris, Sr.[citation needed]


Tain was granted its first royal charter in 1066, making Tain Scotland's oldest Royal Burgh, an event commemorated in 1966 with the opening of the Rose Garden by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The 1066 charter, granted by King Malcolm III, confirmed Tain both as a sanctuary, where people could claim the protection of the church, and an "immunity", whose resident merchants and traders were exempt from certain types of taxes. These important ideas carried through the centuries and led to the development of the town as it is today.

Little is known of the earlier history of the town although it owed much of its importance to Duthac. He was an early Christian figure, perhaps 8th or 9th century, whose shrine had become so important by 1066 that it resulted in the royal charter already mentioned. The ruined chapel near the mouth of the river was said to have been built on the site of his birth. Duthac became an official saint in 1419 and by the late Middle Ages his shrine was established as one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Scotland. The most famous pilgrim was King James IV, who came at least once a year throughout his reign to achieve both spiritual and political aims.

A leading landowning family of the area was the Clan Munro who provided many leading political and religious figures to the town, including the dissenter Rev John Munro of Tain (died ca. 1630).

The early Duthac Chapel was the center of a sanctuary. Fugitives were by tradition given sanctuary inside an area of several square miles marked by boundary stones. During the First War of Scottish Independence, Robert the Bruce sent his wife and daughter to the sanctuary for safe keeping. The sanctuary was violated and they were captured by forces loyal to John Balliol.[2] The women were taken to England where they were kept as prisoners for several years.

RAF Tain

With conflict looming in the 1930s, an aerodrome large enough for bombers was built adjacent to the town. It was on a low-lying alluvial plain known as the Fendom bordering the Dornoch Firth. The "drome" was home to many British and Polish airmen during World War II. The aerodrome was abandoned as a flying location after the war and was converted into a bombing range for the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. When British naval aviation moved away from large fleet aircraft carriers, the Fleet Air Arm role was taken over by the RAF. The Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) at Lossiemouth converted to an RAF base and the Tain range reverted to the RAF. Large parts of the original aerodrome were returned to civilian use after World War II and some are still accessible.[3]


Tain has decent equipped facilities for sport which are mainly located at Tain Royal Academy(TRACC). They consist of an indoor 20-meter swimming pool, fitness suite, indoor hall, small gymnasium and an outdoor third-generation astrograss surface. Tain also has a tennis club, kempo club, bowling club and boasts an impressive golf course. Tain is also home to Tain Thistle Football Club who played in the North Caledonian league in the 08/09 season.

Local geographical and visitor features

The Gizzen Briggs are sandbars at the entrance to the Dornoch Firth, and with the right wind conditions, they can be heard over a wide area at low tide. The so-called "million dollar view" to the south-west of Tain, accessible via the A836 Struie moor road, gives a panoramic view of the Dornoch Firth and Sutherlandshire.

There are five important castles in the vicinity - Carbisdale Castle, built for the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland and now a youth hostel; Skibo Castle, once the home of the industrialist Andrew Carnegie and now an exclusive hotel; Dunrobin Castle, ancestral seat of the Duke of Sutherland (castle and gardens open to the public); Balnagown Castle, ancestral seat of the Clan Ross, restored and owned by Mohammed Al Fayed; and Ballone Castle, recently restored by the owners of a local crafts business.

Highland Fine Cheeses, run by Ruaridh Stone (the brother of Liberal MSP Jamie Stone), have a factory at Blarliath Farm, Tain. Tain is also close to Glenmorangie Distillery.

Tain itself features several amenities, such as a library, community centre, two 4-star hotels, a music shop, several fast food outlets, a town hall and a popular bookshop.

Tain Thistle Football Club are a local team who play in the North Caledonian Football League during the winter and the Ross-shire Welfare League during the summer months. The Club usually play competitive games once or twice a week, and have a training night once a week. Home matches are played at Grant Park (by the Links).

To the southeast of Tain lies the site of the medieval Fearn Abbey, the current parish church of the same name dates from 1772.

Parliamentary burgh

Tain was a parliamentary burgh, combined with Dingwall, Dornoch, Kirkwall and Wick in the Northern Burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918. Cromarty was added to the list in 1832.

The constituency was a district of burghs known also as Tain Burghs until 1832, and then as Wick Burghs. It was represented by one Member of Parliament. In 1918 the constituency was abolished and the Tain component was merged into Ross and Cromarty.

Famous people


  1. Iain Mac an Tailleir. "Placenames" (PDF). Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 
  2. The Lion in the North, by John Prebble, Part III, ISBN 0 14 00.3652 0, Published - Martin Secker & Warburg 1971
  3. War Detectives. "Royal Air Force Tain". Retrieved 2008-04-01. 

External links

gd:Baile Dhubhthaich nl:Tain no:Tain

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