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Tain 01.jpg
Tain is located in Highland
Tain shown within the Highland council area
OS grid referenceNH779821
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townTAIN
Postcode districtIV19
Dialling code01862
EU ParliamentScotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
57°48′42″N 4°03′24″W / 57.81178°N 4.05670°W / 57.81178; -4.05670Coordinates: 57°48′42″N 4°03′24″W / 57.81178°N 4.05670°W / 57.81178; -4.05670

Tain (Gaelic: Baile Dhubhthaich) is a royal burgh and parish in the County of Ross, in the Highlands of Scotland.


The name derives from the nearby River Tain, the name of which comes from an Indo-European root meaning 'flow'.[1] The Gaelic name, Baile Dubhthaich, means 'Duthac's town', after a local saint also known as Duthus.[2]


Tain has an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb)

Climate data for Tain (30m asl, averages 1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.4
Average low °C (°F) 0.4
Average rainfall mm (inches) 59.5
Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 13.0 11.0 12.9 9.5 11.1 10.8 10.9 11.3 10.3 14.3 12.3 13.6 140.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 40 70 102 138 184 152 143 133 112 83 49 31 1,237
Source #1: [3]
Source #2: [4]


The Royal Hotel

Tain railway station is on the Far North Line. The station is unmanned; in its heyday it had 30 staff. The station was opened by the Highland Railway on 1 January 1864. From 1 January 1923, the station was owned by the London Midland and Scottish Railway. Then in 1949 the British railways were nationalised as British Railways. When the railways were privatised the station became part of ScotRail.

Notable buildings in the town include Tain Tolbooth and St Duthus Collegiate Church. The town also has a local history museum, Tain Through Time, and the Glenmorangie distillery.

Tain has two primary schools -Craighill (pupils - 274, April 2011) and Knockbreck (pupils - just under 120, April 2011) - and a secondary school called Tain Royal Academy with 500 pupils in summer 2014.


Tain was granted its first royal charter in 1066, making it Scotland's oldest Royal Burgh,[5] commemorated in 1966 with the opening of the Rose Garden by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The 1066 charter, granted by King Malcolm III, confirmed Tain as a sanctuary, where people could claim the protection of the church, and an immunity, in which resident merchants and traders were exempt from certain taxes. These led to the development of the town.

Little is known of earlier history although the town 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. 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 an important places of pilgrimage in Scotland. King James IV came at least once a year throughout his reign to achieve both spiritual and political aims.

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

The early Duthac Chapel was the centre of a sanctuary. Fugitives were by tradition given sanctuary in 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 safety. The sanctuary was violated and they were captured by forces loyal to William II, Earl of Ross who handed them over to Edward I of England[6] The women were taken to England and kept prisoner for several years.

RAF Tain[edit]

With conflict looming in the 1930s, an aerodrome large enough for bombers was built next to the town on low alluvial land known as the Fendom bordering the Dornoch Firth. It was home to British, Czech (311 Sqn) and Polish airmen during World War II. It was abandoned as a flying location after the war and converted to a bombing range for the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. When British naval aviation moved from large fleet aircraft carriers, the role was taken over by the RAF. In 1939 RAF Station Lossiemouth opened and was used until 1946 when the airfield was transferred to the Admiralty and becoming Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Lossiemouth then returning to the RAF in 1972 as a RAF airfield 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.[7]

Sport & Recreation[edit]

Tain Golf Club offers a Championship length links golf course. Overlooking the Dornoch Firth, the course was first designed by Old Tom Morris in 1890.[8]

St Duthus v Brora Rangers April 2017

Tain is represented in the Scottish Football Association affiliated North Caledonian Football League by senior football club St Duthus Football Club during the regular football season. Tain is also represented by recreational football club Tain Thistle Football Club in the Ross-shire Welfare League during the summer. Home matches are played at the Links Playing Fields.

Sport facilities are available at the Tain Royal Academy Community Complex. These facilities include an indoor 20-metre swimming pool, fitness suite, indoor hall, gymnasium and an outdoor all weather surface for field activities.

Other sports clubs in Tain include St Duthus Bowling Club, Tain Tennis Club, Tain Rifle & Pistol Club, The Scottish Kempo Academy and Nicholson Kempo Jujitsu.

Local geographical and visitor features[edit]

The Gizzen Briggs are sandbars at the entrance to the Dornoch Firth, and with the right wind, they can be heard at low tide. The so-called "million dollar view" to the north-west of Tain, accessible via the A836 westward and B9176 Struie moor road, gives a panoramic view of Dornoch Firth and Sutherland.

Five important castles are in the vicinity - Carbisdale Castle, built for the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland and now a youth hostel; Skibo Castle, once home of the industrialist Andrew Carnegie and now a 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, restored by the owners of a local crafts business.

Glenmorangie distillery and visitor centre is located just off the A9 on the outskirts of Tain.

Highland Fine Cheeses, run by Ruaridh Stone (the brother of Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone), have a factory at Blarliath Farm, Tain.

Tain has a library, community centre, two four-star hotels, several cafes, takeaway restaurants and a town hall.

Just outside Hill of Fearn near Tain lies the site of the medieval Fearn Abbey; the parish church of the same name dates from 1772.

Parliamentary burgh[edit]

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 Tain was merged into Ross and Cromarty.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Taylor, Iain. Place-names of Scotland. Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd. p. 149. ISBN 978-1-78027-005-0.
  2. ^ Iain Mac an Tailleir. "Placenames" (PDF). Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2007-07-23.
  3. ^ "Tain climate information". Met Office. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Climate information for Tain". Scottish Places. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Tain Community Website - History & Heritage". www.tain.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  6. ^ Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland, by G.W.S. Barrow, published Edinburgh, 1965
  7. ^ War Detectives. "Royal Air Force Tain". Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  8. ^ "Home Page". Tain Golf Club. Retrieved 11 Apr 2011.
  9. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  10. ^ "Obituary, Thomas Summers West" (PDF). Royal Society of Edinburg. Retrieved 2012-06-20.

External links[edit]