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Tarbat Discovery Centre Pictish Local Heritage Museum & Gift Shop

The Picts were made up of various tribes or kingdoms who spoke a Celtic language and are believed to have descended from the native peoples of Scotland. The Picts had a prehistoric religion but were later converted to Christianity. The name Pict comes from the fact that the Romans referred to the as the Picti, meaning ‘painted people’, with reference to the many tattoos their warriors wore.

Warlike? Sophisticated? Craftsmen?

Who were the Picts?

Pictish art is acknowledged as some of the most beautiful in the world and is admired and studied by scholars world-wide. The many carved stones and cross-slabs they left behind are as enigmatic as they are beautiful. They are covered in mysterious symbols, such as the crescent and v-rod, the double disc and z-rod, mythical beasts and intricate scrolls and knots.


An un-cracked code...

Incredible art from the distant past

Free Wi-Fi

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Mon - Sat: 14.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs

Sunday: 14.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs

Mon - Sat: 10.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs

Sunday: 14.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs

Mon - Sat: 10.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs

Mon - Sat: 14.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs


Stealing each other’s cattle was a way of life in the Highlands, however in the 15th century this led to a grizzly massacre in the crypt at St Colman’s Church. You can even see the evidence today...

The feud between the Ross Clan and the Mackays

Their code has yet to be cracked. Scholars understand more of the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ than they do of this Pictish symbolism. The Fearn Peninsular is fortunate to have some excellent examples of Pictish stones at Nigg, Shandwick and Hilton-of-Cadboll (replica) that are believed to mark the boundaries of the Pictish monastery at Portmahomack.

Broken spears, mythical beasts and a Pictish Queen

The mysterious Pictish symbols…
click arrow to read about the Pictish Trail
Listen to what BBC Scotland Out of Doors
reporters said about Tarbat Discovery Centre and Portmahomack...click on speaker.

Groups may visit outside these hours and dates by appointment. Tarbat Discovery Centre can be hired for private events.

Other Times

October

June - September

May

April (From Easter)

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Opening Hours

Described as ‘the Iona of the east’ it may be better to decribe Iona as ‘the Tarbat of the west’! The Tarbat Discovery Centre is a fascinating building with an intriguing story set in a beautiful location away from the hustle & bustle of the A9 and the regular tourist routes.

“The Iona of the East...”

A Local Museum of National Importance

In 1980 a small group of local people formed the Tarbat Old Parish Trust to try to save the original parish church (abandoned in 1946) from ruin. Abandoned churches in Scotland are quite common and a viable alternative use for the building had to be found before there was any possibility of funding.

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Motorhomes welcome

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Click here for a Tarbat Discovery Crossword. All answers are somewhere on this website

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