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Tain is located in Highland
Area 2.12 km2 (0.82 sq mi)
Population 3,570 (2020)
• Density 1,684/km2 (4,360/sq mi)
OS grid reference NH779821
• Edinburgh 133 mi (214 km)
• London 463 mi (745 km)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
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 Ross
List of places
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 English name derives from the nearby River Tain, the name of which comes from an Indo-European root meaning 'flow'. The Gaelic name, Baile Dubhthaich, means 'Duthac's town', after a local saint also known as Duthus.


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


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, 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 center 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 John Balliol. The women were taken to England and kept prisoner for several years.

Local geographical and visitor features

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.

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 has a library, community centre, two four-star hotels, a music shop, fast food outlets 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

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.

Sport & recreation

St Duthac Centre, Stafford Street, Tain - - 277802
The St Duthac Centre, Stafford Street

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.

St Duthus v Brora 2017
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. Home matches are played at Grant Park football ground.

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.

Notable people

  • Saint Duthac (1000–1065), 11th century saint
  • Sir John Fraser (1885–1947), surgeon
  • Peter Fraser (1884–1950), 24th prime minister of New Zealand, was born in Hill of Fearn a village nearby Tain.
  • George MacKenzie FRSE (1886–1957), president of the Institute of Banking 1941–5
  • Rev John Munro of Tain, 17th-century religious dissenter, was a minister here.
  • Rev David Robertson (1962–) the former Free Church of Scotland moderator and Christian commentator, grew up in Portmahomack.
  • Elizabeth Ness MacBean Ross (1878–1915), physician who was raised here and attended Tain Royal Academy.
  • John Ross (1726–1800)
  • Very Rev Walter Ross Taylor (1805–1896), served as Moderator of the General Assembly to the Free Church of Scotland in 1884.
  • Professor Thomas Summers West CBE, FRS, (1927–2010), an internationally acclaimed analytical chemist, went to school at Tain Royal Academy.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Tain para niños

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