Scotland Travel

Groam House Museum

Groam House Museum is a small, free museum, just 30 minutes from Inverness. I was eager to visit this museum because it houses some impressive Pictish stones. Before leaving for Scotland I didn’t have time to read about the Picts, so I was ready to discover their story. At Groam House we’ve had one of the best experiences in a museum. Maybe because of its small size and remote location, but surely because the museum guide was so happy to see us and told us a lot about the museum and the Picts.

Groam House Museum. Outside

Groam House Museum opened its doors in 1989. I share a few highlights from the museum. Also, they held lectures throughout the year, for a small fee of £6.

The Picts were native to eastern Scotland, while the Scots arrived from Ireland to settle in the western parts. As the Vikings attacked and plundered the eastern coast, the Picts suffered heavy losses of both life and property. So, alliances with the Scots would be natural, until the Picts were virtually wiped out by the Vikings. The Scots would take over the eastern part of Scotland and the Pictish way of live and culture would disappear. It’s quite remarkable that these things happened 1,200 years ago. I had no idea these things happened so recently. I have a book by Plato in my library, that was published 1,100 before the Pictish culture died out, and we don’t have any records or knowledge about them.

Groam House Museum. Pictish stone on display

This large stone was carved in the 8th century. Its patterns are lovely, it looks so intricate. On the other side there is a Christian cross, the one you can see in the next picture.

Groam House Museum. Pictish stone on display. Other side

Carpet on display at Groam House Museum

This is a fabric hanging made by Marianna Lines in the 1980s. Using natural pigments, she has recreated the design of the Pictish stone on fabric. Now is not permitted to make rubbings of any historic stones.

Pictish stones at Groam House Museum

These stones are sculpted with tales, like the one of damnation with a human being attacked by three different beasts. Two stones are part of a tomb or a decorative wall from a church. We don’t know if these patterns had a meaning or not.

On the first floor of the museum there is a collection of artworks made by George Bain. He was inspired by Celtic design and created some beautiful pieces of artwork. On the ground floor there are more Pictish stones. There is also a gift shop with relevant books, if you are interested in learning more about the Picts.


Fortrose is a small town, worth a visit. It was a bit chilli when we visited and we had other plans for the afternoon, so we missed the ruins of the cathedral. I’d love to visit the town again and see the cathedral too.

Pub in Fortrose

Seaside at Fortrose

Wave at Fortrose

Groam House Museum is on the High St, Rosemarkie, Fortrose, IV10 8UF. There is a car park nearby.

5 Comment

  1. I’ve never heard of the Picts. The stones are fascinating and I’m so glad some are recovered. I love small museums with smart, enthusiastic guides. Such fun. And the town looks wonderful too!

  2. Oh wow how fascinating. I’ve never heard of the Picts before. I’ll have to read up about them. I do like the stones.

  3. A gem of a museum, with fascinating artefacts. I remember reading as a child R.L. Stevenson’s poem Heather Ale (there was also a beautiful animation), and trying to find some books about Picts, not that I was able to discover much then.
    Love your Scottish trip stories, with the culture and history insights.

  4. How nice to get such personalized attention at the museum. I don’t think I realized how recently the picts disappeared, either. It all sounds fascinating.

    I hope you return, too. I always enjoy seeing ruins whether they be cathedral/church, castle, or monastery.

  5. These stones are amazing. At least some have been recovered and now available for viewing. Fortrose looks so charming. Beautiful coastal photos.

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