50th anniversary

A half century of Clan Donald Lands Trust

During 2021-22 we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Clan Donald Lands Trust, the charitable trust that cares for Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum and the wider estate.

It was on 31 July 1971 that CDLT officially acquired the 20,000 acre Armadale estate. The former home of the Macdonald clan chiefs had come up for sale earlier in the year, following the death of Alexander Godfrey Macdonald, 7th Lord Macdonald. Clan members worldwide founded the Trust in order to purchase some of the last remaining lands in Clan Donald ownership and preserve this very special place for everyone to enjoy.

A cornerstone of the Trust’s mission is to conserve and promote the culture and history of the Highland clans, and Clan Donald in particular. Over the past half century this has involved a huge array of projects and activities including restoring the historic gardens, opening an award-winning museum, establishing a world-renowned programme of Gaelic performing arts competitions, and welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe to the ‘spiritual home of Clan Donald’.  To find out more visit our CDLT – The First Five Decades page.

To celebrate our significant anniversary, over the coming year we will be looking back through our archives and sharing some of our favourite moments. Look out for our #CDLT50 #fromthearchives posts on social media. We are also marking the anniversary through our Trees for the Future programme, where we are planting the next generation of trees at Armadale through a collaboration with the International Conifer Conservation Programme.

During 2022, a special exhibition and events programme will celebrate Armadale Castle past, present and future. We will be sharing stories from people from all walks of life who have been involved in Armadale over the years. Our museum exhibition will focus on the castle in its heyday and shine a spotlight on some of those who have worked here – from Victorian gardeners to the castle’s last housekeeper. We’ll also be inviting people to share with us their own stories and memories.

To find out about the very early days of the Trust download Godfrey, Lord Macdonald’s recollections, ‘CDLT – the first steps’, on this page.