You are here:

Scottish Culture/Definition: "Tulach Ard"


The battle cry on "Outlander" is "Tulach Ard".  You stated in one of your earlier posts that the term is the name of a mountain in Scotland.  Does it signify anything else, since it is what is shouted when they do battle with the red coats in the story?

Dear Dorothy

While I watch loads of tv, I haven't watched Outlander, so forgive my ignorance. I had a quick look on IMDB and got the bare outline.
So ... Tulach ard. This is the slogan or war cry of the Mackenzies. Tulach Ard roughly translates as 'the high hillock' and it is in the Mackenzie heartland of Kintail. The particular hill does have another name which is mentioned here -

If any of the characters have a Mackenzie link (or even a clan Sept link) then it would make sense. Otherwise, it might be a random decision made by the programme writers etc. and they don't always do their homework: a classic example being the reference to lemurs in Tibet in 'Once Upon a Time' (August talking to Ruby)- lemurs only live in Madagascar.

I hope this helps, even a little - and enjoy your show!

All things good


Scottish Culture

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Kaye McAlpine


Lifecycle (birth, marriage, death) customs in Scotland, Early Modern Scottish social customs, modern Scottish social customs, Border March laws and procedures, criminal processes and judicial execution practices, social history in Early Modern Scotland, ephemera printing in Scotland. While I have some knowledge of the clan system and function of the clan society (Highland and Lowland), I am not a an expert in clan genealogy. Having traced back my own family over a couple of centuries, and traced others due to academic research, I do know how the system works, however. This doesn't mean that I'm a genealogist. Please note that I do not speak Gaelic.


Research Fellow (University of Edinburgh). Contributer to various books and journals on ballads, including Scottish Life and Society: A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, The Ballad and History and The Harris Repertoire. Freelance tutor in outreach courses from Edinburgh University on Scottish Culture and Tradition, including lifecycle customs, broadsheet ballads in Scotland, the traditional ballad and history. Freelance writer, guest presenter on Ch4 History Hunters programme, contributor to BBC Radio Scotland's 'Songlines' series on 'The Dowie Dens of Yarrow'. Currently co-director of a media production company

Books: Forthcoming: The Gallows and The Stake Published: Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, vol. 10, chapter on The Traditional and the Border Ballad; The Harris Repertoire (2000, Scottish Text Society, co-editor), The Ballad in History (chapter on Border ballads). Journals include Folklore, The Review of Scottish Culture,Sottish Studies, and The Scottish Literary Journal

Ph D, M. Phil, BA (hons)

©2016 All rights reserved.