Chief of Clan MacKenzie

Rt. Hon. John Ruaridh MacKenzie of Kintail, Earl of Cromartie, Baron Macleod of Castle Leod, Baron Castlehaven of Castlehaven.

Chief of Clan Mackenzie since 1989. "Cabarfeidh".

Son of Roderick and Olga, born in 1948. He spent some of his early life in London but school holidays were spent at Castle Leod with his father.

As well as his interest in running the 2000 acre Estate, he is a geologist. John gives his support to the Highlands and Islands Alliance and is behind the idea to create a Highlands and Islands University.

A climber since the age of thirteen, he is a member of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and a water colour painter. He supports the 'Right to Roam' movement currently under review in Scotland and is at present working to refurbish the old Castle, on the outskirts of Strathpeffer where the house additions to the original tower building were done in the 1700s.

Son Colin was born September 7th. 1987 and Alastair born December 6th. 1989.

His lineage and Blazon of Arms is shown on the UK Clan Mackenzie website.


"Cabarfeidh" (Gaelic: Stag's Antlers) is the traditional title for the Chief of Clan Mackenzie.

According to legend, in 1263 Colin MacCoinneach (also known as Colin Fitzgerald) saved King Alexander III from a charging stag whilst hunting. Some accounts have him killing it with an arrow, others with a spear. For this, and for victory at Largs against the Danes, he was awarded the lands of Kintail, the free Barony of Kintail, and the arms of a golden stags head.

The stag's head has been a badge of the Mackenzies ever since, along with the motto "Cuidich 'N Righ" (Gaelic: Help/Save the King).

A painting in the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh depicts this event. 'The Fury of the Stag' by Benjamin West (1738 - 1820) is also famous for being the largest painting in the museum's collection, at over 3.5 x 5 m. In March 2010 it was the centrepiece of a fundraising event by Dalmore Whisky to help with the restoration of Castle Leod. More details here.

This motto and badge are also used by the Seaforth Highlanders regiment at Fort George. There is much of interest to Mackenzies at Fort George, and their museum is well worth a visit.


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