The MacKenzie Gathering of 1743 was a large assemblage of MacKenzie clansmen that took place at Castle Leoch in May of 1743. The major happenings of the Gathering were the oath-taking, the tynchal, and the games.
While staying at Castle Leoch, Claire learns that she has arrived shortly before the MacKenzie clansmen are due to begin gathering at the castle to partake in the customary practices of such an event. In the days leading up to the oath-taking, men of the clan arrive at the castle with their families, and while the more prominent tacksmen and tenants stay within the castle itself, most of the attendees camp outside the castle proper in a fallow field. Tinkers and gypsies set up an impromptu fair near the bridge, selling their wares and trading in gossip.
At the oath-taking, the men of the clan stand before the clan chieftain, Colum MacKenzie, and pledge their fealty to him. Claire inadvertently forces Jamie, Colum's nephew, to confront the fact that, while his mother was a MacKenzie, he had not intended to swear an oath to Colum, fearing the repercussions of such a declaration: if he does swear an oath, he sets himself up as a potential future clan chieftain after Colum dies, a possibility that Dougal MacKenzie in particular would be only too willing to prevent by killing Jamie; if Jamie refuses to swear an oath, the clansmen would see it as a serious affront and likely kill him in their overwrought state. He manages to straddle the line, however, by pledging his friendship and obedience, bound by Colum's word as laird so long as he remains on MacKenzie lands.
The tynchal – a method of hunting that involves encircling an area and closing in to trap a quarry – takes places the next day, and a man is gored to death by a boar. Claire finds herself busy on the third day with treating wounds sustained during the games portion of the festivities.
- In the Outlander television adaptation, the Gathering takes place in the autumn, rather than spring.