During their long history this Sutherland clan has played a leading part in the affairs of the north. They claim descent from the Royal House of NacEth, Mormaers of Moray. Their first Sutherland lands were at Durness, but by the 16th century they owned large areas of that county. They were numerous and warlike and were almost continually engaged in feuds with their neighbours, particularly the Sutherlands. Sir Donald MacKay of Farr, in 1626, raised 3,000 of his clansmen to fight during the wars of Gustavus Adolphus. Sir Donald was raised to the peerage as Lord Reay in 1628. The MacKay estates were sold to the House of Sutherland at the beginning of the 19th century.