A group of Scotland's most influential clan chiefs will declare their neutrality over independence this week.
The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs (SCSC) will tomorrow make it "clear" that it will not endorse either side before the September 18 vote.
Its decision to remain neutral is significant given the organisation's link to Scotland's national identity.
It is understood their statement will form part of welcoming celebrations for the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Scottish clans will gather at Stirling, in central Scotland, this month for the two-day Bannockburn Live event, a major part of Alex Salmond's "Homecoming" drive.
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SCSC, which is headed by Sir Malcolm MacGregor, the 24th chief of the MacGregor clan, represents the majority of the country's clans, including key names such as the Camerons, Campbells and MacGregors.
The Scottish independence debate has become fraught that arguments about the outcome are pulling some families apart, new research suggests.
Nearly half (42 per cent) of all Scottish families are divided on whether the country should become independent, a new poll has revealed.
The ICM poll also found that 21 per cent admitted that discussions about how they should vote in the independence referendum had degenerated into rows with relatives.
- additional reporting Independent