Clan Donald Muster in Glencoe by Norman H. MacDonald, Edinburgh.

When it became known that John H. Macdonald would be coming over from Canada to report on the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh for his paper, “The Toronto Star”, a small body of devoted clansmen decided that the visitor should be given a true Highland welcome in the land of his forefathers.

John, who is National Secretary of the recently formed National Council of Clan Donald in Canada, of which he is founder, brought his wife, Larri, with him to Scotland. The couple were invited to attend a small gathering of clansfolk in Glen Coe, on Saturday 8th August 1970, before their return to Canada.

Glen Coe has a special place in the heart of every MacDonald and is especially cherished by John H. MacDonald, as his direct ancestor, some eight generations back, Ewen by name, was carried out of the glen in the arms of his grandfather on the night of the Massacre on 13th February 1692.

As the date fixed for the rendezvous approached and the news spread, more and more people expressed their desire to attend, until what had begun as a welcome for two distinguished clan members from Canada by a few clansfolk at home had snowballed into a Clan Donald rally.

Arrangements had to be made to accommodate the large company expected to attend, and these were left in the capable hands of Miss Barbara Fairweather of Invercoe House, an honorary life member of both the Edinburgh and Glasgow Clan Donald Societies, and Mrs Macdonald of Castleton.

The great day arrived and clansmen and their ladies began to gather at Invercoe from all directions. We were especially glad and honoured to welcome Brigadier Ian Stewart of Achnacone representing the Appin Stewarts who were such good neighbours to our kinsfolk in their dire straits in 1692! After being provided with coffee and refreshments, the company were welcomed officially by Donald J. Macdonald of Castleton, President of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh, and author of “Slaughter Under Trust”, who introduced Mr and Mrs John H. Macdonald and also Ranald Macdonald of Clanranald, who had motored up from London to be present. Apologies for absence were read on behalf of the Rt. Hon. Godfrey Macdonald of Macdonald, who was unable to attend on account of the serious illness of his father, Lord Macdonald; Sir Ian Macdonald of Sleat, who was on honeymoon; and Air Commodore Donald MacDonell of Glengarry, who was out of the country on business. Among those present were Charles A. MacDonald, President of the Clan Donald Society of Aberdeen, Hamish MacDonald, Vice President of the Clan Donald Society of Glasgow, and Mrs Tibbet, a direct descendant of Napoleon’s famous Marshal, Jacques Etienne MacDonald, Duke of Tarentum. The personal banners of the Chiefs of Clanranald and Glengarry were displayed at Invercoe House, which is thought to stand on the site of MacIain’s residence at the time of the Forty-Five.

The company then visited the Glencoe and North Lorn Folk Museum, of which Miss Barbara Fairweather is curator, and later travelled by motor cars to Glen Leac na Muidhe for a short visit to the mountain sheep farm of the Hon. Donald and Mrs Moncrieffe and also to the site of MacIain’s summer residence. The Hon. Mrs Moncrieffe is a Clan Ranald lady.

On returning to the village, the party assembled at Carnoch and marched to the Memorial to those who died in the Massacre where a short ceremony took place. An address was delivered by the Chief of Clanranald, who emphasised the importance of clan meetings in the Highlands and the need for a permanent home somewhere in the territories of Can Donald. It was necessary “to raise the umbrella and draw the Clan in” and the Chief proposed that in future an annual gathering be held.

A reply was made on behalf of the clan Donald Societies of Canada by John H. of Toronto. A ceilidh followed at Invercoe House, the programme of which was dominated by songs and stories of Clan Donald.

Later in the evening the younger members of the company were invited by Clanranald to a second ceilidh at Clachaig Inn, the proprietor of which is Rory MacDonald, of the Cranachan family, a cadet of Keppoch. Once more the music of Clan Donald was in evidence and Mac ‘ic Ailein (Clanranald) delighted the audience by singing a port-a-beul in faultless Gaelic. The entertainment lasted well into the sma’ hours.

Votes of thanks were given to Miss Barbara Fairweather for placing her beautiful home at our disposal for the Rally and to Mrs Donald J. Macdonald of Castleton and other ladies for their untiring efforts in providing such excellent fare, which contributed so much to making the rally an enormous success.

The result of this first Clan Donald Rally has given rise to so much enthusiasm among many of those who attended, that the suggestion of the Chief of Clanranald for an annual gathering is to become a reality.

The next Clan Donald Rally will tale place in Glen Coe on Saturday 19th June 1971, starting at 11am, when it is hoped that at least four Chiefs of the Clan will attend. The Glasgow Society is already planning to combine the Rally with their annual outing and expect to bring a party of 40 members.

Members interested in attending please notify the President of the Edinburgh Society or Miss Barbara Fairweather of Invercoe House before the 12th June.