The Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh Annual Gathering 1986

The  Annual Gathering of the Society took place, as planned, on Saturday, 1st November, in the Roxburghe Hotel, Edinburgh, and with an increased attendance compared with the previous year, proved to be a highly successful event. While it was regretted that Glengarry, who was indisposed, and Clanranald, for business reasons, had to call off at short notice, the head table was graced by Sir Ian Macdonald of Sleat and Ranald Og Angus Macdonald, Yr. of Clanranald and his young lady friend Miss Kate Rankine. The Chief, principal office-bearers and guests were piped into the dining room by Jim Hood, kindly deputising for Tom Speirs who was unavailable, to the quick march “Pibroch o’ Donuil Dubh”. The President, Donald M. Macdonald, invited his counterpart of the Clan Donald Society of Glasgow, William B. MacDonald, who was accompanied by his wife Ruth, to say grace, after which he welcomed the company and read apologies for absence from Lord Macdonald, Glengarry, Clanranald, Ellice McDonald, Jr., Mrs Donald J. Macdonald of Castleton, Air Vice Marshal Calum Macdonald of Tormore, Rob McDonald Parker, Angus Macdonald (Glasgow), Ronald Kelly (London) and their ladies, Roger Aldridge (Preston), Mrs. May Bannerman (Glasgow), Ian Hutcheson (Edinburgh), Miss Helen Macdonald (Edinburgh) and Mr. and Mrs. Ian M. Martin (Sunderland).

After dinner Jim Hood gave a fine rendering of the piobaireachd Lament for Donald of Laggan, by Patrick Mor MacCrimmon, which has been described as “a masterpiece in miniature” by the greatest of all pipers. The piece was composed to commemorate Donald Mac Angus, 8th Chief of Glengarry who was affectionately known as Donald of Laggan, no doubt on account of his having been fostered in that district, at the southern extremity of his family territory.

Donald, who died aged 102 on 2nd February, 1645, the same day that his Clan with Montrose won the second battle of Inverlochy for Charles I against the Campbells, had a daughter Isabella, who married Sir Rory Mor MacLeod of Dunvegan in 1598. She had been a maid of honour to Ann of Denmark, Queen of lames VI and was known in Skye as Iseabail Mhoir Nighean Mhic ‘ic Alasdair and according to tradition, after her father’s death she arranged for a MacCrimmon piper to play her to sleep each night with this tune. She lived to the age of 103.

The President then called on the Chief of Sleat to propose the toast to Clan Donald and the Edinburgh Society which, after a speech in which he updated the company on the activities of the various members of the family of Sleat at large, Sir Ian obliged.

The reply on behalf of the Clan and the Society was made by Norman H. MacDonald, Hon. Secretary, who recalled the importance of the Clan’s great past which he compared with its achievements in the present day. The reply on behalf of the guests was made by Young Clanranald who expressed his great pleasure in being again present at the Society’s Annual Gathering after an absence of one year and stressed the importance of the Clan Societies in keeping alive the traditions of the past.

During the dance which followed the President introduced the artistes who provided songs and music. Tom Selvester delighted the company with a selection of Scots airs on his fiddle. Morag McKenzie (contralto), who sang at the previous year’s Gathering, chose as her group of songs the ballad “Angus MacDonald”, which her fiancé Norman H. MacDonald observed, had been sung at the Society’s very first Gathering in 1891 and in Gaelic, from “Songs of the Hebrides” “An Triall-Bainnse – Benbecula Bridal Procession” which Miss McKenzie accompanied at the piano by Mrs May Macdonald, remarked had its origin in the land of Clanranald. Norman H. MacDonald followed with the 18th century Jacobite song “Bonnie Prince Charlie” (Cam Ye By Atholl) by James Hogg, “The Ettrick Shepherd” and the 18th century “Smeorach Chlann Domhnall” (The Mavis of Clan Donald) by John MacCodrum, Bard to Sir James MacDonald of Sleat.

Among those who attended the Gathering were Sir Ian Macdonald of Sleat, Ranald Og Angus Macdonald Yr. of Clanranald and Miss Kate Rankine, William MacDonald, President, Clan Donald Society of Glasgow and his wife Ruth, Donald M. Macdonald, President and his wife May, Norman H. MacDonald, Hon. Secretary and Miss Morag McKenzie, Mr. and Mrs. Alan McDonald, Mrs. Florence D.C. Macdonald and Miss Jessie Urquhart, Miss Mary McDonald, Mrs. Emily Galbraith, Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Ireson, Miss Ella McConnell, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Hood, Chev. and Mrs. Kenneth McL. Hay, Mr. and Mrs. Archie Murray, Mrs. Jean Macdonald, Mr. and Mrs. James S. MacDonald, Captain and Mrs. Tom Selvester, Dr. Hector Macdonald, Mr. and Mrs. Alastair Cherry, Mr. and Mrs. James Daly, Major and Mrs. Alan Donald, Mr. and Mrs. Norman A.M. Macdonald, Mr. and Mrs. Angus MacDonald, Mrs. Margaret M. Munn, Miss Elisabeth I. MacDonald, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Park, Frank Macdonnel Radcliffe, Pipe Major and Mrs. Bert Barron, Miss Moira McDonald, Mr. and Mrs. Brian McGhee, Atholl Hay and Miss Lynda Eva, Mrs Janet B. Hay, Miss Margaret Hendry and Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Lammond.