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    The Massacre of Glencoe: 13 February 1692…

    Dear readers,

    The 13th February is a date marked in red ink (bloody red) on the Scottish calendar…  it’s a date to remember, and indeed it has been remembered again and again, the sad history being passed from generation to generation of Scottish people … they will never forget the innocent people who fell in Glencoe on that fateful day of 13 February 1692, killed when they were quietly asleep, after having shared their meals and played cards and music for several days with those who had come to kill them, young and old as well and with” a special care for the old fox”, MacIain MacDonald*, and his sons John and Alasdair! The official figure of the people killed is 38 though many more would have been killed if some of the soldiers had not tried to warn the villagers… but it was too late for some of them, even for the Chief, so strong a man that he seemed  invincible, and his lady who was cowardly hit and left agonizing outside in the snow. Very sadly too, on that freezing cold day,  many more died  trying to escape in the mountains.  How could the villagers have guessed such monstruosity, such barbary, such treason… no wonder the date has remained forever in the Scottish memories…

    *Alasdair Ruadh MacIain MacDonald, 12 th Chief of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe.(1630–1692)


    Glen Coe Mountains The Three Sisters © 2019 Scotiana

    “GLENCOE has no melancholy except that which men bring to it, remembering its history.”

    (Glencoe – John Prebble)

    There such beauty in the wild and solitary valley of Glencoe. No traveller can be indifferent to such grandiose beauty when he stops there, whatever the season and the weather.

    (the above picture was taken on New Year’s Eve in 2019)

    Glen Coe landscape with a foxglove © 2007 Scotiana

    Glencoe mountain path © 2007 Scotiana

    “Most folk will never see it. Most of the world will never even know its name, or write it – or if they do they will speak of its badnes, of its hurts, of its deaths and betrayal. They will say Glencoe ? There were murders there… and say nothing more, for what will they know? Not how, on summer days, the clouds moved their shadows along the valley floor, over the cows and the heather, over the lochs…

    Before it was bloodied, or snow-thick, Glencoe was lit by moon. It was quiet… It was cool air, with the sea’s breath. It had the thick, earthy smell of plants at night, and water, and water sounds…

    Can you see it? In your mind’s eye, which is our sharpest eye? A valley of such narrowness, and with such steep sides that it is like walking into a hand, half-closed. Some would say this frightened them – that it was a fist of rocks …

    Rocks and sky. They are small words. To say it was rocks and sky sounds like it wasn’t much. But it    was. Rocks can have a thousand colours in them – grey, brown, purple-grey, dark-blue. They can have moss and lichen on their sides, and heather, and birch tees, and waterfalls, and marks where waterfalls have been. There can be caves and loose rocks which tumble, and deer treading neatly, and a perched bird.”

    (From Corrag by Susan Fletcher Harper Collins 2010)

    Glencoe The Three Sisters © 2019 Scotiana

    Glen Coe The Three Sisters map © 2019 Scotiana

    However, one of the saddest pages of Scottish history was written there on 13 February 1692…


    In 1691, in front of the resurgence of the Jacobite cause, King William III ordered all the clan chiefs to sign an oath of allegiance by 1st January 1692.  Maclain of Glencoe had been reluctant to sign it and he was the last one to decide he finally will. Convinced that the oath had to be signed at Fort William he found on arriving there that he had to go to Inveraray. Difficult travelling during a snowstorm and the absence of a sheriff in Inverary meant that Maclain did not sign the oath until 6th January 1692. Maclain returned to Glencoe believing his signature was accepted. It was however decided to punish Maclain…

    A terrible punishment it would be………..



    Murder under Trust Glencoe 1692 Donald J. MacDonald Robert Hale 1965

    “Slaughter under trust”…  the key to understand why the massacre still haunts the memories of the people of Scotland is to be found in these words “under trust”. Scotland has always been considered as a very hospitable country. So, the massacre of Glencoe can only appear to the people of Scotland as the crime of crimes. Of course, there were many other examples of massacres in Scotland, and elsewhere too, even of a greater scale, but this one appears to be particularly disgusting and cowardly. Shakespeare could not have found better subject to write a tragedy!

    The facts listed in the following chronology  are taken from Slaughter Under Trust – Glencoe 1692 by  Donald J. MacDonald  1965. It’s a very interesting book and, last by not least, it was written by a MacDonald…

    “The author of this book, Donald J. Macdonald, is a man dedicated to the service of his Clan. His direct ancestor, Macdonald of Castleton, took a leading part in the resounding Highland victory of Killiecrankie. For years he has laboured to keep alive among his fellow clansmen the memory of the old traditions and feelings of kinship that are the life-blood of a clan. He is thus well equipped to trace out the story of the long struglle between the Macdonalds and the Campbells which are so largely responsible for the tragedy of Glencoe (..)” (From I.F. Grant’s foreword to Slaughter Under Trust -Glencoe 1692)

    The map below has been taken from John Prebble’s Glencoe, one of my favourite books about the end of the clan system in the Scottish Highlands together with Culloden and The Highland Clearances.

    1st February…

    Map of Glencoe by John Prebble Glencoe 1966

    Map of Glencoe by John Prebble from his book “Glencoe” 1966

    On the above map we can’t see the burial isles where MacIain and his fellow clansmen were buried. They are situated on Loch Leven and can be seen from Ballachulish and Glencoe. Loch Leven flows into Loch Linnhe. It’s a lovely place. Next time we’ll take the drone! 😉

    Burial Isles Loch Leven Glencoe © 2019 Scotiana

    Burial Isles Loch Leven Glencoe © 2019 Scotiana

    So, below is a selection of some of the most striking facts related by  Donald J. MacDonald in his book.

    From 1st to 13 th February…

    • It is reported to MacIain,  that a company of soldiers is marching along the shore road from Ballachulish towards the mouth of the Glen. ( about 1st February)
    • MacIain sends words to his clansmen to hide their weapons and calls his sons, John and Alasdair,  to his side.
    • It is decided that John and Alasdair will take a party of twenty men and meet the troops to find out their intentions. They soon realize it is a company of Argyll’s Regiment with a Captain, a Lieutenant and an Ensign at their head…
    • John and Alasdair recognize the Captain commanding the company: Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, the uncle of Alasdair’s wife. With Glenlyon marched his two subalterns, Lieutenant Lindsay and Ensign Lundie.
    • The soldiers were not all Highlanders and there was a good number of Campbells or their associated clans. The rest bear Lowland names, and a very important one, was Sergeant Barbour, an Englishman.
    • John and Alasdair MacIain greeted Glenlyon politely and asked him his business. Glenlyon was very cordial and almost apologetic. Calling up his lieutenant he asked him for the written orders he had received from his commander. They were billeting orders commanding the MacIains to house and feed the company, as there was no room for them in the fort of Inverlochy. An additional reason given was that they had come to collect arrears of cess and hearth money, a new tax imposed in 1690. The three officers gave their paroles of honour that they came with no hostile intentions.

    Portrait of captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon (1630-1696)

    “Not too pleased to have a Campbell coming to their glen,

    they nonetheless were somewhat relieved  that he was at any rate a connection by marriage, even if not a blood relation.

    Surely he could mean no harm”.

    • In spite of the obvious inconvenience of having a company of hungry soldiers to house and feed in a glen already quite densely populated, and with their supplies of winter food running low daily, the young men told Glenlyon he was welcome and his party would have hospitality for as long as they had to stay.
    • No troops had been billeted on MacIain and his lady.
    • MacIain’s main house was at Carnoch… the elder son, John, was in this house at this time, and his brother not far away in Carnoch. The Chief must have been elsewhere.

    There are many sites which could correspond to the place where the Chief and his wife were murdered. Donald J. MacDonald thinks the site of their death was “in the main glen midway between Achnacon and Carnoch ; but exactly where it is now impossible to determine”.

     12 th February

    • “Evening came. Glenlyon and his officers had made their usual visits during the day to take the morning draught with MacIain and his sons. They had accepted the Chief’s invitation to dinner on the following night, and all seemed quite peaceful and friendly. The two young MacIains were at Inverigan spending the evening with Glenlyon playing cards. Between six and seven o’clock  a runner arrived with a despatch for Campbell :

    Duncanson to Glenlyon, 12 February 1692

    You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebels, the MacDonalds of Glencoe, and put all to the sword under seventy. You are to have a special care that the old fox and his sons do upon no account escape your hands. You are to secure all the avenues that no man escape. This you are to put in execution at five of the clock precisely; and by that time, or very shortly after it, I will strive to be at you with a stronger party. If I don not come to you at five, you are not to tarry for me, but to fall on. This is by the King’s special commandes, for the good and safety of the Countrey, that these miscreants be cut off root and branch. See that this be put in execution without fear or favour, or you may expect to be dealt with as one not true to King or Government, nor a man fit to carry a commission in the King’s service. Expecting you will not fail in the fulfilling hereof, as you love yourself, I subscribe this at Ballychyllis, the 12 Feby.1692

    Robert Duncanson.

    • It could be seen at once by his face that Glenlyon was taken aback by this interruption… he made the excuse that there was trouble up the way of Glengarry and he had been called out, to prepare to move… he could hardly continue to play a game of cards with his intended victims and a letter like that lying in his pocket. (!!)
    • His officers took their orders without question.
    • Although great secrecy was kept until the last possible moment in giving out the orders to the soldier, some of them must have heard rumours even before the despatch came in that mysterious way in which news travels throught an army. They seemed gloomy and depressed.

    There are a number of stories showing that some of the soldiers were appalled by what their officers were asking them…

    “During the day one of the soldiers was out in a  field where some men were working near Inverigan and was heard to address a great stone in the field with the words “Ah! Great stone of the Glen. If you knew whas is to happen tonight, you would not be lying so peaceful there!” The soldier seemed to wish the men nearby to hear his words; and at any rate a small boy did hear and reported them to Alasdair Og and his wife. The stone is still shown in a field on the left of the road as one goes up towards Inverigan, but it is now much sunk into the ground.”

    • By ten o’clock the Glen was asleep, except for the soldiers…
    • The night was dark, and more snow was falling developing into a blizzard with a bitter wind from the north. Movement was thus difficult but could be made secretly. The vital points of Carnoch, Inverigan and Achnacon were well covered by the doubled guards and others…

    13 th February

    • The hour fixed for the onslaught was five o’clock, and just before that time a servant rushed into the house and told Alasdair that soldiers were approaching with fixed bayonets. He waited no longer. He and his wife fled, meeting his brother on the way. Together they collected as many of their people as they could and made for the slopes of Meall Mor. On their way they narrowly escaped running into a party of soldiers coming from the Ballachulish road…
    • As they climbed along the slopes of Meall Mor they heard the fusillades at Carnoch, Inverigan and Achnacon. These same fusillades warned many of the outlying hamlets before the soldiers allotted the task of attacking them could get to the spot. It was a tactical error to use muskets, as from the time of the first shots the whole Glen was on the alert. Then, as the flames fo the burning houses lit up the sky, the young men knew that their only course now was to gather as many of the survivors as possible and organize an escape.
    • Meantime MacIain and his wife were in bed when a knock came at the door. They replied and a servant asked who was there. A friendly voice which they recognized as Lindsay’s answered that they had urgent business. The servant opened the door and Lindsay and the ensign rushed in and entered the bedroom. MacIain greeted them warmly; and calling to the servant to serve drinsks to their guests, he began to dress. His back was to the visitors as he pulled on his trews. Before he could turn round and face them, they both shot him – one throught the back and the other through the head. He died instantly and fell by his bedside. Meantime his lady cried out and made to help her husband; but she was seized and treated in a shameful manner… she managed to join a party of some of the refugees, but died of her injuries the following day. The servant was murdered and an old man of eighty who was there…

    Glencoe Falls © 2006 Scotiana

    • Meantime Hamilton with his company had been struggling over the Staircase. The change in the weather, unforeseen when the operation was planned, hampered him badly. This old military road leaves Kinlochleven and winds round the shoulders of hills and through streams up to a summit of 1,850 feet, then for the last mile and a half drops steeply down the “staircase” to Alltnafeadh at the headwaters of the Etive Rive and a mile or so  from the watershed at the east end of Glencoe. The distance is in all five and a half rough miles, difficult at the best of times, but, on a February morning in a blizzard, pretty fair hell.
    • Hamilton arrived at last in the Glen below the watershed about nine o’clock and found no one there but one shepherd, and old man of eighty, one of Achtriochtan’s men, whom he killed at once. The rest had fled long before and were making their way over the Lairig Eilde to Dalness. It was at this point that two officers refused to go on with the business, sickened by the murder of the octogenarian. These were Lieutenants Francis Farquhar and Gilbert Kennedy. They were immediately put under close arrest, and later sent to Glasgow.
    • Finding no corpses on his way down the Glen, by the time he met the disconsolate group of officers at Inverigan, Hamilton was furious and was in no mood to listen to Glenlyon’s excuses…
    • When everything possible had been done, and the corpses counted, it was found that in all 38 persons had been killed. The rest, the great majority, had vanished. The stock was collected to the number of 900 heads of cattle, 200 horses, and a great number of sheep and goats, and got ready for their departure.


    Inverrigan nine commemorative trees © 2006 Scotiana

    At Inverigan : nine commemorative Scots pine trees have been planted in memory of the villagers who were killed there …

    Inverrigan little wooden cross © 2006 Scotiana

    “At Inverigan where Captain Campell had his quarters (next to what is now the Trust campsite), eight or nine MacDonalds were tied up and shot. (Nine trees were later planted there to commemorate them. At Invercoe, one man was shot crossing the river. At Carnoch, where the chief had his house, the old man was shot as he got out of his bed and his wife had her clothes and rings stripped from her. At Achnacon several more were killed, including an old man of eighty and a child. At Achtriochtan, the community where the clan bards used to live a further group was killed.

    In all about 38 were killed but at least 300 escaped into the hills.”

    (From “Glencoe”, the National Trust for Scotland brochure)


    Inverigan ruined houses © 2006 Scotiana


    The information board at this site reads: “These ruins are all that remain of Inverigan House, built in the late 1800s. But before then an earlier house stood here which bore witness to the awful events of the Glencoe Massacre on 13th February 1692. In total 38 men, women and children, all MacDonalds, were murdered in cold blood by troops carrying out government orders. Many more died trying to escape into the freezing winter mountains.”

    “The nine Scots pine trees planted around the ruins commemorate the nine people who died here during the Massacre. But local folklore tells of a tenth person, a young boy, who survived”.

    “On hearing the child’s cries, the commanding officer sent a soldier back to the house to kill the boy. But face-to-face with the terrified child, he could not bring himself to carry out the act, and instead he cut off the child’s little finger, smearing his sword with blood to fool his officer that the deed had been done.”

    “The story goes that years later, at an inn not far from here, the same soldier recounted the story of the boy at Inverigan and expressed his guilt for the Massacre. The innkeeper turned to him, held up his hand with its little finger missing and told him he need not feel guilty for the soldier had saved his life.”


    Glen Coe Achtriochtan ruined houses 2012 © Scotiana

    Time has passed in the marysed valley of Glencoe since that fateful day of 13 February 1692…  old houses burnt, new houses built and ruined again… there is much interesting work for the archaeologists of our time to find out new facts… more information about what really happened there…


    Glencoe John Prebble

    Glencoe John Prebble Penguin Books 1966

    John Prebble’s Glencoe is one of my favourite books about the Massacre of Glencoe and also one of my favourite authors.  He also wrote The Highland Clearances and Culloden to mention only two books which are often associated in a trilogy with Glencoe. On Glencoe‘s cover figures James Hamilton’s famous painting “The Massacre of Glencoe”.

    The Massacre of Glencoe James Hamilton 1883-1886 Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

    The Massacre of Glencoe took place on 13 February 1692, when government troops slaughtered 38 members of the Clan MacDonald in their homes. Some survivors managed to avoid the attack, as shown in the painting, and attempted to escape through the snow. This is a typical Scottish Victorian ‘costume piece’, or historical painting, of a shameful incident from national history.

    Painted nearly 200 years after the event, the painting is not an accurate record of what happened. Nevertheless, it has been used frequently to illustrate this notorious act of treachery; no other depiction has greater impact. (Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum)

    After the Massacre of Glencoe oil on canvas by Peter Graham 1889

    There is another famous painting of the Massacre of Glencoe.

    The Scottish artist Peter Graham rose to fame in London for painting mist-steeped evocations of his homeland. According to an English critic, writing in 1899, Graham ‘brought home to the toilers in the cities aspects of the Highlands which had never before been depicted in paint, and with which the vast majority of people of this country were unfamiliar’. In this spectacular, brooding painting, the artist dwells upon an appalling Scottish national tragedy, the culmination of a long and complex betrayal of the MacDonald clan by members of the Campbell clan, acting in concert with Sir John Dalrymple, the Scottish Secretary.

    At 5.00 a.m. on 13 February 1692 the royal forces of William III – all of whom, under the false pretence of collecting taxes, had been billeted with the citizens of the idyllic valley of Glencoe – rose against their MacDonald hosts to execute a ‘secret and sudden’ massacre. The royal troops were instructed to ‘put all to the sword under seventy’, and after doing so they burned Glencoe’s villages to the ground. After the Massacre of Glencoe depicts a few straggling survivors of this carnage, climbing to safety into the breathtakingly beautiful hills above their torched homes. An emotional tension holds Graham’s painting taut, reflecting the artist’s awareness of the incompatibility between the sublime grandeur of Glencoe as a physical locale and the memory of the gruesome and horrific events that took place there.

    Text by Dr Ted Gott from 19th century painting and sculpture in the international collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2003, p.93.

    Some time ago, as I had just published my last post about Sir Walter Scott and was about to go through my notes about the Massacre of Glencoe, I suddenly began to wonder if Sir Walter could have written something about the subject. And guess what ! I fell upon the poem entitled “On the Massacre of Glencoe, 1692″… Here it is !

    On the Massacre of Glencoe, 1692

    ” O, tell me, Harper, wherefore flow
    Thy wayward notes of wail and woe
    Far down the desert of Glencoe,
    Where none may list their melody?
    Say, harp’st thou to the mists that fly,
    Or to the dun-deer glancing by,
    Or to the eagle that from high
    Screams chorus to thy minstrelsy?”
    ” No, not to these, for they have rest, —
    The mist-wreath has the mountain-crest,
    The stag his lair, the erne her nest,
    Abode of lone security.
    But those for whom I pour the lay,
    Not wild-wood deep nor mountain gray,
    Not this deep dell that shrouds from day,
    Could screen from treacherous cruelty.
    ” Their flag was furled and mute their drum,
    The very household dogs were dumb,
    Unwont to bay at guests that come
    In guise of hospitality.
    His blithest notes the piper plied,
    Her gayest snood the maiden tied,
    The dame her distaff flung aside
    To tend her kindly housewifery.
    .” The hand that mingled in the meal
    At midnight drew the felon steel,
    And gave the host’s kind breast to feel
    Meed for his hospitality!
    The friendly hearth which warmed that hand
    At midnight armed it with the brand
    That bade destruction’s flames expand
    Their red and fearful blazonry.
    ” Then woman’s shriek was heard in vain,
    Nor infancy’s unpitied plain,
    More than the warrior’s groan, could gain
    Respite from ruthless butchery!
    The winter wind that whistled shrill,
    The snows that night that cloked the hill,
    Though wild and pitiless, had still
    Far more than Southern clemency.
    ” Long have my harp’s best notes been gone,
    Few are its strings and faint their tone,
    They can but sound in desert lone
    Their gray-haired master’s misery.
    Were each gray hair a minstrel string,
    Each chord should imprecations fling,
    Till startled Scotland loud should ring,
    ” Revenge for blood and treachery! “
    Today, I’ve just made another discovery. This poem was set to music by Ludwig van Beethoven born,  only a few months before Sir Walter, on 15 December 1770!
    “The dramatic events in Glencoe formed the basis of many literary plots centered around betrayal and also received a number of musical interpretations, including one particularly outstanding song, the music for which was arranged by Beethoven, and the lyrics were written by Walter Scott.”
    Listen to Beethoven’s The Massacre of Glencoe performed by Robert White, Yo-Yo Ma, Ani Kavafian, and Samuel Sanders:
    “This unexpected collaboration came about thanks to the efforts of George Thomson, a Scottish folk song collector who commissioned famous composers, including Haydn and Beethoven, to arrange some melodies from his collection for piano, violin, and cello so that they could be performed by family ensembles. Subsequently, Thomson decided that such outstanding scores needed professional lyrics and asked his fellow countrymen Robert Burns and Walter Scott to adapt folk poetry to new arrangements.”
    Glencoe MacDonalds monument © 2004 Scotiana

    Glencoe MacDonalds monument © 2004 Scotiana


    Glencoe MacDonalds clan memorial © 2004 Scotiana

    Glencoe MacDonalds clan memorial © 2004

    A nearby plaque reads :

    “On the morning of 13th February 1692, thirty eight MacDonald’s of Glencoe were massacred in this area on the orders of King William III and carried out by government forces led by Robert Campbell of Glenlyon. On 12th February 1992, a major site restoration project was officially re-opened by Mr Ellice McDonald Jnr, CBE of USA, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Clan Donald Lands Trust and a direct descendant of a Glencoe MacDonald.

    The project was managed by the Clan Donald Lands Trust from a design by William Tucker Association Edinburgh. The main contractor was Corrie Construction of Spean Bridge with landscaping by Blarour Nursery of Spean Bridge. Support for the work was received from the following organisations, to whom we owe a great deal of thanks.

    Glencoe Foundation Inc USA, The Countryside Commission Scotland, Lochaber District Council, Highland Regional Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise”.

    On the road to Glencoe – A82 2000 © 2000 Scotiana

    We first stopped in the mountains of  Glen Coe in 2000, during our first journey in Scotland. We were driving northward and had rented a room for the night in a B&B in Fort William. The weather was bad, the landscape was gloomy and the road dangerous,  when suddenly I said to my husband: “Stop ! Arrête-toi… ” There was a small car park, nearly empty (which is quite rare as we have experienced since).  So, there we stopped. And I stopped breathing  for the view was breathtaking… absolutely breathtaking… in spite and maybe because of the bad weather. The landscape was grandiose. I could not say a word, subjugated… no place I’ve ever gone had made such strong impression on me…. and I did feel something strange there, in front of the mountains, a feeling I couldn’t explain and which has never ceased to haunt me since. I knew, we knew nothing about the place then, nothing about its terrible history, nothing about the village of Glencoe where, indeed, we had not intended to stay. Now we can’t travel around Scotland without stopping there for a few days.

    And the famous A 82 … we know it better now that Iain and Margaret have warned us about its dangers ;-).

    Glen Coe valley © 2000 Scotiana


    Glencoe - Lights in the night © 2020 Scotiana

    Glencoe – Lights in the night © 2020 Scotiana

    The last time we went to Glencoe was for the New Year’s holiday in 2019-2020. It was the first time we went to Scotland in winter and we had passed Christmas in Edinburgh and a few unforgettable days at Thirlestane Castle with Iain and Margaret. On New Year’s Eve we walked down Glencoe valley to light a few candles in memory of the MacDonalds who had been killed on 13 February 1692. It was dark but not so cold and we tried to imagine what it could have been to escape in the mountains in an icy cold day of February and when it was snowing…

    Scotland in winter - candles in memory of the MacDonalds of Glencoe © 2020 Scotiana

    Scotland in winter – candles in memory of the MacDonalds of Glencoe © 2020 Scotiana

    In the mountains of Glencoe with the mascots © 2019 Scotiana

    We went there again and again, with our children, with Janice and guess what,  I’m in love with Glencoe, more than ever. Á quand le prochain départ ?

    Hoping to have made you want to go to Glencoe, I invite you to a virtual journey there through the following great videos. Enjoy!

    Á bientôt. Mairiuna.

    A short flight over to Eilean Munde, one of the islands in Loch Leven. Often referred to as the Burial Isle, it was used as a burial site by MacInneses, MacDonalds, Camerons, and Stewarts, as well as others from the Glencoe area. It is said that Alasdair MacDonald (MacIain of Glencoe) was buried here after the Glencoe massacre of 1692. The Glencoe Heritage Trust currently shares ownership of the island. Alexander MacDonald, son of the Trust’s founder has documented the gravestone inscriptions and produced a book of them called ‘Tombstone Inscriptions on Eilean Munde, the Burial Isle’. (Glencoe Heritage Trust – You Tube Video)

    Hugh Mackenzie, piper to Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, is said to have tried to let the Glencoe people know what was about to happen; on the evening of the 12th, he stood on the Henderson Stone and played a lament called ‘Women of the Glen’ on his bagpipes, knowing that the Macdonalds could take this as a warning of something terrible about to happen.

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