MacIain of Glencoe
A Grand Old Bird (also pictured Golden Eagle)
Some years ago I saw a wonderful short film of a Golden Eagle soaring above Glencoe. It was to represent the spirit of MacIain the Chief of Clan MacDonald at the time of the Glencoe Massacre. Legend has it his spirit haunts the Glen in the form of a Golden Eagle
The haunting music which accompanied it was by Moira Kerr and this is a wonderful song.When Moira was a bit younger I remember her being photographed in a Dumbarton strip so she can't be all bad!
Edit: Moira has been in touch to remind me to link this article to http://www.moirakerr.com/ which I'm delighted to do.
Thanks to http://www.glencoescotland.com/p/v/history/ for the following concise account of the events of and those leading to the massacre:
King William III in London offered a pardon to all Highland clans who had fought against him or raided their neighbours. But it was on the condition that they took the oath of allegiance before a magistrate by 1st January 1692. The alternative for failing to comply was death. MacDonald Clan Chief, MacIain of Glencoe, reluctantly agreed to take the oath, but mistakenly went to Inverlochy in Fort William instead of Inveraray near Oban. He finally reached Inveraray on January 6th, well after the deadline.
MacDonald naivley believed that, despite this delay in taking the oath, he and his clan were now safe. But unknown to him, a force had already been assembled at Inveraray and given orders to exterminate the whole clan. The force left for Glencoe on 1st February, led by Captain Robert Campbell of Glen Lyon, a man with a grudge against the MacDonalds. Campbell asked for quarters for his 130 soldiers and, unaware of what was planned, the poor MacDonalds entertained them for 10 days.
On the night of the 12th February, Campbell received orders to kill all MacDonalds under seventy years of age at 5 am the next morning. In the early hours of a cold winter's morning the soldiers rose from their beds and set about the massacre of their hosts, with whom they had been living on friendly terms. It was this act of treachery in response to hospitality that makes this massacre such a heinous crime. Although only forty were killed, many more escaped to the hills only to die of hunger and exposure.
The monument to the fallen MacDonalds is situated in the Glencoe village, and MacIain was buried on the island of Eilean Munde, in Loch Leven. Signal Rock, where the order was given to begin the massace stands just a few hundred yards west of the Clachaig Inn on the north bank of the River Coe.
Shortly after this period a new military road was built passing the eastern end of Glencoe, and in 1785 the first road was built through the glen itself. As with so many places in the Highlands, the 'Clearances' took their toll, and by the death of the 17th Chief, Ewen MacDonald, in 1837 the chieftainship of the MacDonalds had little meaning.
Ownership passed through several hands during the next century and in 1935, to prevent possible commercial exploitation, the National Trust for Scotland bought 12,800 acres of the glen. With the help of donations from a variety of sources, the Trust's holding has been extended over the years and today covers most of the glen from the edge of Rannoch Moor to the shores of Loch Leven.
More information on the Massacre of Glencoe can be found at www.electricscotland.com