LIST OF OFFICERS      774
   CLAN HOUSE MUSEUM IN 1976      779
   1976 CLAN RALLY  781
   OBITUARY  806
Contributions and all Branch Reports for the 1978 Number should reach the Editor as early as possible and certainly not later than 31st December 1977 (See back cover for address).


No. 29


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        THE ANNUAL OF




The Chief

Hon. Vice-Presidents

Officers of the Association

62 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh EH9 2AD

1295Cumnock Cresent, Oakville, Ontrio, Canada

Hon. Secretary
39 SWANSTON AVENUE, Edinburgh, 10

Hon. Treasurer
MRS. EDITH McPHERSON, 62 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh EH9 2AD

Mrs D. MACPHERSON, Sunnybrae, Newton Terrace, Blairgowrie

EOIN MACPHERSON, FSASCOT, Clan House, Newtonmore, (Telephone 332)

Editorial Committee
A.C. MACPHERSON, M.A., LL.B (Editor),
119 Huron Avenue, Howden, Livingston EH54 6LQ
JOHN M. BARTON, W.S. (Secretary) and T.A.S. MACPHERSON, A.R.I.C.S. (Advertising)


Branch Representatives

2/1 Succoth Court, Edinburgh, 12

BADENOCHRUTH MACPHERSON, Killiecrankie, Perthshire
EOIN MACPHERSON, FRASCOT, Clan House, Newtonmore
Hilton, Inverness
Abbey, London SW19 2PG
1295 Cumnock Crescent, Oakville, Ontario
195 Waldencroft Avenue, Burlington, Ontario
1766 Herrity Lane, Ionia,
Michigan, 48846
Road, Altona North Victoria 3025
Miss A. H. MACPHERSON, 164 Lewis Street, Invercargill.


Piper                                                                                ROBERT PEARSON
Hon. Auditor                                                                                R. ROSS YOUNG



The Council appeals to members to support the Annual by contributing articles of historical, genealogical, or topographical interest, and by forwarding news of themselves and other clanmen, honours, appointments, etc. Photographs, prints, etc., of places or people and 'Letters to the Editor' on matters of Clan interst are also welcome.

All communications should be addressed to the Editor of Creag Dhubh, Archy Macpherson, M.A., LL.B., 119 Huron Avenue, Howden, Livingston EH54 6LQ, West Lothian, Scotland.

PLEASE NOTE -- In order to meet publications dates for the current year, it is essential that all matters for publication in Creag Dhubh be received not later than 31st December in each year.



This year I am pleased to be sending my warm greetings to all Clansmen and members of our Association earlier than usual. This is being done so that Creag Dhubh can be sent to you before May 1977, when the International Gathering will take place during the first fortnight of that month.

The Gathering will not detract from our own customary weekend Rally of 5 - 7 August 1977 which will of course take place as usual, and at which we always hope to see new as well as known faces and families. The intention in May will be to focus on the personal and family side and to take part in the events planned by the various district tourist boards. You will all be as relieved as I am to hear that there is to be no 'parading' of Chiefs or Clansmen, which I believe to be no part of the proper activity and role of Clans in this day.

The best side of all our Rallies is the meeting of those of us who are scattered, and the chance to exchange news and opinions with other members of the family which is the Clan.

In 1976 the Rally was particularly well attended, with strong representation from USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Two very young members were baptised at our church service on the Sunday, and it was a great pleasure to welcome these two to the Clan and the kirk at the same time.

Since my last message we have had to report with sadness the death of Angus Macpherson of Achany, our Association piper, and a man of great character and achievement. He will be very much missed by us all.

My family and I join together to send all good wishes to you all, and to hope that we will meet in Scotland in August or in May -- or in both months!

William Macpherson of CLUNY




      Two fateful dangers are looming large which are eating the vitals out of our Clan Association. In the days before the Fudach nan Gaidheal -- the Clearances and Dispersion -- a fiery cross was sent round the Clan to rally to danger.

      The first of these perils is our not fully appreciating the inescapable necessity and logic of inspiring our children and our children's children to our traditions, history, music, songs and even our language.

      Inspiration and education are the only two ways we can do so. Unless already armed with all available back copies of Creag Dhubh it would be well to do so while still available. The Clan House and Museum, Newtonmore, are pleased to advise accordingly. They are valuable in themselves and for the sources they reveal. Over the years a great amount of interesting points are brought out, only needing dug out, like gems, from the ground.

      The Posterity of the Three Brethren is another essential aid. Ingenuity and love can do the rest. One is astounded at the wealth of material to be researched in the Clan House.

      It can be done. Mary Macpherson, the great Macpherson bard (Máiri Mhór nan Orain) [neé MacDonald] inspired and begged Kennie MacRae, over seventy years ago, to sing Gaelic songs, and, due to him, we have the continuing popularity of Gu ma slà do na Fearaibh.       The songs, stories and histories learned at a parent or grandparent's knee can be an inspiration all the days of one's life. The Parable of the Sower in the New Testament amply illustrates this truth, (Matthew -- Chapter 13). What's more it can be great fun for oneself as well as for the listeners. Teaching others is one of the most entertaining forms of self-education too!

      In earnest of our sincerity we have enrolled Sarah MacPherson Sisterson, born at Sherman Hospital, Chicago, U.S.A. on 28 August, 1976 as a member of the Clan Association -- what a proud example to every parent and grandparent to enroll and inspire! We know that Sarah's grannie (who was born in Mull), who paid a pilgrimage to the homeland last year, will be delighted to inspire Sarah.

      If every MacPherson coming into this world can count on being enrolled and inspired thereafter, the Clan Association will march forward triumphant till the end of time. The alternative of indifference, caused by neglect and defeatism, is dire.

      The second danger which is staring us in the face is the lack of attention, amounting to outright blindness which we are according our


magnificent heritage of song and music. Due to the rising cost of living it is sad to say that many singers and instrumentalists are charging money for their contributions at ceilidhs and gatherings. This has caught us on the hop because, for years, we have relied on the generosity of others to provide us with song and music. Now we have only the slimmest store of our own talent to fall back on. There is no excuse for saying that there are too few people for a ceilidh. The minimum, including the fear-an-taighe, is two persons, indeed some of the finest ceilidhs have only had a handful attending with a majority participating.

      Certainly, in the ceilidh from earliest times, we have had the yarn, the tale, the history and the riddle, but the heart-throb is still song and music. The Rally Ceilidh so often has been threadbare of our MacPherson and septs' songs and music as well as at local level. With practice and patience we can remedy this state of affairs. If we turn our backs on the television we can often get someone locally or within travelling distance to give our voice some training in singing. Our oldest instrument is the clarsach, the Celtic harp, I am certain with a reply paid letter, the local clarsach society secretary, Mrs. Margaret Strachan, 82 Orchard Road, Edinburgh EH4 2HD, could supply information and there are exponents of the clarsach and harp throughout the world. Our own Hugh Macpherson, 17 West Maitland Street, Edinburgh 12, is a world famous piping enthusiast. The amount of Scottish music for the fiddle and piano is staggering. This century has seen the accordian come into its own in the Scottish tradition and we see today the guitar taking a worthy place in accompanying the human voice extolling Scottish song in English and Gaelic. Even gramophone records abound to aid us. We found the Secretary, An Comunn Gaidhealach, 65 West Regent Street, Glasgow G2, an invaluable source and aid with advice on songs in Gaelic, and all other ceilidh publications. Nicholson's Gaelic Proverbs and London University's Oideas na Cloinne we found magnificent for the intimate smallest ceilidh.

      In order to prove our constructive sincerity, a second time, we offer two songs. One in English and one in our ancestral language, Gaelic.

      The remains of MacPherson's broken fiddle can be seen in the Clan Museum in Newtonmore, and all the places associated with the gently ironical Emigrant's Song can still be walked across in Kingussie. The rest is in our hands and voices. Come to think of it, both our problems of having to enroll and inspire the young as well as evoking our Clan and Scottish ancestral music and song might be able to be solved at one blow, to our personal and collective enjoyment and cultural enrichment and to the aid and succour of our own Clan Association throughout the world.


Due to considerations of space the publication of the account of Cluny of the '45 from Cluny's Charter Chest brought out in instalments has been held over till next year.


      The Clan House Museum was open between 16 April and 30 September. During this period, 5,027 visitors passed through the Museum, an increase of 313 on the attendance last year.

      The recorded addresses of our visitors show that they came from the undernoted countries, with the number for each in brackets: Scotland and England (3,726); Isle of Man (18); U.S . A. (225); Canada (119); Australia (I 10); New Zealand (53); India (8); Switzerland (24); France (156); Eire (27); South Africa (2 1); Belgium (97); West Germany (12 1); Norway (30); Sweden (46); Denmark (38); Holland (159); Israel (2); Poland (6); Ethopia (4); Austria (1); China (1); Zaire (6); Mexico (5); Czechoslovakia (3); Italy (12); South America (4); Barbados (4); Fiji (1).

      In all, 316 Macphersons and other septs of the Clan visited us, an increase of 14.

      Donations received in the collection boxes amounted to �8, an increase of �.

      Membership fees amounted to E139 compared with E148 for the previous year.

      Sales of publications realised �4, an increase of �. In addition, a successful raffle held during the Annual Rally brought in �. This sum has been earmarked to help with the cost of future landscaping of the grounds surrounding the museum.

      The museum has been greatly enhanced by the addition of a further two display cases. For these we extend our sincere thanks to Donald and Audrey Macpherson of Hamilton, Ontario, and also to the members of the U.S.A. branch of the Clan Macpherson Association.

      Mrs. Carnegie Miller, daughter of the late Mr. Andrew Carnegie, has also presented a display case to the museum in memory of the late Mr. Angus Macpherson of Achany, Lairg, who died on 3 May, a few weeks before reaching the age of 99. A plate is affixed to the case reading as follows: "Given in memory of our dear friend Angus Macpherson by the family members of the late Andrew Carnegie, 1976." The case will display the following articles -- plaid brooch, dirk, powder horn, and sporran, which belonged to Angus Macpherson, grandfather of Angus, and are being loaned to the museum by George Macpherson, grandson of Angus.

      Angus was piper to the Clan Association since the formation of the Association in 1947.

      We are very happy to report that 1976 has been the most successful year in the history of the Museum. Of the 5,027 visitors (7 % increase), 1,300 came from overseas, a great number taking advantage of the favourable rates of exchange. This, in turn, reflected on donations in the collection boxes, an increase of 18 %, and a 66 % increase in sales of publications.


      We regret to record the death of Mr. David Sydie, F.I.B.D., SignWriter and Decorator, of Tigh-na-bruach, Newtonmore. Since retiring to Newtonmore nine years ago he showed a keen interest in the Museum. He offered to make and paint two outside signs at no cost to the Association. On one of his visits, prior to the opening of the Macpherson of Drumochter Room, he expressed the desire to execute a descriptive memorial plaque, at no cost to the Association. David was active in the affairs of the Institute of Master Decorators and for a long period was a national tutor in sign-writing. He will be greatly missed for his many services to the community, and our sympathy is extended to his wife.

Recent Additions to Museum
     Booklet: Mount Abundance, or The Experiences of a Pioneer Squatter in Australia Thirty Years Ago, by Allan Macpherson of Blairgowrie (from William Alan Macpherson of Cluny and Blairgowrie, Q.C.       Coloured Photograph Macpherson Museum, Kansas (from Dr. R. J. M. Gillespie, Attleboro Falls, Mass., U.S.A.).

      Service Medals (3) belonging to the late Pte. A. McPherson, 1st Batn. Gordon Highlanders:
           (1) Relief of Chitral, 1895: Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Tirah, 1897-98.
           (2) Driefontein: Cape Colony.
           (3) South Africa 1901: South Africa 1902.
(from George A. Gordon, St. Hellier, Jersey, Channel Islàds.

      Silver Cup inscribed "Birnam Games, 1st Prize for Pibroch Playing, awarded to A. Macdonald, piper to Glentruim, 1866" from Mrs. Sydie, Tiah-na-bruach, Newtonmore.

Painting: Standard of Macpherson of Cluny, and collection of Macpherson Bookplates, executed by R. G. M. Macpherson, Burlington, Ontario, and presented to the Museum by the Canadian Branch of Clan Macpherson Association.

Collection of Piobaireachd as played on the Great Highland Bagpipes. Compiled and edited by Major-General C. S. Thomason R.E.(Bengal) (from Mrs. Sydie, Tigh-na-bruach, Newtonmore.

Clan Journals
      Clan Donnachaidh Society, 1976.
      Clan Chattan Association, 1976.

      The Kennedy Space Flight Story and illustrated literature in connection with all space flights.

Wall Hanging U.S.A. Historical Manned Space Flights 1961-1972 (from Dr. Robert J. Macpherson Gillespie, Attleboro Falls, Mass., U.S.A.

      Chairman's Cromag. To be carried by the Association Chairman at the Annual Clan Macpherson March during the Rally. Small silver plates attached list all chairmen since 1946. Our present chairman, Mr. Kenneth N. McPherson in his first year in office had the honour of being the first chairman to carry the cromag. Presented to the Clan Macpherson Association by Mr. Ronald W. G. Macpherson, T.D., Chairman 1974-1976.



      The Thirtieth Clan Macpherson Rally, celebrated at the weekend in Badenoch, marked its entry into the third decade with an encouraging display of young and enthusiastic faces in the Clan ranks -- a healthy sign for the future.

      The reception and Highland ball, held in the Duke of Gordon Hotel, Kingussie, was an outstanding success. The Chief, Cluny, William Macpherson of Cluny and Blairgowrie and the association chairman, Mr. Ronnie Macpherson, London, accompanied by their wives, welcomed over 100 members and their guests from all corners of the world.

      The following morning members of the association council visited the grave in Banchor Cemetery of Lady Helen Stewart Macpherson of Newtonmore who died in March in her 101st year. She had been a loyal member for many years.

      After a wreath had been laid by the Chief and chairman, a Lament was played by Hugh Macpherson of Edinburgh.

      The annual general meeting in Newtonmore Village Hall was marked with the presentation by the retiring chairman to his successor, Mr. Kenneth McPherson of Edinburgh, of a handsome cromag inscribed with the name of all previous chairmen.

      Members heard of the recent establishment of branches in Australia, and the continuing success in Canada and the U.S.A.       The Clan tent at the Highland Games on Saturday became a focal point of the field as many Macphersons took the opportunity of greeting friends and relations from far and wide.

      After the Games, a ceilidh was held in the Duke of Gordon Hotel, where a large audience enjoyed an excellent evening arranged by Mr. Eoin Macpherson of Newtonmore.

      The fear-an-tighe was Mr. Hugh Macpherson, Edinburgh, and the performers included: Piping -- Ian Fraser, George Murdoch, Niall Mathieson, Audrey Stewart; Violin -- Bruce Macpherson, Helen Macpherson, Carol Williams; Dancing -- display by a team of Newtonmore children trained by Mrs. Sheila Macpherson; Solos -- Pauline MacGillivray, Jimmie Mathieson, Evan Cattanach, Alison Cattanach. The piano accompanist was Duncan Sinclair.

      On Sunday morning a large turn-out assembled at St. Columba's Church, Kingussie, where a service was conducted by Rev. Albert Jenner, and Rev. J. McPherson of Dundee. Lessons were read by Cluny and Mr. Kenneth McPherson. The offering was collected by Mr. Ronnie Macpherson and Mr. John Macpherson Martin.

      A special feature of the service was the baptism of two babies. One, Lorna Jean Macpherson Moorhead, had been brought by her parents from Sacramento, California.

      After the service members took advantage of invitations to visit Cluny Castle and Glentruim.


by R. G. M. Macpherson, F.R.S.A., F.S.A.Scot.

No. 26 Prof. John Alexander MacPherson, M.A., Ph.D.
      On 6 February 1976, the Lord Lyon King of Arms granted Armorial Ensigns to Prof. John A. MacPherson of St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and these Arms are recorded in Volume 60, folio 33 of the Lyon Register.

      The Arms are based on those of the Chief, Macpherson of Cluny, but in this case the galley is "Sable" (black) and floats on alternating waves of blue and silver -- the first Macpherson galley to be so depicted. The "red, hand and dagger" together with the "cross-crosslet" will be easily recognised as components of the Cluny Arms and above these charges is placed a. blue band (called "a chief ") on which is a gold demi-sun with rays. The "sun" alludes to "Antigonish" which is located on the "Sunrise Trail" and, moreover, it was also chosen to commemorate the armiger's birthplace in Windsor, Ontario, situated in "The Sunparlour of Canada". The silver border surrounding the shield (which in this instance is not an indication of cadency) contains three "open books" to signify "Education" and three "Roses" to represent both Windsor, Ontario, as well as Prof. MacPherson's Tudor literary specialisation.

      The wildcat Crest is holding a "Seax", symbolising "Essex County", and is charged on the shoulder with a "spur-rowel" to indicate the armiger's association with two chivalric orders.

      The motto is a departure from the usual Macpherson motto and is taken from "King Lear", Act IV, scene 6.

      Prof. MacPherson is a member of the Canadian Branch of the Clan Association.


No. 27 William Monroe MacPherson
      A recent Lyon Court matriculation, of interest to all members of the Association, are the Arms of Monroe MacPherson, Ionia, Michigan, U.S.A. In order to obtain Arms as a United States citizen, Monroe had to establish a connection with an armigerous Scots ancestor and so the Lord Lyon granted Arms posthumously to Monroe's great-great grandfather, William MacPherson.

      The Arms borne by Monroe MacPherson are similar to those granted to his ancestor but with the addition of a gold border surrounding the shield "for difference". As will be seen in the accompanying illustration, the various charges from the Cluny Arms are included but this time the "red hand" is not holding the usual dagger which has been replaced by "two lightning flashes" to indicate Monroe's profession as a radio broadcaster. Also, "in chief " (the upper part of the shield), is a gold "Eagle's head" taken from the Arms of the Chief of Clan Munro. This alludes both to the armiger's Christian name as well as representing the "American Eagle".

      The wildcat Crest is holding "two lightning flashes" and the answering motto is "Touch not the cat".

      Monroe MacPherson is an active member of the Clan Association and is Chairman of the U.S. Branch.



      We are all familiar with the personal flag of the Chief which is carried before him in procession and displayed outside his tent at the Clan gathering. This rectangular flag, its whole surface covered by the Arms of Macpherson of Cluny, is termed the "Chief's Banner" and should only be flown when the Chief is present in person. The Banner is either hoisted on his arrival or else he will be accompanied by a "bannerbearer" carrying it.

      A popular misconception that is very widespread is the use of the term "Royal Standard" with reference to the Queen's personal flag. It is not, correctly speaking, the "Royal Standard" but the "Royal Banner". "The Standard" is a long, narrow flag, often with split ends, and, in the case of the Sovereign, is as much as eight yards in length. The "Chief's Standard" is parted and fringed of the livery colours (blue and gold) and upon it is usually depicted his Arms together with his Crest or Badge, and his Motto or Slogan on transverse bands. In the case of Peers, barons and the Chiefs of Clans, the Standard is split at the ends (as in the illustration of Cluny's Standard) but in the case of non-baronial Chiefs it has round, unsplit ends. Unlike the Banner, which indicates the personal presence of the Chief, the Standard is his "rallying flag" to denote his headquarters at a Highland gathering.

------------------------------------------------------------------784 -------------------------------------------------------------

      The Standard of Macpherson of Cluny is described as follows: "His Crest is depicted thrice upon his Standard of twelve feet in length, having his Arms in the hoist (next to the flagpole) of these liveries Or (gold) and Azure (blue) accompanied by two sprigs of white heather proper (his Badge for the Honourable the Clan Macpherson) in the fly with his Slughorn "CREAG DHUBH" in letters Or (gold) upon two transverse bands Gules (red)."



                                            Scotland, my Mother, my bones are your earth,
                                            Your strong, singing, mountains have cradled my birth,
                                            The roar of your torrents, the sough of the pine,
                                            The white sands, the clear seas, the heathers are mine!

                                            Kelso to Thurso each fold of the north,
                                            The Tweed and the Tummel, the Findhorn, the Forth,
                                            Strathspey and Strathcarron, Strathdon and Strathdee,
                                            Strathclyde and the Tay, they are life-blood to me.

                                            The far, dreaming, islands, like gems on the ocean,
                                            Corn-fields of the Laigh, golden, windswept in motion,
                                            The spires of old cities, the Castle, the Keep,
                                           The cot and the clachan, the cascades that leap.

                                            The small birches like lace in each glen,
                                            The rowans, the roses, the hawthorn den,
                                            The sun on the mountains, oh gorm, oh gorm, blue!
                                            Or cloud-shadowed purple, pale green, mist-capped view.

                                            The lochs and the lilies that float close to land,
                                            The snow on the high tops that hold winter's hand,
                                            The song of the skylark, the eagles that soar,
                                            And, in beech-masted autumn, the rutting stag's roar.

                                            The smell of the malt and the peat and wet sand,
                                            Of tar and fish-scales and kelp on the strand,
                                            The harbours that shelter both trawlers and skiffs,
                                            And a huddle of houses that cling to the cliffs.

                                            Smoke-stacks of distilleries, coal-mines and mills
                                            And the skirl of the pipes round the echoing hills,
                                            In music for marching and making hearts strong,
                                            Mid battle and terrors; in glory, grief, song.

                                            For all that we love has been held at the cost
                                            Of fire and of sword; the spilt blood of friends lost.
                                            Let us never forget, whilst new foes and greeds threaten,
                                            That we hold the key to the greatness of Britain.

                                            All this and much more we've enshrined as our own,
                                            The depths of dark waters, the sorrows we've known!
                                            Though oft' driven to exile o'er land or o'er sea,
                                            'Tis Scotland forever our country must be

                                            Scotland, my Mother, my bones are your earth,
                                            Your strong, singing, mountains have cradled my birth,
                                            The roar of your torrents, the sough of the pine,
                                            The white sands, the clear seas, the heathers are mine!

Dedicated to
William Alan Macpherson of Cluny, my Chief
as is fitting with love and respect.



      In the year 1838, a large number of people emigrated to Australia from the neighbourhood of Kingussie. The St. George, by which they had taken passage to Sydney, lay at Oban, so it was necessary for them to make the long journey to Fort William in carts, and thence proceed to the place of embarkation by steamboat. Their departure from Kingussie took place at mid-summer, and on the day of St. Columba's Fair -- Latha Feill Chaluim Chille. This fair was the occasion of a general gathering of the inhabitants of Badenoch; and to it many resorted from a distance for purposes of trade or mere amusement. Several near relatives of the writer, who were among those present on the memorable day referred to, used to describe with deep emotion the scenes of heartrending grief which they witnessed.

      A band of strolling musicians in connection with some entertainment, readily entered into the situation and temper of their assembled patrons at the fair. Playing airs suited to the occasion, and followed by crowds of people, they made their way to the top of the Little Rock, which commands a view of the whole of Badenoch downwards from Glen Truim. From that height, where a few years before, "the young men of Kingussie" had erected a cairn in memory of Duke Alexander, many eyes were turned wistfully to take a last farewell of much-loved haunts and homes. One strain of song touched every heart, and snatches of it were ever associated with recollections of the affecting events of the day:

                                                                 Let Fortune use me as it may,
                                                                 I will think on Scotland far away.

      After descending from the Creag Bheag, the emigrants set out on their westward journey, accompanied as far as the old stage-house of Pitmain by relatives and friends. Here, those who were departing for the 'New World' and those who were remaining behind took leave of each other as persons who would never meet again on this side the grave.

      Among those who then bade farewell for ever to the banks of Spey, there was one of whom I should like to make passing notice, This was a young man named John Eason. His parents were natives of Morayshire, and had come to reside at Kingussie, no doubt in consequence of some employment on the Gordon Estates. A stone-mason to trade, he found time to devote to reading and the cultivation of the Muses. Being much possessed of much public spirit, he was the recognised leader of the forward youths of the village, and a universal favourite throughout the country. Half a century after he had gone, those of his companions who still survived, like to speak of him often. I understand that he died not long after his settlement in the 'New World'.


      The Bard, Domh'Il Phail, was another resident in the neighbourhood of Kingussie, who had resolved to seek his fortunes beyond the seas. Circumstances, however, prevented him from carrying out his intention. It was when in prospect of leaving his native land, and when the advantages of emigration were constantly under discussion, that he composed this song, which makes bantering allusion to the various inducements that might be supposed to suggest themselves to his mind.       It may be remarked that the good ship, St. George, took no less than five months to make the voyage to Sydney, which must have been a tiresome one, indeed, for the unfortunate passengers.



Gu 'm a slàn do na fearaibh A health to the fellows,
Théid thairis a' chuan, Who'll cross o'er the sea!
Gu talamh a' gheallaidh, To the country of promise,
Far nach fairich iad fuachd. Where no cold will they feel.
      Gu 'm a slàn, etc.       A health to, etc.
Gu 'm a slàn do na mnathan A health to the goodwives!
Nach cluinnear an gearan, We'll hear no complaining;
'S ann thèid iad gu smearail, They'll follow us heartily
'G ar leantuinn thar 'chuan; Over the sea.
      Gu 'm a slàn, etc.      A health to, etc.
'Us na nighneagan bòidheach, And the beautiful maidens
A dh' fhalbhas leirnn còmhladh, Going with us together,
Gheibh daoine ri 'm pòsadh, They'll get husbands to marry.
A chuireas òr 'nan dà chluais. Who'll give earrings of gold.
      Gu'm a slàn, etc.      A health to, etc.
Gheibh sinn aran 'us im ann, We'll get bread and butter,
Gheibh sinn siucar 'us tea ann; And sugar and tea there;
'S cha bhi gainne oirnn-fhìn, Well experience no want,
'S an tìr 's am bheil buaidh. In that bountiful land.
      Gu'm a slàn, etc.       A health to, etc.
'N uair dh' fhàgas sinn 'n t-àit' so, When we're gone from this country,
Cha chuir iad mór-mhàl oirnn; Our rents will be trifling;
'S cha bhi an Fhéill Màrtainn And Martinmas will not
'Cur nàire 'n ar gruaidh. Bring blush to our cheek.
      Gu 'm a slàn, etc.      A health to, etc.
Gu 'm fàg sinn an tìr so, We'll depart from this region,
Cha chinnich aon nì ann; Where nothing will flourish,
Tha 'm buntàt' air dol 'dhìth ann, The potatoes are ruined,
'S cha. chinn iad le fuachd. And won't grow for the cold.
      Gu 'm a slàn, etc. A health to, etc.
Gheibh sinn crodh agus caoraich; We'll get cattle and sheep;
Gheibh sinn cruithneachd air raointean, We'll get wheat on the fields,
'S cha bhi e cho daor dhuinn, And it won't be so dear
Ri fraoch an Taoibh-Tuath. As the heath of the north.
      Gu 'm a slàn, etc.       A health to, etc.
'N uair a théid mi do 'n mhunadh, When I go to the mountains,
A mach le mo ghunna, And roam with my musket,
Cha bhi geamair no duine No keeper, or living,
'G am chur air an ruaig. Will drive me away.
      Gu`m a slàn, etc.       A health to, etc.
Gheibh sinn sìod' agus srolann; There we'll get silk and ribbons --
Gheibh sinn pailteas de 'n chlòimh ann, We'll get wool in abundance;
'S ni na mnathan dhuinn clò dheth, And the wives will make cloth
Air seòl an Taoibh-Tuath. In the style of the North.
      Gu 'm a slàn, etc.       A health to, etc.
Cha bhi iad 'g ar dùsgadh, They will not arouse us,
Le clag Chinne-Ghiùbhsaich; With the bell of Kingussie;
Cha bhi e gu diùbhras, Nor will it much matter,
Ged nach dùisg sinn cho luath. Though we wake not so soon.
      Gu 'm a slàn, etc.      A health to, etc.

      Though the present bell of Kingussie Church, which has sounded out loud and strong over the valley, summoning successive generations to the worship of God, is perhaps better than many country parishes can boast, it is not nearly equal to one which was anciently intended to occupy its place. The unfortunate bell I allude to was cast on the Continent, but the ship in which it was conveyed safely across the German Ocean, went down in the River Tay at Perth. Hence the traditionary rhyme:

"Tha clag mór Chinne-Ghiùbhsaich 'n a cruban am Peairt",
"The great bell of Kingussie is crouching in Perth."

from SINTON's The Poetry of Badenoch.

[The Rev. Thomas Sinton's Poetry of Badenoch (1906) illustrates significantly the character and context and extent of traditional and ephemeral verse composition in a Gaelic community. -- Hugh Cheape. See also CD20 p.446-7]



      Kaza was a young woman who had been newly married and was about to move to her husband's tribe. Her mother and father strongly advised her to take an elephant or perhaps an antelope with her but this she would not hear of. She wished to take their cat instead, it being an animal sacred to their clan.

      On arriving at her new home, she had an enclosure made for the cat and she arranged that it be well fed. However, as it so happened, the cat, each night, got up and fetched the husband's kilt and rattle. On so doing, it not only sang but also danced. Unfortunately, the husband spied this performance whereupon he killed the cat. At this very instant Kaza fainted. When she awoke she implored her husband to wrap the cat up in a rug as she herself would die if she saw it uncovered.

      She asked that it be taken back to her parents' tribe. On arrival, the rug was unrolled; whereupon each member of the clan went up to gaze at the dead cat. A miraculous thing happened -- as each member caught a glimpse of the dead cat, he or she fell down and died. In this way the whole village was completely wiped out.

      Kaza's husband told his friends that by slaying the cat he had killed all these people since their lives depended on it. Even worse, he had a greater grievance as he had lost the dowry he had paid for his wife as there was no-one left alive from whom he could claim it back.

      This is an Africanfolk tale which was retold to the writer. It is fascinating that they should also have a cat as a clan emblem.












(The twelfth year of this series)

      It has been felt that the first three pages of Roderick MacKinnon's book Gaelic may be too condensed for some readers. This book is probably the best complete course for beginners in the language and is published by Hodder & Stoughton at 95p (Australia and New Zealand $2-75) and in U.S.A. by David McKay Company, Inc. N.Y. -- ISBN 0 340 15153 6.

      Accordingly, the following commentary has been produced in the hope of giving examples of pronunciation down from the Gaelic-English vocabulary (on pp. 270-302) of the same book. It is useful to consult this part of the vocabulary as the number given after a word refers to a lesson in which it first occurs.

      In following this commentary one is expected to have Mr. MacKinnon's book open in front of one and follow it closely with this commentary. If, afterwards, one wishes to progress to a more advanced stage in studying the pronunciation or phonetics of Gaelic advice can be obtained from Gairm Publications, 29 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2, Scotland, or An Comunn Gaidhealach, Abertarff House, Inverness, Scotland, they might suggest Calder's Gaelic Grammar or the Norwegian Universities publication on the subject. There are several others available too.
      Beginning with the consonants on the first page:
           b is much like English to begin a word (beo = alive) but more like p elsewhere in a word (ciobair= shepherd).

bh as in bha=was. Rarely silent at the beginning of a word.

c as k in cat. In middle or end of word often has h sound.

ch phonetically given as ch as in 'loch', itself a Gaelic word.
t with either e or i gives the first and last sounds as in 'church', as in =one or tir=land.

chd given phonetically chk as in 'beannachd'= blessing.

d as discussed here is a d followed or proceeded by a broad vowel -- a, o or u as in dad= anything; dol= going; dubh = black; by saying it with the tongue on the tip of the front teeth. However, d with a slender vowel e or i gives a sound as the first consonant in 'jam', as in de=what and in goirid=short.

dh is represented by gh when with a broad vowel somewhat as the a, o, u, the last letter in 'mug' as in bualadh =striking. The y sound when with a slender vowel e or i as in ceilidh=a social gathering.

f as in English -- e.g. fas=grow. fh is silent except in fhein= self; fhuair= got; and fathast=yet, where it is sounded like h.

g as in English at the beginning of a word gas=gas. But elsewhere in a word more like k as in fag= leave. gh is treated the same as dh already discussed above.

h as in English -- e.g. na h-uain=the lambs (page 148).

d with a slender vowel is treated phonetically as in 'jam'.

l with a slender vowel (e or i) in the middle of a word as in mile=mile or thousand.

ll as in muillean =million (page 156).


l with a broad vowel a, o, u, said with tongue on tip of front teeth as: lach=wild duck; loch=loch* and luch=mouse. m as in English but nasal, as mala=eyebrow.

mh is also nasal as v in 'van' sometimes silent as seasamh= standing.

n is always nasal: with a broad vowel is pronounced nasally with tongue on tip of front teeth as in nan=of the, or if: an nochd=to-night and null=over.

n + a slender vowel e or i is nasal, otherwise as in English, as in nead=nest and ni=will do.

ng is shown in the phonetics, as in English as in trang=busy.

nn as in tinn=sick.

p at beginning of a word as in English as pos=marry but elsewhere in a word of sounded with h before it as in 'cupa'=cup.

ph =f as in English as Mac-a-phearsain= Macpherson.

r with a slender vowel like e or i sounds like 'th' in English or like a narrow r as in tir=land.

r (r phonetically) with broad vowel a, o, u, is rolled as with rach=go; ron=seal; rud=thing.

s with a broad vowel a, o, u as in English salm=psalm; sona=happy; suipeir=supper.

s with a slender vowel e, i is as the 'sh' in 'shut. Seomar=room; sin=that.

t with a broad vowel is pronounced with the tongue on the tip of the front teeth, unlike in English where the tongue goes on to the ridge of the gum. As talla=hall; tog=lift; turus=journey.

t with a slender vowel has the sound of the 'ch's' in 'church' as an t-eilean=the island; tir=land.

idh/igh or the other slender vowel dhi/ghi gives the 'y' sound as in dhiubh=to you (plural).

      MacKinnon next deals with his phonetics of vowels on the third page.

      There are two types of short vowels. The stressed short vowel which is usually the first vowel of a word. In double words, like te-eiginn= someone (feminine), the first vowel is short as also the first vowel after the hyphen.

      Stressed short vowels have their pronunciation somewhat as in English but when they are unstressed coming in second or later place they are unstressed and all sound as 'u' in 'but'. This is clearly seen in fada=long, which is pronounced 'fadu', remembering that the 'd' is broadened by the broad vowels.

      Examples of MacKinnon's short vowels are given. His phonetics are given first:
           a as in 'bat' see ad=hat.
           e as in 'bet' see b'e=it was he/it (page 28).
           i as in 'bit' see cathair=chair.
           o as in 'bot' see droch=bad.
           u as in 'but' see second vowel in fada=long.
           a as in 'gate' see first vowel in eile=other.
           e as in 'feet' see cir=comb.
           i as in 'fire' see gruaidh=cheek.
           o as in 'rote' see tog=lift.
           u as in 'cute' see iuchair=key or you.
           oo as in 'coop' see cupa=cup.


      Two accents are used in Gaelic; acutes as in céis=case/envelope, and graves as in pòg=kiss. Not only do they make clear the sound of the vowel but show that the vowel really is long, much longer than any in English.

aa long as in second syllable in 'barrage' see Màiri=Mary.

eh as explained, it is the same sound as in French but longer, see greasaiche = shoemaker.

oeu as explained, see gaoth=wind.

aw as explained, see ol=drink.

au as explained, see toll=hole

                         nall= over

      These last two words are seldom now written with double consonants -- (tom (m) =heap, tuft; (am (m) = time

ay as explained, see céis=case, envelope.

e as explained, see cir=comb.

oo as explained, see cul=back (side), rear.

i as explained, see also as 'gut', see doirbh= difficult.

      In the interests of simplicity and space, MacKinnon has omitted certain other points of pronunciation. Examples are given from pages 280 to 302 which might be of some help.

adharc=horn and aghaidh=face often 'adh' or 'agh' in front of a word is pronounced as ao in gaoth.

      Certain words like ailm=helm, aimsir=weather, ainm=name, airgead=money, Alba=Scotland, have an unstressed vowel sound as in 'but' where indicated by the
           arm=army; marbh =dead; fearg= anger.
           earb=roedeer; ainm=name; falbh=go away;
           ailm=helm; tilg=throw;
          sgolb=lump (not in MacKinnon); calpa=calf of leg.       Also 'sr' sounds like 'str', e.g. sraid=street.

      Lastly, 'rt' and as mart=cow and 'rd' as ard=high, tall, usually have an 's' sounded after the 'r'.       There are other interesting features and to avoid spoiling the enjoyment it is suggested that other items of interest be noted as one works through Roderick MacKinnon's excellent work.

      Gaelic is no more difficult than many other European languages and is more consistent in spelling than English.

      As our own language, which has come down to us from our forefathers its appeal is irresistable.

      While every help to enquiries will be gladly given by An Comunn Gaidhealach and Gairm Publications mentioned above it might be of interest to note that a fine printed list of publications currently available can be obtained by writing The Gaelic Books Council, Department of Celtic, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8RZ, Scotland and asking for their catalogue Leabhraichean Gaidhlig, which is well set out and in English.


Fare Ye weel ye dark and ye lonely hills,     Noo some come here tae buy my fiddle,
Hud awa' beneath the sky, Aye, and ithers cam here tae see me dee!
MacPherson's rant will ne'er be lang, But afore that I would sell my fiddle
Alow the gallows tree.I'd brak it ower my knee.
0 little did my mother ken, He took his fiddle intae his airms
When first she cradled me, And he broke it ower a stane
That I would turn a rovin' lad, Saying, "Nae a man will e'er play upon her
And on the gallows wud dee. When I am deid and gane".
It was by a woman's treacherous hand,The Laird o' Grant, with murdering cant,
That I was condemned tae dee, That first laid hands on me,
Below a ledge at a window she stood He played the cause on Peter Broon
And a blanket she threw o'er me. To watch MacPherson dee.
Untie these bands from off my hands The reprieve was coming ower the brig o' Banff,
And gie to me my sword Tae set MacPherson free,
And there's no a man in all Scotland But Grant pit the clock a quarter fast
But I'll brave him at his word. To hang him to the tree.

                                                                           Rantin'ly sae rantin'ly,
                                                                           0 rantin'ly gaed he,
                                                                           For he played a tune,
                                                                           And danced it roond,
                                                                           Alow the gallows tree.

contrived by
Archy C. Macpherson 1977
but freely available for the use of the Clan Association.



Not included






Badenoch Branch    47
North of Scotland Branch   63
East of Scotland Branch  191
West of Scotland Branch   65
England and Wales Branch  336
Canadian Branch   298
U.S.A. Branch  357
New Zealand Branch    76
Australia Branch  132
Europe Branch .     13
Asia Branch     5
Africa Branch    23
South America Branch      7

Members deceased in 1976
Mr. Thomas Cattanach, Clan Chattan, Newtonmore.
Mr. Angus Macpherson, Achany House, Invershin, Sutherland.
Miss Lena Macpherson, 3 Coolin Drive, Portree, Isle of Skye.
Lady Helen S. Macpherson, M.A., K.I.H., 26 Learmonth Ter., Edinburgh.
Dr. John Gillies, c.v.o., M.C., 18A Mortonhall Road, Edinburgh.
Mr. Bertie C. McPherson Whittle Croft, Horwich, Lancs.
Mr. Frederick W. Macpherson, 6A Ravenscroft Park, Barnet, Herts.
Mr. Jack D. Gillespie, I Westfield Road, Blackpool.
Mr. David J. Gillespie, 55 Southfield Road, Orpington, Kent.
Miss Christina Macpherson, Parkhill R.R., Apt. 6, Ontario, Canada.
Mr. Edward M. Macpherson, 64 Louisa St., Invercargill, New Zealand.

* * *

Oban Times -- 13/5/76

an appreciation by JOHN MACFADYEN
(one of the greatest pipers of our day)

      On the morning of July 2, 1877, Angus Macpherson was born in a small cottage near Cluny Castle, the home of the chiefs of Clan Chattan.

      He was ushered into the world to the sound of the pipe, which was being played by his father, the immortal Calum Piobaire, and there can be few days during his long and illustrious life when he did not hear or play a tune on his beloved instrument.

      Soon after Angus's birth, Calum Piobaire retired and went to live at Catlodge, near Laggan, and it was there that Angus spent his formative years.

      His father's house was a hub of piping and his father the most famous piobaireachd player and teacher of his age, having been taught by his own father, Angus, who was a pupil of the last great MacCrimmon, Iain Dubh.

      Other than his two great friends, Mr. Seton Gordon and Colonel Jock Macdonald, there can be few, if any, alive who heard Angus


Macpherson play at his best, for it is nigh on 60 years since he was at the peak of his playing career.

      That he was a player of considerable merit there can be little doubt and even in his latter years the crispness of his fingering and his ability to tune a pipe would put many a performer three-score years his junior to shame.

      The peak of his competitive career was achieved in 1923, some 53 years ago, when he won the Highland Society of London's Gold Medal at the Northern Meetings in Inverness, a gathering for which he had a special love and which he attended for 80 successive years.

      His fidelity to, and attendance at, this premier gathering was recognised in 1956 when Lochiel, on behalf of the Northern Meetings committee, presented him with an inscribed cromag, and the applause which greeted the simple ceremony mirrored the esteem in which Angus was held.

      Many honours came to him during his life, all of which he received with dignity, humility and pleasure. The many Highland games to which he gave so unstintingly of his services all honoured him at various stages in his career.

      With his two great cronies, Col. Jock Macdonald and Mr. Seton Gordon, he attended Glenfinnan Gathering without a break since the Second World War. Portree, Invergordon, Dornoch and Strathpeffer were similarly placed.


      He was made a vice-president of the College of Piping; with Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod and Dr. Kenneth MacKay he was elected an honorary member of the piobaireachd society for his services to piping, an honour which gave him as much pleasure as it did to the society members on hearing of his acceptance. And above all he was honoured by his Queen with the M.B.E. at a ceremony at Balmoral Castle.

      But, fine player though he undoubtedly was, it is not as an actual performer that Angus will be remembered best. He will be remembered as a great Highland gentleman of great courtesy, a great angler, dancer, and seannachaidh, but most of all he will be remembered as the last of an era and the last of a great line of piping tradition and lore.

      He was a descendant of James Macpherson, piper to Cluny at the '45. His great-grandfather went to Skye and married a sister of the famous Bruces of Glenelg, and this was at a time when the Borreraig College was still functioning as the finishing school for the greatest pipers in the land.

      His grandfather, after whom he was named, lived for a period in Raasay and was a neighbour of John MacKay. About 12 years younger than John MacKay's own son, the immortal Angus, they were both near enough in age to romp the hills together and be schooled in the traditional style of piobaireachd playing.

      John MacKay left Raasay and went to Drummond Castle, and Angus's grandfather followed soon after and took up service as piper to Cluny.

      At this time John Ban MacKenzie was at Taymouth Castle and the trio often met to discuss tunes and re-enforce their early teaching.

      When John MacKay retired to Kyleakin, Angus's grandfather often walked from Cluny, across the Corrieyairack, to spend a week or two playing and reminiscing about their days in Raasay together.

      Angus's own father had a number of teachers whose names constitute a roll of honour in piping. Not only was he taught by his father but his other mentors included Angus MacKay, Archibald Munro, who composed Glengarry's Lament, and John and Peter Bruce from GleneIg.

      It is little wonder that, with this instruction and outstanding native ability, Calum Piobaire became the greatest player of his age.

      This was the cloak of Scottish history that Angus Macpherson wore with such dignity and courtesy during his long life and which was embroidered so handsomely by his own son Malcolm, one of the greatest piobaireachd players of this century, whom he taught in his early years.

      Many, throughout the world, will share the sentiment of his old and trusted friend, Seton Gordon, who said: "I sorrow deeply that his stay here has ended." And if one can paraphrase the great Dr. Johnson, there is no doubt but that Angus Macpherson will be mentioned in history, and if courtesy and love of his native music and language be virtues, mentioned with honour.

      Readers may care to note that Angus told his own life story in his book, A HIGHLANDER LOOKS BACK published by the Oban Times, a book which gives fascinating glimpses of life in the times of Old Cluny of the nineteenth century. -- Editor.


Mr. Edward McTavish MacPherson

      A service was held at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Invercargill, for Mr. Edward McTavish Macpherson who had been Secretary of the Clan Macpherson Association in Invercargill since its inception in 1947 and had always given most willingly of his time. Mr. Duncan MacPherson, organist of St. Paul's, and a committee member of the Association, played specially chosen Scottish music as the service ended.

      Mr. Macpherson was born at Chryston, near Glasgow in Scotland. His father died at an early age, the family moving to live in Manchester, where his oldest brother Tommy, later Lord Macpherson of Drumochter, took over as head of the family.

      At the age of twenty-one Edward and three of his sisters emigrated to New Zealand. Edward spent some years in Dunedin before coming to Invercargill where he spent the rest of his life, apart from serving five years overseas during World War II. He did return to his homeland during that period when on long leave from the forces.

      A member of the Returned Services Association, he was also very keen on all sport, particularly cricket, soccer and fishing.

      He was always young in his outlook and very interested in young people.

      He is survived by his wife, daughter, Mrs. Mary Lindsay, and two grandchildren.

* * *

      On 2 March, 1976, to Diane (neé Annetts) and Andrew Gordon ('Tav') Macpherson at Calgary, Alberta, a son, Scott Gordon.

      On 13 May, 1976, to Sarah (neé Coles) and James Kenneth Macpherson, at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, a son, Charles Douglas.

      On 2 December, 1976, to Alexander and Pauline McPherson at Melbourne, Australia, a son Calum Fergus.


      At the Memorial Service to Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod held at St. Columba's Church of Scotland, Pont Street, London SW1, on the 15 December, 1976, William A. Macpherson of Cluny attended.       Honorary vice-presidents of the Clan Macpherson Association, Major J. E. Macpherson and Ronald W. G. Macpherson, together with the following members of the England and Wales Branch attended, Neil H. Macpherson, Miss Shiona Macpherson, Harry and Nan Macpherson-Symons, Andrew Gillies and Ewen S. L. Macpherson.

      At the Tenth Annual Convocation of the Heraldry Society of Canada, the Lieutenant-Govemor of Ontario, the Hon. Pauline McGibbon, conferred the Society's first fellowships on four Canadians in recognition of their contribution to the art and science of Heraldry. Among those so honoured was R. Gordon M. Macpherson of Burlington, Ontario, vice-chairman of the Canadian Branch of the Clan Association and formerly hon. secretary of the Branch from 1957 to 1975. An honorary fellowship was conferred on Sir James Monteith Grant, K.C.V.0., W.S., Lord Lyon King of Arms.



8 Brooklyn Avenue,
Manchester 16.
8 November, 1976

Dear Fellow Clansmen,
      In the last issue of Creag Dhubh was a piece about a course in Gaelic. As a result of reading this, I have started this course.       I am enjoying it very much and have completed three assignments. You get a text book and tapes to start (more to come later) and you also have a tutor in Scotland with whom you correspond and send taped exercises.

      I can recommend this to anyone; it is designed for non-Gaelic speakers. My only Gaelic was 'igian dhubh' - (och aye) -- now I can say such shattering things as: 'Tha Iain agus Mairi ag eirigh trath anns a' mhaddcuirn Di-luain'.

      The address for details is: N.E.C. (National Extension College), 131 Hills Road, Cambridge.

      If, after six weeks, you don't like the course or find it too difficult (unlikely), you can get your money returned.

Yours faithfully,


* * *

1977 RALLY

The rally will be held in Newtonmore and Kingussie from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th August and will take the usual form. Full details will be issued later with the notices for the annual general meeting.


NOTES (blank)


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