Argyll prepares for the invasion of the Maclaines
KINSMEN of Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie from 11 different countries will attend this year’s Argyllshire Gathering on August 24, before touring clan sites on the Isle of Mull.
This will be the first time since the early 1900s that the clan has attended the gathering in such numbers, its chief told The Oban Times, and there will be a clan tent at which all Maclaines and Macleans will be welcomed.
Clan Lean, founded by a medieval warlord descended from the royal Cenél Loairn called Gillean of the Battle Axe, split more than 500 years ago into two clans with two chiefs: Clan Maclean of Duart and Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie.
In 1360, the Lord of the Isles granted the first Lochbuie chief, Hector the Astute or Hector the Stern, lands on Mull occupied by the MacFadyens. Clan legend tells of Hector climbing the barmkin’s defensive wall and firing an arrow at a bone from which the MacFadyen chief was eating, whereupon, apparently, he took his leave and departed.
In another legend, the clan’s website explains, Hector was given permission to build his castle ‘no bigger than the skins of four deer’. So the Astute Hector cut the skins into continuous thin slivers and laid the pieces end to end, and established the ground plan of Moy Castle.
In 1752, John, 17th Lochbuie, abandoned the castle when he moved to a new house, in which he entertained Dr Samuel Johnson and his biographer James Boswell during their famous tour of the Highlands in 1773.
Boswell wrote: ‘We had heard a great deal of Lochbuie being a great roaring braggadocio both in size and manners. The truth is that Lochbuie proved to be a bluff, comely, noisy old gentleman, proud of his hereditary consequence, and a very hearty and hospitable landlord.’
Boswell also admitted drinking a whole bottle of Lochbuie’s ‘admirable port’, and suffering Johnson’s reprimand the next day.
The current chief, Lorne Maclaine of Lochbuie, the 26th Baron of Moy, lives in South Africa but is travelling to Oban for this year’s Argyllshire Gathering, before leading the Clan Maclaine’s own gathering on Mull and touring the island’s historical sites.
For the Lochbuie kinsmen, Oban will be the second stage of their week-long gathering in Scotland.
On Tuesday August 22, their clan will be the featured clan at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Thereafter they come to Oban, and then travel to Mull for their official clan gathering at Lochbuie.
Lochbuie has also sponsored a new piping competition – the Coel Beag – that will be awarded to the aggregate winner of both the March and Strathspey/reel competitions at the Argyllshire Gathering.
In South Africa, Lochbuie founded the first Highland gathering to feature ‘heavy athletics’.
‘South African gatherings had previously been solely piping and drumming competitions,’ said Lochbuie, ‘ but the inclusion of heavy athletics has added appreciably to the enjoyment of the day. There are some 50 odd pipe bands in South Africa, so its fair to say Scottish culture is alive and well in Africa.’