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International Gathering of Clan Cameron
2-5 August 2001
I had the honor and pleasure of attending this gathering, which brought together Camerons from six nations and also celebrated Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel's 50th year as Chief of Clan Cameron. The festivities were held on his estate. Below are pictures my husband and I took of the gathering. We had a wonderful time and are honored to be friends of Clan Cameron.
The gates of Achnacarry opened once again to welcome the gathering clan. To mark the event the foundation stones for a Clan Cameron cairn were laid beside the clan museum and an oak tree was planted to mark Lochiel's 50 years as chief.
On Friday, we toured the estate and learned about efforts at fish farming, deer stalking, cattle and sheep raising, and re-forestation. We also had the opportunity to visit the bridge where a scene from Rob Roy, starring Liam Neeson, was filmed.
The Historic Saltire Society re-enacted episodes from one of the bloodiest Highland feuds over the lands of Glenloy and Locharkaig, also known as the Disputed Lands. During the 14th century, Macintoshes occupied the area. When their chief received lands in Badenoch for his support of Bruce, members of the clan migrated and Camerons occupied Glenloy and Locharkaig, lands to which Macintosh held the charter. After Camerons raided Macintosh land, the Macintosh overtook them and fought the Camerons at the Battle of Invernahavon in 1370. Twenty-six years later twelve men each from Clan Cameron and Clan Macintosh fought with sword and targe in an arena surrounded by spectators. King Robert Bruce III judged the contest, which is believed to have been arranged in order to settle the dispute between the two clans. Debates continue to this day as to which clan was the victor; soon after the bitter feud resumed. Not until 1527 or 1528 did King James V resolve the matter when he granted a charter to the Disputed Lands to Clan Cameron. Macintosh, however, retained the right to continue to call himself "Macintosh of Torcastle."
The Queen's Own Highlanders Lochaber Schools Pipe Band
Asti Cameron composed a special tune, Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel 50 Years a Chief, for the occasion and played it as he piped in Lochiel, Clan Cameron's 26th chief, and his wife, Lady Margaret.
The march past Lochiel started with the officers of the Clan Cameron Association, Scotland. David R. Cameron (closest of the three men in foreground) is the president of the association and gave high marks to my novel about the Camerons during the 'Forty-five. (To read his review, check out my Reviews page.) On Thursday, David succeeded in ascending Ben Nevis, Britian's highest mountain at 4,406 feet. The other men in the photograph are Lord Cameron of Lochbroom, the association's Honorary Chieftain, and Captain John Cameron-Nixon of the 79th Cameron Highlanders Re-enactment (1796) Regiment.
Camerons from six nations - America, Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, and Scotland - attended the gathering. They paraded past Lochiel, who then welcomed them 'home'.
This bald eagle was part of the Falconry demonstration. Among the other events that entertained and instructed attendees were Highland dancing, helicopter rides, clay pigeon shooting, sheepshearing by hand, a sheepdog demonstration, cromach making, and a tug of war contest.
The original Achnacarry was destroyed after the Rising of 1745. The estate was forfeited to the Crown and the Camerons didn't regain it until 1784. Around 1802, the 22nd chief decided to build a new house and chose James Gillespie Graham as his architect. Lochiel's wife disliked the Highlands and after their separation, Lochiel abandoned the project. Not until their son became chief was Achnacarry completed. A highlight of the festivities allowed us to venture inside Lochiel's home. These weapons are displayed in the entry hall of Achnacarry.
Saturday evening the clan gathered at the Milton Hotel in Fort William for a ceilidh, a celebration of music, skits, and good cheer. Sunday, attendees were invited to worship at Achnacarry Church. In the afternoon, Clan Cameron took on Clan Fraser in a shinty match. The gathering ended with a "Survivors Barbecue."
Copyright © 2001-2010 Cindy Vallar
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