Allan MacColl.
Allan MacColl.

Allan MacColl Snr., organiser of the Lochaber Gathering, has died. He was 79. He died last Friday (17th) peacefully in his sleep.

Allan will be buried tomorrow at 1.00pm at Glen Nevis Cemetery, Fort William.  However, given the current coronavirus pandemic, only his immediate family will be present.

Iain MacFadyen's 1978 recording released on Shone Records.
Iain MacFadyen’s 1978 recording released on Shona Records.

Allan was born in Moidart in the west highlands of Scotland and was very conscious of the Gaelic culture of his upbringing. His first job was working for the Forestry Commission but he then joined the Merchant Navy. Along with brother, Charlie, he ran the village shop in Acharacle. Together, they organised many ceilidhs and brought some leading Scottish entertainers to them. Allan had an extensive repertoire of Gaelic songs which he delivered in a beautiful tenor voice. Allan moved to Fort William in the mid-1970s where he and wife, Mary, raised their family and where Allan established his businesses. He, along with John Carmichael,  Fergie MacDonald, and Norman MacLean, established Shona Records in the mid-1970s. It was an ideal outlet for his passion for Gaelic culture. He later became involved with the International Pan-Celtic Council. By the early 1990s, he took it upon himself to revive the Lochaber Gathering. The event had at one time been a major part of the piping calendar but had fallen into the doldrums for many years. Its success today can be attributed to Allan.

We send our condolences to wife Mary, to Kirsteen, Allan Jnr., Iain and to his eight grandchildren. Allan’s brother, Charlie, died in 2015.

We have added the 1743 indenture between Lord Lovat and David Fraser to the website. The indenture, one of the most famous historical documents in piping, was essentially a legal contract between Lord Lovat and one of his pipers that Lovat wished to be sent to the MacCrimmons to perfect his piping.

The original document was found in the Scottish Record Office in 1981. Publication came soon after, firstly in The Scotsman then in The International Piper.

Lord Lovat was beheaded four years later for his part in the 1745-6 Jacobite Rising. Read the document HERE.

The Captain John A. MacLellan MBE Memorial Trust has confirmed the cancellation of this year’s prestigious Dinner/Recital. Trust Secretary, Colin MacLellan, said: “We have no alternative at this point to cancel, especially in view of the most recent news that the social distancing regulations which we are presently living under in the UK are likely to be extended past the summer. 

“We are sad that it is the likelihood that the entire piping calendar will be wiped out by this terrible health crisis and we hope and wish that pipers the world over will be able to stay safe and in the meantime be able to enjoy their piping. We look forward to meeting up again as soon as the opportunity presents itself. “

Organisers of the Lonach Gathering are asking for help in locating the Ben Thomson Trophy. The trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the Under 14 March competition, has been missing for at least six years.

If anyone can help please contact Patricia Grant at: