Thursday, February 14, 2008
The hand-less piper of Duntrune Castle.
Loch Crinan is guarded on its north shore by the austere greyness of the tower of Duntrune Castle. It dates from the 12th century and was a Campbell stronghold for many centuries but has been owned by the Malcolm family since 1792. It is reputed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited buildings in Scotland and as such it is unfortunately not open to the public.
It is haunted by the ghost of a hand-less piper. He was a MacDonald who was captured in the early 1600’s. His life was spared, as he was known as a fine piper, but he was imprisoned with his pipes in a small room at the top of the tower. One day, from his high vantage point he saw his chief's (Coll MacDonald) galley approaching a Campbell ambush. He played a lament "Cholla mo Run, Seachain a Dun" or “My beloved Coll, avoid the castle”. The Campbells were so incensed by his warning that they cut his hands off so he would never play again.
Of course, there are often two sides to stories involving the MacDonalds and the Campbells. Coll had sent the piper as a spy into the Campbell Castle.