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The Black Wedder's White Tail

The composer of this piobaireachd tune, The Black Wedder's White Tail, is unknown but the probability lies with a 16th century MacGregor.

 

The issue that eventually led to the Rout of Glenfruin, 1603, flowed from the theft of a black sheep by two MacGregors 76 years earlier. The two men had killed a black sheep owned by Colquhoun and had stopped to feast on the carcass. The sheep was distinctive for its white tail. The MacGregors were captured and summarily executed. Thus, were the seeds sown of a long standing feud between MacGregors and the Colquhouns with their Buchanan allies, a feud that grew in intensity with each passing year.

 

In 1603, the MacGregors with the help of some allies successfully ambushed a small Colquhoun-Buchanan army at Glenfruin. But, that was not enough for them. They sacked Luss and the Lennox and made off with several hundred cattle and sheep and anything else they could carry.

 

James VI was dismayed at the inability of his nobles to contain the MacGregors and angry at the many broken promises of MacGregor to keep the King's Peace. He issued a proscription that banned the name of MacGregor and banned them from carrying arms. Over the years other proscriptions followed, with some temporary relief during the reign of Charles II. It was not until 1795 that laws penalizing the clan were abolished.

 

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