The Royal Scots Cap Badge


MacLeod Of MacLeod's Salute


MacLeod Of MacLeod's Salute is also known by the name, MacLeod's Rowing Piobaireachd. When well played the tune does conjure up an image of a swift–running birlinn manned at the oars by clansmen as it crosses the Minch. The tune was one of a trilogy composed by Donald Mor MacCrimmon to celebrate the reconciliation of the MacLeod's of Harris and Dunvegan with the MacDonald's of Sleat, including the Clanranald Macdonalds, circa 1603.


Under terms of reconciliation, both Chieftains were directed to disband their armies, to cease fighting and to release prisoners. To keep the King's peace, Ruaridh Mor was required to report to Archibald, Earl of Argyll and Donald Gorm to George, Marquis of Huntley. They were to remain with their overseers at the King's pleasure. Failure to comply would be treason, an offense that carried the penalty of death.


Although imposed on the Clans by King James VI, the reconciliation was well received. Both Clans had suffered from a century of intermittent warfare, with woeful losses of people and farm animals and grievious destruction of property. When the Chieftains were released from custody, a three–week celebration was arranged at Dunvegan. Donald Gorm was the guest of honor, with many Nobles, Chieftains and tacksmen from the Western Highlands and Islands also present.


Donald Mor was instructed to compose piobaireachd for the occasion. He complied with three:
  • MacLeod's Salute.
  • MacDonald's Salute.
  • MacLeod's Controversy.
It was a masterful stroke by a master of the art of cèol mor.


This tune was referred to as Failte Ruari Mor &ndash Salute to Ruaridh Mor &ndash by the Reverend Doctor Norman MacLeod when he visited Dunvegan in 1799 as a lad of 16 years of age. He referred to the tune as “the favorite salute of the clan”. It is possible that the tune's popularity with MacLeod Chieftains led to a broadening of the title.


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