CHIEF'S HEIR IS PRESENTED WITH BIRTHDAY GIFTS
The hills and glens of Achnacarry, Inverness-shire, echoed on Saturday to the march of the Cameron men, as clansmen from near and far gathered at the clan seat to celebrate the coming of age of Donald Angus Cameron, the chief's heir.
By bus, car, on foot, and even over the hill by pony, they came to join the celebrations. On the parks in front of the castle clansmen from as far away as New Zealand and America mixed with Camerons from Oban, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, and London, at one of the biggest get-togethers the clan has had since the '45.
The chief Col D.H. Cameron of Lochiel, Donald Angus and members of the family greeted and shook hands with clansmen as they arrived - and there were more than 1,000 of them.
Later they chatted with the crowd and showed them over the family home, stately Achnacarry Castle.
There was a non-stop programme of entertainment which included a six-a-side shinty match in which a team of Camerons were beaten 2-1 by Kilmallie. Molly Cameron's all-girl team of Highland dancers delighted the crowd and another highlight was a demonstration of sheepdog handling given by Mr Dugald Cameron, a Locheilside crofter. There were tug-o-war matches, a shooting contest and pony rides for the children while the Fort William Pipe Band in their Clan Cameron tartan kilts played most of the afternoon.
Appetites, sharpened by such activity, did full justice to a meal of salmon and venison from the chief's estate specially prepared and served in a marquee on the grounds.
During the afternoon the huge gathering saw the young heir who is a student at Oxford presented with a number of gifts.
From the clan association at home and abroad there was a handsome Webley shotgun and a pair of binoculars. In handing them over, Mr Alex. D. Cameron, Largs, the president of the clan association, said that Saturday was a milestone in the lives of every member of the clan and a day of joy because it marked the coming of age of Donald Angus Cameron Yr of Lochiel.
In this country we were going through a difficult time, a time of re-adjustment from the majesty of empire to the realisation that two super powers now strode the earth - and were not one of them. It was a time during which we were questioning our origins. But this was no new thing. England had faced it in the days of Elizabeth I when the super powers of the day were Spain and France. And what had happened to Great Britain over the next 300 years? There had been a steady improvement in the standard of living of all the people and an increasingly important say in the affairs of the world for this country. Various reasons had been given but the one he thought most likely was audacious leadership that never doubted the way it was going or the rightness of its cause. It was a leadership backed wholeheartedly by the people of the country. It was a leadership seen at its splendid best as recently as 1940.
Went on Mr Cameron: "Today we are gathered to do honour to one who will inescapably become a leader in his own country. One who will always have to weigh up his actions in the light of the effect that they will have on those looking for a lead. One who must train himself mentally and physically for the responsibilities of his life. We are gathered here for the purpose of wishing him well on his journey through life. He is a fine young man and although it has been said that no one can command success, we know that by reason his own character and by his heritage he will always deserve it."
Then one of the oldest tenants on the Lochiel Estates, 84-year-old Mr Donald Kennedy, a famous athlete in his day, presented young Lochiel with an inscribed silver salver on behalf of all the estate tenants.
From Dugie MacLachlan, representing Kilmallie shinty team, there was a silver quaich, and Iain Cameron, Glencoe, who plays for Glasgow Mid Argyll, handed to young Lochiel a caman.
Finally, from the burgh of Fort William itself there was a silver dirk presented by the town's provost, Canon G.K.B. Henderson.
In expressing his gratitude for these fine gifts, the chief's son said that it made him feel very small to realise that the main reason for this huge gathering was his coming of age.
Then with a smile the young heir revealed that there was another good reason for a family celebration, Saturday being his sister Anne's 25th birthday.
It was to his sorrow, said Donald Angus that he could not be at home at Achnacarry as much as he would like to be. He loved it up there, was proud to be Scottish and particularly a Cameron, and hoped in the future to be able to spend more time at Achnacarry and to get to know them all better, particularly the crofters of whom his father and grandfather had spoken so warmly. The generosity extended to him that day made him realise how lucky he was, especially in that he was a member of what no one there would dare dispute was the greatest clan in the world.
His grandparents and parents had managed to keep Achnacarry and the estate together to a very large extent and he knew that as this was the home of many of those present as well as his, they would join him in thanking them. He only hoped to carry on their good work and weather any storms that might arise in the future."
Lochiel in his remarks extended a warm welcome to all members of the clan from home and overseas, to all members of septs of the clan and to those whose membership depended on relationships going far back, or historical associations.
They also welcomed all other friends and especially those who lived and worked today in Cameron country even though they had not - as was the custom in olden days - taken the name of Cameron, and he had in mind particularly the crofters on the Lochiel Estates, many of whom had occupied their crofts for several generations.
PLEDGE TO SERVE
Prior to 1745 lands had been held from the chiefs of chieftain in return for a pledge of service in battle when required. By this means mobilisation for a raid down south was quick and easy and the assembly of some 900 men on that very spot at the raising of the standard was accomplished in a very few days.
The Gentle Lochiel had fulfilled his pledge of loyalty to his prince but in so doing he knew full well the hopelessness of the cause and no doubt foresaw also that failure would mean the death of the clan system as it then exited.
Continued Lochiel" "The clan spirit still survives and indeed is probably stronger in many ways than it was 100 years ago, but in a different form than prior to 1745. I am not going to take up your time enlarging on the meaning of the clan today or its purpose in the modern world although I do hold strongly to the view that the continuity and the unity of a clan scattered as it is today throughout the world can and does serve a useful purpose even in these days."
That day, however, they were there to celebrate the coming of age of his older son Donald. In the olden days to which he had referred earlier the chief had had to prove acceptable to the clan, usually by showing himself a good leader in battle and the clan could always choose another chief if they so desired. This had rarely happened but he thought the Lochiel family must be almost unique in their good fortune because the chiefship of the clan had descended from father to son, occasionally through an uncle or brother, in unbroken succession for as far back as their history recorded, and that was over 600 years.
He was sure that Donald would get the same friendship from the Clan Cameron and from the crofters, tenants and feuars of Lochiel Estates that it had been his own good fortune to receive ever since he had come of age almost 37 years ago. In a world that was changing rapidly it was more difficult than ever to foresee what the future would hold for his son, but he was quite sure that Donald would merit their friendship and loyalty in the years to come and that with this support he would be able to face with confidence all the problems that were likely to confront him in the future.
The clan sent a message of loyalty to the Queen and received a telegram of thanks from Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh.
But perhaps the biggest cheer of the day was reserved for a warm message which came from the Queen Mother. Her telegram read: "In 1946 I sent to your grandparents a message of congratulation on the birth of a grandson. Now, in 1967, I would like to convey to you my warmest good wishes on your coming of age."
Also read was a letter from the colonel of the Queen's Own Highlanders, conveying to the assembled clan the good wishes of a regiment which for 150 years had maintained the closest links with the clan.
HONOUR TO N.Z.
There was a place of honour on the platform where the presentations were carried out for Mr Douglas Cameron from Wanganui, New Zealand, who is the vice president of the New Zealand Clan Cameron Association. His great grandfather, who left Scotland in 1839, was married on Lismore and Mr Cameron hopes to visit that island while he is over here. He is a sheep farmer in New Zealand.
The gathering ended with a ceilidh at which the artistes taking part included Pipe Major Alex MacDonald, Fort William; R. MacKellaig, Glenfinnan; May MacDonald, Fort William, Ian Kennedy and John Cameron; Mrs Hepburn, Mallaig; Argo Cameron, Bonar Bridge; John Urquhart, Bonar Bridge; Ina MacDiarmid, Greenock; A. MacDonald, Caol; Evelyn MacDonald, Caol; Mrs MacIntosh, Fort William; Hector Kennedy, Corpach; and A. MacKellor, Achnacarry.
A record of the occasion on film was made by an Edinburgh member of the clan, Miss Audrey Cameron. A former president of the London branch of the Clan Cameron Association, Miss Cameron had a career in the entertainment world extending over 50 years, 25 of which were spent with the BBC. Last year she was awarded the MBE for her services to the theatre.
CHIEF'S HEIR HONOURED BY CLANSMEN
For the fifth time since 1938 members of Clan Cameron on Saturday rallied at Achnacarry in Inverness-shire, the home of their chief, this time to celebrate the coming of age of Lochiel's elder son, Donald Angus Cameron Yr of Lochiel. A presentation ceremony took place on the park in front of Achnacarry and a programme of entertainments continued throughout the afternoon. The rally ended with a traditional Highland ceilidh which continued into the evening. The young heir, who is a student at Oxford, plans to follow a career in accountancy.