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Dance Keppoch's Rant 3444

Strathspey · 32 bars · 3 couples · Longwise - 4   (Progression: 213)

Devised by
David Rutherford (1756)
844 808 888 888 = 83% (1 turn), 62% (whole dance)
  • Strathspey setting, Strathspey travel
Published in
Recommended Music
Extra Info
Keppoch's Rant

Over many centuries ruthless feuding over land was a way of life for many Highland clans and the MacDonells of Keppoch were outstanding at predatory warfare. The last clan battle in the Highlands was fought at Mulroy on 4 August, 1688, when Keppoch defeated Macintosh, the MacDonell’s hereditary enemy.

Brae, or Upper Lochaber, the original land of Keppoch, is in Inverness-shire and lies roughly east of Ben Nevis toward Loch Lochy and along Glen Spean. The 18th century Keppoch House, successor to a much older house, is at Roy Bridge where the Roy River joins the Spean.

The Clan Ranald of Lochaber, the MacDonells of Keppoch and Garragach, are one of the nine main branches of Clan Donald. The spelling was altered in the 17th century.

John MacDonald, 1st Lord of the Isles, married, as his second wife, Margaret Stewart, daughter of Robert II, and by her had three sons. Upon the death of the first Lord of the Isles, he was succeeded by the eldest son of his second marriage, Donald, who gave vast territories to his younger brothers. To John, he gave in vassaldom Islay and Kintyre, while Alasdair, known as Carroch, the “Warty”, became Lord of Lochaber and held the lands of Keppoch. Alasdair supported his brother, second Lord of the Isles, whose wife, Mary Leslie, was the daughter of the heritable Countess of Ross. In his fight against Robert, Duke of Albany, for the Earldom of Ross which culminated in a defeat of the MacDonalds at Harlaw in Aberdeenshire, a battle called the “Reid Harlaw” for the amount of blood spilled, on 24 July, 1411. In 1424, however, the Earldom of Ross was confirmed by James I as the right of Donald’s widow, Mary Leslie, and Alexander, 3rd Lord of the Isles, became Earl of Ross in 1429. Alasdair of Lochaber and Keppoch rushed to the aid of a nephew, Donald Balloch of Islay, in 1431 against Royalist forces and for his part in the insurrection his lands in Lochaber were given to the Macintosh who had fought on the Royalist side. The MacDonells of Keppoch stoutly refused ever to recognise Macintosh as their superior and until 1688 they fought the “right of the sheepskin” with the “might of the sword”, a struggle which ended at Mulroy.

The history of the MacDonells of Keppoch is one of continual strife. For them, the word “peace” held no meaning, within the clan or in the world beyond their glens. John, Iain Alainn, 4th of Keppoch, was deposed by the clan elders when he delivered over a clansman, a trouble-maker, to the Macintosh for punishment, an act condemned by the elders as recognition of the Macintosh as an overlord. Ranald, 9th of Keppoch, was an outlaw during most of his lifetime, during part of which he took refuge in the Swedish army, while Donald Glas, 11th of Keppoch, served in the Spanish army. Alexander, 12th of Keppoch, and his younger brother were murdered in 1663 by discontented clansmen. When no one was punished for the crime, Iain Lom, one of the great clan bards, who was made Poet Laureate of Scotland by Charles II, brought pressure upon Eneas MacDonald, 9th of Glengarry, and Sir James MacDonald of Sleat, and the murderers were captured and executed. At Tobair-nan-ceann, the “well of the heads”, near Invergarry, the heads of the murderers were washed before they were presented to Glengarry.

Coll, 15th of Keppoch, was called “Coll of the Cows” by James Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, under whom he served and whose grudging admiration he won for his ability to locate beasts to feed the Jacobite army, was rebellious by nature and he held his land by force of arms for over forty years. As a boy he had been imprisoned by the magistrates of Inverness through the influence of the Macintosh and he carried his anger for many years. In 1688 Coll led his clan at Mulroy against the Macintosh and in 1689, when out with Dundee, he laid siege to the city that had imprisoned him as a boy. He demanded 4,000 merks in ransom and the city was saved only by the angry intervention of Dundee himself.

Coll’s son, Alexander, 16th of Keppoch, was cut from the same cloth and only the romantic overtones of the Rising of 1745 soften the sword-sharp edges of his combative spirit. Alexander was among the first to arrive to greet Prince Charles Edward in Du Teillay when it anchored in Loch-nan-Uamh. On 19 August, 1745, Keppoch and 300 of his men were at Glenfinnan soon after the Royal Standard was raised, signalling the beginning of the Rising of 1745. With others, he was instrumental in the ploy that put Edinburgh into the hands of the Jacobite troops and enabled Prince Charles Edward to enter the city in triumph on 17 September. He led his MacDonalds at the victory of Prestonpans on 21 September against the Hanoverians under Sir John Cope and on 5 December he was at Derby with the prince. (See “The Eight Men of Moidart”) At Culloden on 16 April, 1746, Keppoch, his brother Donald, and his sons, both legitimate and natural, and his clansmen charged the Hanoverian lines like mountain lions. Donald was killed and Keppoch was severely wounded in the arm by Pulteney’s musketry. While he was being helped from the thick of the battle, he was struck again, this time in the back and he was left for dead. Angus Ban, one of his sons, found him still alive and carried him to a small bothy filled with other wounded where he died, one of the two clan chiefs to die on Culloden Moor.

Keppoch's Rant 3/4L · S32
1c+2c circle4 L for {3}, then 1c cast off while{1} 2c dance up ; 1c+3c repeat to the R (to 2,3,1)
3c+1c set | ½R&L | cross to own side
2c+1c+3c circle6 and back
2c+1c+3c turn RH ; turn LH
Keppoch's Rant 3/4L · S32
1s+2s circle 4H round to left for 3 steps, 1s cast to 2nd place as 2s dance up, 1s+3s repeat this Fig circling to right
3s+1s set, dance 1/2 R&L & cross RH
2s+1s+3s circle 6H round & back
2s+1s+3s turn partners RH & turn LH

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Twice through only with a few problems here …

Added on: 2019-02-08 (Murrough Landon)
Quality: Informal/Social (RSCDS)

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