A set of enchanted bagpipes which were played at Bannockburn will make music for only the fourth time in 200 years at a clan gathering in Oban this month.
The World Gathering of MacIntyres takes place in Oban and Taynuilt from July 17-22.
The Faery Pipes of Kinlochmoidart are normally kept in a special case in the West Highland Museum in Fort William.
It is said they have never been played in a battle which has been lost.
They are the oldest Highland pipes in existence and were handmade by a MacIntyre piper more than 800 years ago. These pipes are reputed to be the first pipes ever with two holes.
The story goes that the MacIntyre piper had made his own chanter, and then in a dream a faery came to him and said: “Heat up your poker until it’s white hot and pierce the bottom of your chanter side to side and it will make the sweetest sounding pipes in Scotland.”
These days, the chanter is the only part left of the original Faery Pipes and the holes look as though they were burned in by a poker.
At the clan’s banquet in the Argyllshire Gathering Halls on Friday, July 20, the pipes will be played by Andrew Macintyre from Edinburgh.
They will be played again on Sunday, July 22, by Ruaraidh Petre, nephew of Archie McIntyre, a descendant of the MacIntyres who formerly possessed them.
This time they will be in Glenoe, the ancestral lands of MacIntyres, at Loch Etive between Oban and Taynuilt. A ceremony will be held at a Cairn to the Chiefs of Clan MacIntyre. In addition, the chief’s son will be at this Gathering which is the first time the family has returned to Scotland since emigrating to the US in 1822.
Dr Alison Macintyre, organiser of the gathering, said: “The pipes have been out three times in 200 years. The last time was at the 2008 MacIntyre banquet when they were played by Archie McIntyre.
“The West Highland Museum is being very gracious in letting us use the Faery Pipes.
“They are enchanted pipes and we are really excited to have them at the banquet and on the Sunday. We think that with having the Faery Pipes played at Glenoe with the son of the chief present, we should be able to stir up some ancestors.”
Other highlights of the clan gathering include attending Taynuilt Highland Games, hikes, ceilidhs, boat tours and Gaelic workshops.