The Scottish Tattoo

The Scottish Show - South Coast Tour

"Massacre of Glencoe" Script

Military Band Scottish Medley inc. Road to the Isles.             

Piper plays from stage John MacDonald of Glencoe                                      

MacIain looking across gloom to Campbell

Is that you Campbell? Come to haunt me in heaven after murdering me in my own home?


Aye, itís me - Capt. Robert Campbell of Glenlyon. But I have not come to haunt you Alastair MacIain. Did ye no hear the heavenly music? Itís time for the reckoning. Time to put our story to the test and let the world decide which of us had right on his side.  



Murdering a man and his family in his own house can never be right.                    

Sir John Dalrymple, Master of Stair

Enters from the darkness

But I say rooting out such a damnable sept as the MacIains of Glencoe - the worst in the Highlands - is not a murder but a public service.                        


Massed Pipes & Drums

Cock oí the North, 4 parts Pibroch of Donald Dhu 4 parts         


The music of the Highlands stirs my memory. We MacDonalds of Glencoe gave you Campbells a bloody nose at Loch Awe and rescued Donald Dhu - the last surviving grandson of the Lord of the Isles.



A MacDonald yes - but he was only alive because he had a Campbell for a grandmother!



I admit we have not always been enemies. These lands were given to the MacDonaldís by King Robert Bruce himself - after MacDonalds and Campbells had fought side by side to defeat the MacDougalls who were with Balliol and the English. I was the 12th Chief. Although our clan has never numbered more than 500 we always managed to raise a hundred warriors.                                                

Massed Pipes & Drums - Wií a Hundred Pipers Colinsí Cattle, march off Shoals of Herring.


Whilst the Campbells prospered with Government support, gaining lands by force, marriage and trickery - you MacDonalds were nothing but murdering thieving scoundrels. Always raiding the lowlands, stealing cattle and taking your plunder back to your smoky stone hovels in the hills. Living on sheep, cattle meat and smoked herring was a savage way of life and your time ran out. The government could not have lawlessness so something had to be done!    

Wessex Military Band        

English Warlike music                                                                                

Campbell   to MacIain                                                                   5 secs

You and others drove me off my lands. Leaving me with drinking, gambling and army pay for my way of life.



So thatís why you came for me.


Massed Pipes & Drums 

The Campbells are coming, Glendaruel Highlanders.       



You brought it on yourself. You did not sign the oath of allegiance to King William of Orange until it was too late. That gave Dalrymple, the secretary of state, the excuse he needed to carry out the kingís orders to the letter.



But I was only 5 days late and I did sign.



But you were a Jacobite at heart MacIain and you and your kind were better put to death by fire and sword.



But see here Campbell, how I gave you and your troops true Highland hospitality for 10 days.

CEILIDH - 30 mins variety of song, music & dance


On the evening of 12th February 1692 my orders, countersigned by King William, were received by Captain Campbell and his true mission became known to him.

Reads out the order from scroll. "Duncanson's Order"


And at 5 oíclock next morning, as a beacon was lit on Signal Hill - I obeyed that fateful order.

Carnage here as the Country Dancers stand and put others to death - some running off screaming. When done everyone is still and the Country Dancers - still standing -have their heads bowed. The stage will have some dead bodies laying on it for effect. Stage still dim.

Piper plays Ballad of Glencoe solo once through during the carnage then joined by other bands.

Moments silence then John Scott (MacIain), from centre stage spot on, sings Ballad of Glencoe throughout (unaccompanied) all those on stage (alive) join the chorus but when not singing or playing all heads bowed.      

At end all heads bowed and silence (audience applause probably unless they are all crying!)


MacIain      to Campbell.                                                                 

In murdering me and my kin you violated the highland code of hospitality.


Campbell    moving to join MacIain

Aye and it haunts me to this day - but I had no choice. I had reason enough to kill you but how, when and where was not of my choosing. My quarrel was with you. I spared your sons and grandson and out of 300 of your clan only 38 died that day.



But more died in the hills, from cold and starvation.



And good riddance!

3 years after the massacre, a commission cleared the king and blamed me for the murders. I had to resign - but when you do your duty and do right - you need not trouble yourself to take the pains to vindicate yourself. I was soon back in favour.


MacIain to audience and joined by Campbell and Dalrymple.                       

So, on this anniversary of the massacre of me and my clan - we need you to decide which of us is perhaps the most guilty.



Aye, if you believe that the thieving MacIain, gestures to him the MacDonald of Glencoe, was most at fault - shout aye.

Audience responds.


And if you think it was Robert Campbell of Glenlyon shout aye now.

Audience responds.


But if you think, after hearing our story, that the true culprit was Sir John Dalrymple, Master of Stair and Secretary of State - let it be known now!

Hopefully a huge audience roar but you never know!


The matter is finally settled. Henceforth, may our clanfolk work together for the good of Scotland and Britain.

MacIain & Campbell go off - pals together! Issue solved after 300 years!

Second Half

Compere to announce "Please welcome back the Massed P&Ds"

Massed Pipes & Drums                                                  

79th Farewell to Gibralter, Molly Connell, Orange & Blue, High Road to Linton, The Kilt is My Delight. Lochanside.

Military Band                                                             

Country Dancers       

Highland Dancers

Highland meets Country                                                

Ian Powrie's farewell to Auchterarder                  All move to sides when


Robert Baird Scottish Dance band featuring Elliot Goldie          10

Scottish Medley to include singalongs Skye Boat Song, Wild Mountain Thyme,Loch Lomond. Verse chorus. Also Robert to advise what others so words can be put in programme.

Sunset Ceremony

Massed Pipes & Drums       Band will enter and line up mid stage and form

Liberton Boys Pipe Band

Combined Bands

Amazing Grace                  Soloist Piper Olivia McLennan                                  

Combined Bands

Highland Cathedral                                         

Compere introduces

Military Band                                                             

Rule Britannia               Soloist Elizabeth Nunns                                        

Evening Hymn & Sunset                                                                             

Lone Piper                                                                                    

Military Band                                                                                          1 min

National Anthem


Massed Pipes & Drums                                                  

Flower of Scotland                                                                           

Auld Lang Syne                                                                               


Combined Bands

We're no awa' to bide awa', Highland Laddie, The Black Bear           

© Ian McLennan. "The Scottish Tattoo" 1999


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