Allan Campbell – Thursday April 21, 2022

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Disathairne seo chaidh bha dà cheud seachdad is sia bliadhna chun an latha bho chuireadh blàr Chùil Lodair agus, mar a tha e air dèanamh bho 1925, chomharraich Comann Gàidhlig Inbhir Nis (CGI) an ceann bliadhna. Dà bhliadhna air ais b’ fheudar an t-seirbheis cuimhneachaidh a chur dheth ri linn riaghailtean Covid, agus an uiridh chaidh an t-seirbheis a chumail air-loidhne, ach am bliadhna bha CGI glè thoilichte gun robh lasachadh riaghailtean a’ ciallachadh gum b’ urrainnear cruinneachadh air raon a’ bhlàir a-rithist airson na seirbheis. Theagamh nach b’ annasach gun robh mòran sluaigh cuideachd a’ gabhail tlachd a’ saorsa gluasad a-mach am measg a’ chèile a-rithist, agus thar nam bliadhnaichean a tha mi fhìn air a bhith a’ frithealadh na seirbheis cuimhneachaidh chan eil beachd agam air uimhir a dhaoine fhaicinn an làthair. Eu-coltach ri latha a’ bhlàir a-rèir eachdraidh, bha an aimsir Disathairne seo chaidh fàbharach da-rìribh, agus dh’èist na ceudan sluaigh gu modhail ri seirbheis cuimhneachaidh ris an do chuir sàr phìobaireachd Eòghainn MhicCruimein, agus seinn sailm Gàidhlig fo stiùir an Urramaich Dòmhnall MacSuain, faireachdainn air-leth tiamhaidh. Bha e na thlachd agus na adhbhar moite dhomh fhìn air an latha a bhith a’ gabhail thairis mar Cheannard Urramach CGI airson na bliadhna romhainn agus b’ e a chiad uallach a bh’ agam òraid ghoirid a’ lìbhrigeadh aig an t-seirbheis cuimhneachaidh.

Nam m’ inntinn is mi a’ deasachadh na bha mi dol a’ ràdh  bha an aithne ann an sloinneadh mo theaghlaich air taobh m’ athair, gun robh mo cheathramh sìn-seanair, Iain Dubh Caimbeul, aig Blàr Chùil Lodair. Cha robh MacLeòid Dhùn Bheagain ann, ach bha uachdaran Oighreachd Ghlinn Dail deònach taic a’ nochdadh agus cha robh roghainn aig luchd-còmhnaidh na h-oighreachd ach dèanamh mar a dh’iarradh orra. Sin mar a thàinig Iain Dubh gu bhith aig Cùil Lodair, ach gu fortanach dhà thug e a’ bheatha às a’ bhlàr agus fhuair e dhachaigh gu ruige Gleann Dail ach cha robh a’ shaoghal ach glè riaslach fad ùine mhòr as dèidh sin. Bha na saighdearan Hanobhairianach a’ siubhal na Gàidhealtachd a’ lorg luchd-taice nan Stiùbhartach, agus le airgead brathaidh ga thairgsinn bha daonnan cunnart gun gèilleadh daoine bochda agus gum brathadh iad feadhainn a bha a’ falach.  Gu fàbharach cha do dh’èirich sin dha Iain Dubh, ach tha eachdraidh an teaghlaich ag innse gur e Iain Dubh nam Beann am far-ainm a bh’ air mu dheireadh leis gum b’ fheudar  dha uimhir a dh’ùine a chur seachad na fhògarrach a’ falach air na monaidhean, a’ seachnadh nan saighdearan.

Bidh còirichean nam mathair-adhbhar air gach cogadh, ach ’s e mo bheachd gun robh a’ mhòr-chuid de na chailleadh anns gach cogadh an sàs air sgàth ’s gun deach an òrdachadh ann. Gun teagamh bha fianais air gaisge air gach taobh, agus borbachd, ach dha cus theaghlaichean agus choimhearsnachdan cha robh dìleab aca ach aonranachd bhrònach leantainneach, agus ainmean shnaidhte a’ crìonadh air cùirn-cuimhne. Guidheamaid, mar sin, gun toirear cothrom a-rithist dhan t-sìth!

Last Saturday marked the 276th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden when the traditional powers, and to an extent much of the cultural foundations of Scotland’s Clan system, were shattered in a short but bloody battle which had a long and equally bloody aftermath.

Since 1925 Inverness Gaelic Society has marked the anniversary with a commemorative service for those fallen on both sides and following two years of Covid restrictions the society was pleased to be able to hold a live service again this year. Several hundred people attended the event.

Commencing a one-year term as Honorary Chief of the Society, my first duty was to deliver a short speech at the service, and I focused on my own family.

Intergenerational family history tells me that my four times great-grandfather, John Campbell, fought on the Jacobite side not because he particularly supported the Prince, but because his landlord chose to do so and ordered his tenants to battle!

Iain ‘Dubh’ Caimbeul (Black-haired John Campbell) survived and made it back to Glendale in Skye, but he had to spend much of his subsequent life hiding in caves on the moors to avoid capture by Hanovarian soldiers searching for Jacobite supporters. Consequently, John became known as Iain Dubh nam Beann  (Black John of the Hills)!

On Remembrance Sunday each year people pray that world leaders will favour diplomacy over strife, but as has been so sadly demonstrated recently in the Ukraine the fear of escalation to nuclear conflict can prevent humanitarian military intervention and allow a tyrant to destroy a neighbouring state.

Wars invariably evolve around rights, but I believe that a substantial majority of those who perished in these wars did so because they were ordered to battle, and the only legacy for their families and communities is a lasting loneliness, and the names of loved ones fading on memorials.

I started my comments with the proverb that peace always follows war and I asked that, as we honoured the memories of all who fought and died on both sides at Culloden and in every war since, including millions of civilians cruelly caught in conflict, we also pray that the world might once more give peace a chance!