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The Bard of Kingussie Remembered

The Bard of Kingussie Remembered

There was recently a small but nevertheless important event when the resting place of Donald Campbell - The Bard of Badenoch - was restored and one of his songs brought back to public attention.

Donald Campbell (1799-1875), commonly known as Dòmhnall Phàil, was a renowned Gaelic poet and songwriter of the nineteenth century, his most famous song being "The Emigrants Song" which was written in 1838 after the poet had witnessed the departure of over 200 local crofters to Australia due to harsh living conditions and after a series of poor harvests.

Speaking to The Strathy (24th November) local historian  John Robertson said "Donald Campbell was the Bard of Kingussie. He was not only a figure of local importance but of national status, having written many very well-known Gaelic songs which are sung to this day. The best known is his Emigrants Song. The song captures just what it was like for them. Can you imagine what it must have been like to set off for the other side of the world in 1838? There was no chance they could ever raise the money to return home to their own land. They were cutting themselves off from their homeland forever."

The re-dedication on the Bard's headstone was lead by the Kingussie Arts Network and assisted by Highland Council, The Gaelic Society of Inverness and Historic Scotland.
The headstone can be found in Kingussie's Middle Churchyard, on the High Street behind the Flying Carpets shop.

Further Information:

- More about Donald Campbell and one of his songs (in Gaelic) sung by Sheila Mackay
- Gaelic Society of Inverness - Restoration of Donald Campbell's Gravestone
- Online version of "The Poetry of Badenoch" by Thomas Sinton (1906) - Donald Campbell's poems are on P.36, P.65, P.69, P.139, P.156