William MacDonald

(1843 - ?)

william-macdonald-1867-263j
William MacDonald as the piper to the Prince of Wales in 1867.

Known as the composer of “Leaving Glenurquhart” (originally known as “Tulloch MacCarrick”), William MacDonald was the brother of Alexander MacDonald, who was the father of John MacDonald of Inverness, and Duncan MacDonald.

He was born in Easgart, in Glenurquhart and taught by Donald Cameron and Duncan MacKay. He was described as a foremost piper of his day and won the Gold Medal at Inverness in 1869. He was piper to MacPherson of Glentruim for two year, and in 1965 was appointed piper to the Prince of Wales at Abergeldie. “Tulloch MacCarrick” was a farm near Balmoral, whose tenant was a lover of pipe music and who frequently hosted notable pipers visiting Balmoral Castle.

Like many of his day, MacDonald played on the right shoulder.

Though he was said to be a quiet, unassuming man, he was seized with religious zeal later in life and reportedly destroyed his pipes and swore off all music.

JM, January 2008
-with notes from “Notices of Pipers”, Piping Times, March 1971, and “Reminiscences of Robert Meldrum,” Piping Times, 1951.