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Updated 04/29/2013


Farewell to Nigg
Duncan Johnstone

Nigg is a small village on the northeast coast of Scotland on Nig Bay.  The Hill of Nigg was one of the hunting grounds of the Fions who used to leap across the Cromarty Firth on their hunting spears and whose race became extinct after their women and children were all killed in a fire in Glen Garry.

The Kings Path is said to take its name from the shipwreck of a king of Denmark.  His three sons drowned and their bodies were washed up on the shore after a great storm after trying to rescue their sister from Balnagown Castle.  One was buried at Nigg, one at Shandwick and the third at Hillton of Cadboll.  Sculptured stones were placed at each grave.

Duncan Johnstone (above) was a prolific composer of bagpipe music (and the saying that he had a couple of jigs for breakfast was not far from the truth). In his lifetime, Duncan composed over sixty tunes including Farewell to Nigg, The Isle of Barra March, The Streaker, James McLellan's Favourite, and the Lament for Alan my Son.

Duncan, who was a giant among pipers, teachers, and composers of pipe music. His family came from Barra. The Protestant reformations sweeping south through the Hebrides in ages past never made it to Barra. While fiddles were burned along with bagpipes (the black sticks of the devil) in places like Skye, the traditions of piping and clarsach (harp),dance, and other aspects of Gaelic culture lived on a little longer on tiny Barra.  It was a great loss to the piping world when he passed away suddenly on Saturday, November 13, 1999.