The villages of Colintraive and Glendaruel are situated on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll and Bute on the west coast of Scotland. The area is known locally as Colglen. The old name of the Glen is Glenduisk, meaning "The Glen of Blackwater". About 1110 a battle was fought between Mekan, King of Norway and son of Magnus Barefoot, and the Gaels, in which the invaders were defeated and the slaughtered thrown into the River Ruail or "Ruel", Glen-da-Ruail (Glen of red blood). The clachan, Glenderwell or Glendaruel was anglicized to the name we know as Glendaruel.
The Glendaruel Highlanders was composed about 1860 by Alexander Fettes, Pipe Major of the City of Aberdeen Volunteers. A native of Aboyne and a pupil of the elder Sandy Cameron (brother of Donald Cameron), Fettes was a friend of the great piobaireachd authority and pipe major John MacDougall Gillies, in whose honour he composed his most popular tune, "The Glendaruel Highlanders." He was a stone mason by trade and served as Pipe Major of the Aberdeen Highlanders from about 1865-1879. Afterwards he emigrated to South Africa and made a prominent life for himself there. He was Pipe Major of the Port Elizabeth Pipe Band and was several times mayor of Port Elizabeth. He had a great influence on piping in South Africa and died there in 1921.
When the Argyllshire Volunteers came under the command of Colonel Campbell of Glendaruel they appropriated the tune as their March Past and, as such, it descended to their successors, the 8th Battalion Argyll 8th Sutherland Highlanders.