“I think it’s exceeded my wildest expectations,” was the summary from Lord Macdonald, High chief of the clan Donald, as he attended The Gathering in Edinburgh.
The Lord was one of 125 chiefs who descended on the Scottish capital Park with their clans for this historic regrouping of exiles from all over the world.
As the largest of all the highland clans, Clan Donald is a key player in new efforts to emulate the North American societies who enjoy growing support and participation.
“There are many million members of Clan Donald worldwide,” said Lord Macdonald, “The number of people that I’ve met from overseas, it’s absolutely unbelievable the feeling of goodwill that’s emanating from these two days.
“This is what clanship means in the 21 century. There is a role for a clan in the 21 century. This came through loud and clear in the clan convention yesterday at the Parliament.
He added: “I’ve been high chief of clan Donald for 40 years, and I’ve never felt so positive about the future role of the clan.”
The Donalds can trace their colourful past to generations of Kings and powerbrokers on the earliest pages of Scottish history.
They are said to have come from Ireland in the 1st century AD before going on to lay claim to huge swathes of Scotland from the Butt of Lewis in the north to the Mull of Kintyre, becoming the Lords of the Isles in the process.
Their demise in Scotland mirrored the changing face of Gaelic culture and the emergence of increasingly independent groups within the clan such as those of Sleat, Clanranald, Glengaryy, Keppoch and Glencoe.