The 13th Duke of Argyll, the chief of Clan Campbell, was the youngest yet most senior of all the Scottish clan chiefs who attended the historic 2009 Gathering in Edinburgh.
In the past such a build up of Highlanders and their chiefs beside the parliament would have spelled trouble. However, in these more civilised times and with most of the great clans present the topic of conversation was focused on how to take the somewhat ailing Scottish traditions forward into the 21st century.
As a businessman, festival organiser and sometime elephant polo world champion, the dynamic Duke is well placed to lead this charge.
“It’s very much something we’ve been talking about over the last couple of days during our gathering in the Scottish parliament,” he said. “We are a country of five and a bit million, but the diaspora is 40 million plus.”
“There is a great opportunity to bring people back," he continued, "and I think a year like this year, the year of Homecoming, has certainly shown people that there is that opportunity.
“When you see the enthusiasm of the people who have come here this year, a lot of it is young people. They’re really excited about it.”
The Gathering in the Scottish capital is the highlight of the Scottish government’s Homecoming year, organised on the 250th anniversary of Rabbie Burns’ birth, which aims to reach out to all the millions of Scots and their descendants spread across the world.
The overall feeling is that the North America clan societies, where Scots aficionados jump at the chance to participate in flourishing events, must now be seen with less snobbery and with a more open-minded approach.
The Duke continued: “The clan system is a great way to attract tourists and people to Scotland, and we’ve got a great deal to offer and so much to show.
“People really do appreciate and want to trace their Scottish roots and I think as a county and as a clan we need to work hard at it.”
Traditionally one of the most powerful clans in the country, the Campbells are also one of the least liked, mainly for their part in the infamous Glencoe massacre.
But the ancient malice held toward the Campbells for the massacre is a touch misplaced. They’ve been taking the blame for more than 300 years because there happened to be a handful of Campbells in the Earl of Argyll's regiment which murdered the Macdonalds in the snowy glens. Admittedly though, the Campbells were guilty of more heinous deeds than that.
“Very old, very traditional - much loved by many and obviously not so loved by few,” admits the Duke, laughing. “But safe to say as the clan chief I’ve buried the hatchet on all the things that have happened in the past.”