The 19th Clan MacLeod Parliament Report

Dunvegan Castle © Al McLeod 2023

Clan MacLeod Parliament Report – July 2023

by Kevin John Tolmie

One year later than scheduled the quadrennial Clan MacLeod Parliament took place at Dunvegan, Skye in July 2023. In the five years since we last gathered much has happened in the world. Not least the pandemic, the consequences of which made it prudent to postpone our 2022 gathering until now. Following the traditional church service at Duirinish Kirk, Parliament was opened by Chief Hugh, MacLeod of MacLeod.

Among many events there were three particularly important occasions.  The first and only regretted one was the voluntary termination of the Clan MacLeod Society of South Africa. This was announced by a founder of that Society, Leonard McLeod. Sadly there are insufficient members to keep it active.

Second and to counterbalance the above, the Clan MacLeod Society of Sweden was admitted to ACMS membership. Many members of the Swedish Society were present.

The third special event was the appointment of Calum MacCrimmon as the Honorary Piper to Chief Hugh, MacLeod of MacLeod. This was done with due ceremony including the presentation and tying on of a new pipe banner displaying the Chief’s arms.

Another popular event was the presentation by the Hebridean Baker, Coinneach MacLeod (of TV and cookbook fame). This was accompanied by gin tasting courtesy of the Harris Distillery. However the highlight for many was the talk on Clan DNA by Mark MacLeod. Mark made a potentially difficult subject come alive and his talk was followed by excited and interested questioning.

Parliament was preceded by a tour of the Isles of Mull and Iona. In the changed circumstances twelve Clansfolk participated rather than the fifty or so that attended the Pre-Parliament Tour to Lewis and Harris in 2018. However, what was lacking in numbers was made up for in enthusiasm (see separate report).

Parliament has a ‘business’ element. Hence ‘Parliament’ not ‘Gathering’.  This year’s proceedings included the change of President from Peter Macleod of Australia to Alasdair (Al) McLeod of England. In his incoming speech Al expressed gratitude to Peter for guiding the Clan through difficult times and serving for that extra year. Dorna Caskie our long-serving Secretary also retired from her ACMS role and was honoured with a Harris tweed jacket in MacLeod tartan as a token of the Clan’s gratitude. Dorna is replaced as Secretary by Canadian Clare Moncrieff also of CMS England. 

Our day on Raasay was blessed by the finest weather of the week. As usual there was a spectacular parade with piping on to the island behind his banner for Chief John Macleod of Raasay. Thanks to pipers Alex Hess and Axel Brettschneider of CMS Germany. Sadly for the first time the local hosting team were missing stalwart Clan MacLeod member Margaret Moodie who passed away last year. Nevertheless thanks to tireless work by other islanders and ‘sign woman’ Dorna a great day was had by all – a particular highlight being tasting of Raasay whisky which was not available in 2018.

The conclusion of the week was Friday evening’s Ball. This included the formal closing of Parliament by Chief John. In doing so he thanked Parliament Coordinator for 2018 and 2023, Rory McLeod who is handing over to yours truly for 2026. Rory in turn thanked the many others that helped him, particularly Gordon and Morag MacLeod who were named as the first recipients of the Bill and CeeBee McLeod Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution at Parliament, and rewarded with a bottle of Harris Gin.

We look forward to Parliament 2026 only three years away.