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Tour Rannoch, Dugald Buchanan

One of the most famous men of Kinloch Rannoch was Dugald Buchanan who was born, in the early part of the eighteenth century, in the parish of Balquhidder, Perthshire. Little is known of Dugald until he was found keeping a small school in a hamlet of his native county, and in possession of much local fame as a writer of devotional and pious verses. Some infuential persons, struck by his talents, interested themselves in his fate, and soon obtained for him the prominent position of schoolmaster and lay preacher at Kinloch Rannoch, on the establishment of the society for propagating Christian knowledge.

When he first went to live in Kinloch Rannoch, the locals were so uncivil, from the lack of religious instruction, that they hardly recognised the sacred nature of the Sabbath. They were in the habit of meeting at different places, on that day, to amuse themselves with football and other sports. The parish clergyman visited them once every three weeks; but, from the size of the parish, he seems to have been unable to exercise any proper control over them. Buchanan, it is said, invited them all to come and enjoy their Sunday recreations with him, and when they arrived, began to perform divine worship, which he seasoned with a lecture on the sin of Sabbath-breaking. Though many were put off at first, all of them became at length convinced of the error of their ways, and Buchanan in time brought them into a state of high religious culture, the effects of which are said to be visible to this day in Rannoch. Dugald was, by all accounts, very tender-hearted, insomuch, that when he heard a pathetic tale recounted, he could not abstain from weeping. He was equally subject to shed tears when his heart was excited with joy, gratitude, and admiration. In his conversation, he was known as modest, mild, and unassuming, and distinguished by great affability. His poems and hymns, which have been repeatedly printed, are equal to any in the Gaelic language. He died, on the 2nd of July, 1768, under very painful circumstances. On returning home from a long journey, he found two of his children lying sick of a fever. Shortly after, six more of them were seized by it, together with himself and two of his servants. While his family lay in this sad condition, his wife could prevail upon no one to engage in her service, and being herself in a peculiarly delicate condition, she was unable to do much for their comfort. The poor poet soon became delirious, and, in a few days, he and all his family were swept off, leaving only his wife to lament his fate, and her own melancholy condition. Dugald Buchanan was laid to rest in Balquhidder and a monument in his memory was erected in the centre of Kinloch Rannoch.

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