Iain Beag MacLachlan


Scottish tradition holds that a member of the MacLachlans of Kilbride travelled to Aberdeen to purchase cattle. While there, he fell in love with the daughter of the Duke of Gordon. The two lovers eloped and eventually settled down and built a home on the island of Seil. After a time, the MacLachlan, his wife, and their two small sons returned to Aberdeenshire to make peace with the Duke and Duchess. When the family reached the castle, the two bairns were sent ahead. Upon seeing the lads, the Duke and Duchess immediately recognized them as being the children of their daughter. The two families subsequently reconciled their differences.

When Iain Beag MacLachlan, a member of the MacLachlans of Coruanan, reached the age of ascension, he was reminded of his father’s death and decided to seek revenge. Soon thereafter, Iain Beag began lurking near the Glen Nevis House. He managed to become friendly with one of MacSorlie’s dairy-maids. Iain Beag arranged for this maid to give him a signal when Donald went to the sheiling for a drink of warm milk, something Donald frequently did. The MacLachlan, a noted archer, who was lying in wait for his enemy, let an arrow fly as Donald was drinking. The arrow split both the wooden vessel containing the milk and Donald’s head.

Iain Beag MacLachlan then fled from his home and wandered throughout the Highlands and Isles for years in constant fear of being captured or slain by his enemies. He later returned to his homeland and attempted to steal a very fine unique gun from Angus McSorlie, the 7th of Glen Nevis (Donald MacSorlie’s younger brother) which he had spied through an open window. Iain Beag was almost caught by Angus, escaping when Iain Beag managed to stab the Laird with his dirk. Iain Beag then escaped the house and was never heard of again.

You are still able to see the gun sought by Iain Beag in a museum by Glen Nevis.


About Amanda Moffet

I run www.scotclans.com with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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2 thoughts on “Iain Beag MacLachlan

  1. Eric Murray

    Story is a tad incomplete, since it does not cover why Iain Beag MacLachlan wanted to avenge his father death. I assume that Donald MacSorlie killed him, but why?


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