This photo of John McDougall Snr on the left as you look at it and his brother Billy was taken on the banks of the Water of Tanar in 1921. The picture was taken near the bridge that today leads from the car park over the river to the rangers station, Braeloine cottage. Braeloine cottage is where the boys were born.

The lads are kitted out in full Highland dress. They are serious looking and holding the pipes made for them by Charles Ewen the year before. Looking at the line patterns both seem to be wearing the same tartan, these could have been family or pipe band kilts. One thing is for sure both kilts are far too big for them. If you look just above Johns which is hand tucked into his jacket you will see that top of his kilt about chest height. Kilts would be handed down through families and because they were made from high quality wool cloth they generally last for many years and generations. These kilts can often be reversed, this is where the aprons and pleats are reversed to show material that has not faded through age or use making the kilt look like new. We recently had one of John’s kilts which was at least 60 years old for Scott to wear.

They are both wearing Glengarry’s both have sprigs of lucky white heather from their cap badges. The sprig is a work of art in its self, clearly a factory manufactured item. The bells of the heather are made from some kind of linen. The green foliage and bells are bound around a wire frame. The sprig can be seen more clearly in Billy’s cap.  Bearing in mind that the Glengarry and artificial heather are at least 100 years old they are in remarkable condition and could easily be worn today. Johns boyhood Glengarry and Sprig are preserved in the family archive.

Pipes, kilts and Glengarry’s 100 years on