In 1615 the Campbells captured Dunivaig Castle on Islay and later ambushed a party of Macdonalds bent on retaking it. The Campbell’s decided to hang the Macdonalds. They left a piper who had been with scouting party until last. He was given permission to play a lament for his clansmen before being hanged. The piper deliberately played a false note and this alerted another force of Macdonalds that the attempt to recapture the caste from the Campbells had failed. The Macdonalds evaded another ambush set by the Campbells and escaped. Legend disagrees about the fate of the piper. One version says that the Campbells stabbed him to death because they recognised the false note was a warning to the main force of Macdonalds. Another account has it that the piper only had his fingers broken as a punishment. What is known is that the pibroch written to commemorate the incident “A Cholla mo run” is always played with an obvious false note.

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