Part Two: Why My Home Town's Residents Love Bagpipes And Parades

in #story7 years ago (edited)

Yesterday, I shared the story about traveling back to my home town to participate in a festival called the:

  "Gathering of the Clans and the Bands"


Before I start, I think it's important to note that I am Canadian and my home town (which is called Kincardine) is located on the shores of one of Canada's 5 Great Lakes.  All of these massive bodies of water are freshwater lakes and are located in the province of Ontario. 

The lake that I call "home" is Lake Huron. It's actually named after the indigenous tribe of Indians who first settled in the area and claimed it as their home. (This was long before any Vikings or European immigrants discovered the North American continent.)


Like so many small communities that sprang up all along the shorelines of Canada, so did lighthouses. These were eventually constructed to light the way of boat traffic, safely into harbours at night or in storm situations. Most were constructed the same way, out of limestone or wood and the lights used were oil lamps. Many originally lighthouses burnt or were abandoned and left in disrepair over the decades. Not Kincardine's lighthouse. It's been carefully preserved and although modernized, still is fully functioning and looks almost original.


It's really a thing of beauty. It was a serious job to keep a lighthouse, operational. The person (whose job it was to keep the oil lamps going) was called the lighthouse keeper or wickie because it meant forever trimming the wicks of the oil lamps and keeping the clock mechanisms that were used to rotate the lights in good working condition. The keepers normally lived right inside a small cottage that was attached to the actual lighthouse.

Back to the Story, First and foremost, I am Canadian. 

I grew up in Kincardine and lived there as a child and a young lady. I even met @knarly327 there and we still have family who we regularly visit, even though it's a 5 hour drive (by car) from where we currently live. Kincardine is a Scottish community through and through and it occurred to me today, that when I write about my home town, it may be confusing. This is because our traditions are actually coming from the old world (Europe) and they have been carefully preserved and passed down from one generation to the next for the last 170+ years... (give or take a few).


Canadians are a patriotic bunch. We have a lot of open space, very rugged terrain (in areas) and we generally like to celebrate any chance we get. Truth be told, I think most Canadians would agree that even the act of surviving our 4 seasons (from a weather perspective) is cause enough for a good celebration. I snapped this photo (in a parking lot) because it screams "Canadian" in the most recognizable way... to other Canadians. The significance of it may be lost on people from other countries because this flag is actually advertising a popular brand of Canadian beer. This beer company has built a whole brand around being Canadian and this flag, along with Canada's national flag, both command attention and respect whenever they are flown. :D

My Home Town's Residents Love Bagpipes Because They Saved Lives

As the story goes, my town was founded in 1848 by two Scottish settlers named Allan Cameron and William Withers.


In 1856, another Scottish immigrant, named Donald Sinclair, and his family decided to make the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to join  their other relatives who had already settled in the Kincardine area, a few years before. Donald had sent word to his relatives, sharing the particulars of his family's travel plans. He was expected.

During the last 26 nautical miles of their journey (which was actually on Lake Huron) a  severe storm blew up and it was wicked. The entire Sinclair family, the crew of the vessel and the captain, all thought they were going to die that afternoon. Donald, being a resourceful fellow, went down into the bowels of the boat and retrieved his bagpipes.

The fog was thick. No one could see a thing and the wind and driving rain were producing very rough water.

Donald Began To Play His Bagpipes

Donald thought that if he was going to lose his life to rough waters in a storm, he was going down with his pipes in his hands. He played and he played.  

Back in Kincardine, a good Samaritan heard Donald's tune as it carried over the vast body of water, that is the lake. 

This good Samaritan grabbed a set of pipes too and began piping the vessel into the safe refuge of the harbour. 

The piping saved all the lives of every single soul on that boat, that day.

Donald was so grateful and every evening thereafter (until the lighthouse was built) he went down to the beach and piped the sun down. He hoped that he could pay his good fortune, forward and help someone else to safety.

Now days, every night (except in the winter) a lone Piper, pipes the sun down from the top of the Kincardine lighthouse. It's a true story and we've been celebrating it since 1856!


 No kidding! Talk about traditions, customs and never forgetting where we came from.

The Lighhouse Has Been Turned Into the Town Mascot and is Named Blinkie.

In addition to the lone piper at the top of the lighthouse, my town also has a weekly Bagpipe Parade every Saturday night beginning in May and ending on the first Saturday in September. This is done to remember to help each other and to celebrate life.

Here's a video of the parade which just happened on the 26th of August. (You'll see Blinkie at the end.) 

(I uploaded it to Dtube this morning but didn't realize that I couldn't add the rest of this story to it and I also didn't realized that Dtube will only work properly (with sound) if a person uses Chrome as a browser.)

Here's the finale, marking the end of the parade:

(I posted both these videos to my Dtube and Youtube channels today, August 28th, 2017.)

I'd like to dedicate the last video to @meesterboom, @shadowspub, @francisk and @knarly327.

@knarly327's least favourite instrument is the pipes and his least favourite song played on the pipes is "Amazing Grace". 

You'll just have to trust me when I say that this stems from long-standing repetitive bagpipe trauma. If you're from Kincardine, you can't escape it. It's practiced all the TIME!!! LOL!

I welcome your comments and I invite you to follow me on my journey.


~ Rebecca Ryan



This is an amazing story and tradition! I really enjoyed the part with the good samaritan, thats incredible! It's funny how traumatized Knarly327 is to bagpipes lmao! Probably not funny to him though, I'm thinking. His username makes me think of a car engine. Could I be right?

Exactly right. It was a 327. He custom built a camaro...he used parts from 7 different years. Then, he built me a custom Scamp. That's back when we could afford gas...lmao. Now, I drive a smart car and he drives a VW TDI Golf
totally about fuel economy. Life changes.

I knew it! I would love to see some pictures of it, possibly? Well, let me take a stab at the year.... 1969 for the Camaro and 1971 for the Scamp?

Here you go...HAHAHA! Oh the good old days

AWESOME! Well, I was way off on the Camaro but the Scamp looks close if not a 71? BOTH are great! Thanks for the pic!

The Camaro was a 79...but it was totally a custom build. Parts from 7 different years. The Scamp was a 72 and I originally paid $100 for it. Front fenders were replaced and 1 of the quarter panels. It had a 318 in it and handled like a BIG boat. If I turned the steering wheel too quickly, I'd be on the other side of the driving a riding lawnmower at 80 mph. Seriously, you could fit several bodies in the trunk. (Joking) LOL!

He got a lot of tickets for excessive speeding in that car...
He built it in 88-89, then my Scamp in 91, which was a barn-find and complete restoration. It was the same year that we were married and it was a gift to me from him.
I'm 5 feet tall and could barely see over the dash. That car was amazing.
We sold them both a few years later and sensibly moved on. Hahaha!

Thank you so much for dedicating the last video to me and the others. You are such a lovely person and wonderful lady to me..
Is it OK to say that I Steemit love you? I hope so.
You are Canadian. And your life and background is steeped in values you hold to be true. I want very much for you and @knarly327 to continue to remember and share with us from time to time what you learned from your childhood life and days in your village.
True values and trust are what sets the humans apart from all other species.
Of course, I believe and trust the Creator more now than I ever have in my life.
My days on earth are now numbered. Most of the years of my life is behind me.
But, I have a greater hope and trust that I will never let go. Without it I would be very sad, because of my age. But now, I have hope. He has given that to me.
Thank you for reminding me that our lives are important. What we do and say in our lives will have an impact on the generations that follow.
May the care and respect always be between us and others on Steemit.
We have been given a platform to reach out. So will we do until we can do no more.

Bagpipes are part of certain cultures and heritage. I'll leave at that as I might encroach on some future thunder. Snick! Snick! My paternal grandmother gave me a giant hard-bound world Atlas when I was age ten. In the center was a large section on anthropology. I was hooked. Later, when I spent many hours with her going deep into the family tree, I gained greater clarity of my Pict, Welsh, and Scottish roots. Nineteen of the Kings of the Scots were King Aed.

Fascinating! I'd like to travel to Scotland, one day. Just to touch some standing stones and see what a whole field of heather looks like.

Actually I thought you were a Scottish :D My mistake and now I could figure out thing! Anyway you had a great journey out there! Those videos and photography is proven that perfectly! Thanks for sharing such great experience with Steem community! Really appreciate your effort!

(My voting power is still regenerating, therefore please allow me four more days to provide 100% upvotes for your posts)


Hi @rebeccaryan, I just stopped back to let you know your post was one of my favourite reads and I included it in my Steemit Ramble. You can read what I wrote about your post here.

Thanks for uploading them to youtube. I sometimes have some issues with dtube as it sometimes lags out or only loads half the video or doesn't load it at all.

Pretty amazing how a lighthouse is now a town mascot. Blinkie is pretty cute name if you ask me haha

Well I'm glad that Donald could spark this tradition and this has been going on for years. Great videos @rebeccaryan

It's really great to see that you guys are keeping up with the traditions that started started so long back! Wow!
Very interesting about the lone piper at the light house, just wondering, is it always the same people or it changes daily?

Good question @progressivechef! My understanding is that there is a team or group of Pipers who fill the nightly role. It's not always the same person.
Next year is a 10 year reunion. It's called the Old Boys and Old Girls reunion. There will be 40-50 different clans and bands represented for that festival. Our hometown normally has a year-round population of 12,000 people. Next year, during the 4 days that the reunion is celebrated there will be 50,000+. It's a much bigger deal than this particular celebration.

Oh that will be a grand one then! Lots of fun ahead my friend! Do share some pics of the food that we can get there, i'm always curious to discover!

That is one thing that I am going to try to work on... including more of our regional food and cuisine.

I do love that story. So Scottish'y! The tradition of it all and the land itself sounds just like here!

It is so interesting to read about your home town! I love how patriotic Canadians are and that the like to celebrate! I can't say that Bagpipes are too pleasing to my ears:), but they saved lives, that alone makes them good instruments! :)

Now i have no doubt why they love bagpipes thanks for telling about it in details

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.23
TRX 0.12
JST 0.029
BTC 67586.04
ETH 3509.22
USDT 1.00
SBD 3.14