Restoration of Donald Campbell's Gravestone by Kingussie Arts Network 21.11.2016
With thanks to; Gaelic Society of Inverness, Highland Council, and Historic Scotland.
Donald Campbell Dòmhnall Phàill (Donald son of Paul) was born in Dalnaspidal in 1798. He came to work as a shepherd at Ballachroan in 1822, where his relative was tenant. The last 40 years of his life were spent near Kingussie, at Glen Gynack, where he died in 1875.
Five of his songs are recorded in Thomas Sinton's 'Poetry of Badenoch', but he composed many more. Thomas Sinton says of his songs, "Very few of them have been preserved. Nobody thought of taking them down at the time; and in his latter years the old bard could rarely be prevailed upon to sing the songs of his youth."
Guma slàn do na fearaibh is regarded as one of the most important songs composed in Gaelic about emigration, and is often referred to in English as 'The Emigrant's Song'. It was composed in June 1838, when he saw a large number of people from Badenoch assemble in Kingussie in order to walk to Fort William on the first part of their journey to Australia. The second best known of his songs is a love song, Duanag a' Chìobair (The Shepherds Ditty) which is also a well known Gaelic song and is sung to the present day.
His son, also called Donald Campbell was a merchant in Kingussie and very important in shinty circles, was also a bard. His most popular song was a humerous one, Bàla Ghlinn Truim (The Ball of Glen Truim).