Loch Duich

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LOCH DUICH. Scottish, March (2/4 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Morison): AABB (Martin). Loch Duich [1] is a sea loch in Ross and Cromarty, on the western coast of Scotland, near Dornie in Kintail. Martin (2002) says the melody is employed by Highland pipers in the area as a funeral air. Much photographed Eilean Donan Castle is situated at the convergence of Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh.

Eileen Donan Castle on Loch Duich

A selkie legend is attached to Loch Duich in the clan country of the MacRaes. It seems that three brothers went fishing one night and were transfixed by three seal-maidens (selkies) who had transformed into human form and were observed dancing on the shore in the moonlight. Transfixed by the sight of the beautiful women, the brothers determined to steal the maidens' furs, preventing them from re-transforming and returning to the sea, and each brother carried off one of the girls. One brother took pity on the distress of his captive, and returned her seal-skin, freeing her to return to the sea and her father, who in gratitude allowed the couple to visit on the shore every full moon. The captive of the second brother was resourceful enough to recover her fur and escape. The last brother, thinking to prevent a similar occurrence, burned the seal fur of his maiden to prevent her from returning to the sea, but to his horror he found that burning the fur caused her to burn as well.

Loch Duich seals

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Martin (Traditional Scottish Fiddling), 2002; p. 61. Morison (Highland Airs and Quicksteps, vol. 1), c. 1882; No. 24, p. 12.

Recorded sources:

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