National Geographic : 1968 Mar
solid-silver-mounted master pipes in the world today." I went in. Captain Henderson wandered out from the back of the shop, a big graying man with pen sive blue eyes that seemed somehow to focus upon distant things. "You admire my pipes?" he asked, or rather, stated. "So you should. You'll not find their like." He described them lovingly, and soon he was telling me of his life in the Hebrides of times when the winds and tides were per fectly attuned, so that his long lines came in I hardly contain the catch. S C ir f0 a p E ri o0 a ic b it heavy with whitefish and his small boat could hardly contain the catch. "The pipes..." I said. "They cost a hundred and fifty guineas. Now if we were only home in the islands, I could show you fishing you'd not soon forget." I must have paled at the mention of the price, $440 at the time, for Captain Henderson returned from the sea. "Well, ye've not got to buy this set," he reminded me kindly. "You might find a good plain set. But here, take them in the back and have a blow at them. So you can say you've played the finest." 406 Short of wind and stiff of finger, I launched into "Ghillie Callum," the Sword Dance. He did me the honor of recognizing it. "I'm just thinking," he said. "That old pipe major by Beauly-MacLennan that is, he was with the Camerons-he has a good set he's blowing in for me. You might take a look at them. Now, there's a sea loch far from here where the trout...." It appeared that Pipe Major D. W. Mac Lennan of Beauly was my best hope. I sought him out. ntent eye on the bidding, a cot watches a sheep auction at )ban (right). He wears a kilt of the lacNicol tartan, a familiar sight SArgyll. Rubber boots are normal footwear for those who tread the ften rain-soaked soil. Like a circus ringmaster, the uctioneer at the Oban market dis lays Blackface sheep for buyers. ;ach month, boats from the Heb des bring stock to market. The Highlands raise two breeds f sheep, the whiteface Cheviot nd the shaggy Blackface. Chev ot wool is particularly valued for lending (preceding page), since s fibers maintain their brilliance then mixed. He was an old man, half blind, and he played beautifully. He had already "blown in" my pipes (as they soon were), and he took them up to demonstrate them. As he played he prowled, bent-kneed, around the room, followed by a three-year-old grandson who prowled, bent-kneed, behind him. The boy blew with red-faced resolution into a little practice pipe which made small squeaking sounds. A miniature cairn puppy about the size and shape of a potato completed the pro cession, making loud squeaking sounds and untying everybody's shoelaces.