The Times
September 14, 2006

It has taken Ranald MacDonald 20 years to be officially installed as chief but his victory has not been welcomed by everyone. Photo: David Cheskin/PA

Clan chief wins 20-year battle
By Alan Hamilton

The MacDonalds of Keppoch, a particularly warlike branch of the Clan MacDonald, have their first chief in 158 years after a 20-year battle in the Scottish courts.

Ranald Alasdair MacDonald, 75, a retired hearing aid specialist from Edinburgh, acquires no lands and no castle, only a coat of arms and the satisfaction of having defeated his enemies who claimed he was descended from a distant illegitimacy.

Following his installation ceremony in Fort William, capital of the clan’s historic territory, Mr MacDonald can wallow in his full title of 22nd Chief of the Honourable Clan Ranald of Lochaber Mac Mhic Raonuill. Kinsmen may address him by the sobriquet, Ready Warrior.

Mr MacDonald spent decades searching his family tree to prove his claim, a task made more difficult by the Gaelic tradition of sloinneadh, by which male family lines were passed from one generation to the next by word of mouth, in the MacDonalds’ case by a storyteller known only as Donald the Drover.