Duncan MacRae

Duncan MacRae is the most local of our guests - blacksmith since 1974 at Coaltown of Balgonie. Born in a cottage at the top of Glen Maick above Comrie where his father was shepherd, the family later moved to Rossie Ochil farm on the hill top between Glenfarg and Forgandenny. There he remembers being encouraged by one of the horsemen to sing the bothy ballads - and, at the age of eight, riding on the tattie waggon singing Bonnie Wee Jeannie McColl with the women walking behind planting potatoes from their aprons. When he came to Coaltown he found himself in demand to sing for the old folk, at the accordion club and local village events. Duncan is a fine singer and when he met Sheena Wellington she suggested he try his hand at the traditional singing competitions - and he soon gained the Traditional Singing cup at the TMSA festivals at Kirriemuir, Auchtermuchty and Keith as well as the Buchan Heritage festival at Strichen.