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Kincardine Tourism

The Phantom Piper

The sound of the bagpipes will carry along Kincardine's shoreline at dusk on many a summer evening during July & August (with the exception of Saturday evenings due to the Kincardine Scottish Pipe Band Parade).

The Pipe Band decided to have a piper play from atop the Kincardine Lighthouse at sunset to honour the memory of an early Kincardine Piper, Donald Sinclair.  The story has been passed along through generations by word of mouth. 

**Despite promotions indicating that the Phantom Piper plays from 'atop' the Lighthouse, please note that this may not always occur.  This great event is undertaken by various volunteers, all with differing levels of ability to climb the actual Lighthouse steps.  Should physical limitations be present, the Piper may choose to pipe the sun down from the south steps of the Lighthouse. 
We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.


Back in 1856, on a cold October day, a small vessel left the Port of Goderich carrying a family from the Isle of Skye, Scotland.  It was the final leg of a journey for the immigrant family, which intended to farm at Penetangore (now Kincardine).

The weather was cloudy with a light breeze out of the southwest when the vessel left Goderich, goes the story.  But as the boat approached Point Clark, the sky turned black and a cold wind started to blow out of the west, making for heavier and heavier seas.  As the vessel slowly beat its way north, late afternoon turned to dusk and the captain feared he would not find Penetangore in the dark.

Donald Sinclair, fearing for his family, went down into the hold and fetched his pipes.  He prayed for safe passage and then played a lament. The sound of the pipes carried across the water to Penetangore where another piper heard the rich sound.  The settler on shore retrieved his pipes and played another lament in return, just as the sky suddenly cleared in the west and the sun set beneath the cold waters.

The captain, knowing he had to be near Penetangore, headed for the drone of the bagpipes and eventually made his way into the harbour. 

For many years after the narrow escape, Donald Sinclair often went down to the harbour to play the pipes at dusk.  They say it was a way to remember his good fortune and to remind others of the power of the pipes.

And it's in the memory of Donald Sinclair that the Kincardine Scottish have decided to play at dusk atop the lighthouse on sunny summer evenings throughout July & August (with the exception of Saturday evenings when the Band is parading). 

**The above story cannot be reproduced without the written permission of Eric Howald of the Kincardine Independent**

COPYRIGHT 1996, Kincardine Independent




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