May 05, 2018

“Lochanside” – a magical tune about a magical place

Beside the lochan, Loch Loskin . . . or lochanside. [Creative commons]
A poll of pipers on their favourite tune would probably uncover John McLellan DCM, Dunoon’s “Lochanside,” near or at the top of most lists. McLellan’s three-part 3/4 march, as with all of his compositions, puts emphasis on the simple, memorable melody, and, as a result, his tunes stand the test of time.

In addition to being a great piper and pipe music composer, McLellan was a celebrated poet and lyricist. Many of his pipe tunes had accompanying lyrics, and he was known as much for his words as he was for his music. A memorial plaque for McLellan was erected on the waterfront in Dunoon.

McLellan was inspired by his Argyllshire homeland, and “Lochanside” is no exception. The lochan in question is actually Loch Loskin, which can be found on the west and to the north of Dunoon’s town centre, within walking distance of the Cowal Games park. Loch Loskin appears today much as it must have been when McLellan was inspired to write “Lochanside.”

The tranquil lochan is surrounded by the lush Argyllshire forest, and is well protected from the wind. Loch Loskin is actually part of Dunloskin farm, and “Dunloskin” is a four-part 2/4 march by McLellan, published in the now out of print Cowal Collection.

Interested to know the inpsiration for a tune? Just drop us a line, and we will work to find out for you.



  1. I was born in Struan Lodge by the side of Loch Loskin which is the Lochanside of piping fame. I grew up playing around it in summer and on it’s ice in winter. The word “Lochan” is a name given to any small body of water. Everyone in Dunoon passes by it on their way over the high road to Sandbank, and of course the great Jock McLellan did too, either on his way to Kilmun, or passing through his dream valley on the road to Glendaruel. No doubt, like the rest of us, he would pause by the loch side to enjoy it’s ever changing mood, hence the inspiration for his classic 3/4. Pipe Major Jim Henderson tells us that his Great Uncle ‘Jock’ as an artist painted the loch, which I like, because as a boy I did too. Thanks for this reminder of home.



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