About the shop
Cabar Fèidh Bagpipe Supplies in its current incarnation is a new business begun in December 2012 by Brian Yates based on the old Cabarfeidh Bagpipes and still located in the Victorian Market in Inverness.
The original shop was started by Niall Matheson in 1995 and was then located at Balnain House which at the time housed the Museum of Highland Music. It moved for a short while to Tomnahurich Street before moving back to Balnain House where it remained until the unfortunate closing of that wonderful museum. It was at that point that Cabarfeidh Bagpipes moved across the river to the Victorian Market. It remained there until its closure in July 2012 triggered by the sad and untimely death of Darren MacRae who had been working for Niall for several years and was to take over the shop.
I found out about the closure only after Niall had already sold the entire stock and the premises were about to be advertised for lease. I instantly decided that I would take the plunge, give up supply teaching as an English teacher and re-open the shop. Cabar Fèidh Bagpipe Supplies reopened shortly before Christmas in 2012.
About the name
‘Cabar Fèidh’ is Gaelic for deer’s antlers. Niall used the spelling ‘Cabarfeidh’ (one word) which he took from the slogan at the end of the regimental toast (see below) of The Queen’s Own Highlanders: ‘Cabarfeidh Gu Bràth’ (Deer’s Antlers Forever). Sometimes it is mistranslated as ‘Stag’s horns forever’. That’s not quite correct: firstly stag in Gaelic is ‘damh’; secondly neither stags nor deer have horns. Sheep, cows, and cars do; deer do not. As Cabarfeidh was an established bagpipe shop I decided to keep the name for continuity’s sake and also to honour the fact that The Queen’s Own Highlanders are (were) from this area. However, I changed the name to be written in two words to mark that the new shop is a separate business from Niall’s. Cabar Fèidh is also my favourite 4/4 march; possibly one of the best ever composed.
About the spelling
One word or two? That depends. Written correctly, it is two words. However in the toast I’ve seen it written both ways. In some mottos it is one and when used for names of things like shops, restaurants, hotels, pubs, and shinty teams, it is often written as one.
The proper Gaelic spelling is ‘Cabar Fèidh’. Many people omit the accent grave on the ‘e’ as such diacritical marks aren’t generally used in the English language. ‘Cabar’, however is always c-a-b-a-r. Being a Gaelic word it follows the Gaelic spelling rule of ‘broad to broad, slender to slender’; when a consonant or group of consonants is preceded by a broad vowel (a, o, u), the vowel following that consonant will also be broad. The same applies for slender vowels (e, i). When I see the name spelt incorrectly as ‘Caber Feidh’, I can’t help thinking of a stag tossing a great big long pole.
I hope you have enjoyed this little orthography/biology/history lesson. Do feel free to stop in and browse, listen, play, buy, or just have a chat and a cup of tea. --Brian
Regimental toast of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders
Tir nam Beann, nan Gleann, ‘s nan Gaisgeach;
Far am faighear an t-eun fionn
'S far am faigh am faidh fasgadh.
Cho fada's chitear ceo mu bheann
'S a ruitheas uisge le gleann,
Mairidh cuimhne air euchd nan treun.
Slainte agus buaidh gu brath
Le Gillean Cabar Fèidh
Cabarfeidh gu brath !
Land of the hills, the glens, and the Heroes;
Where the ptarmigan thrives
And where the red deer finds shelter.
As long as mist hangs o'er the mountains
And water runs in the glens,
The deeds of the brave will be remembered.
Health and success forever
To the lads of Cabar Fèidh
Cabarfeidh gu brath !
(Deer's antlers Forever !)