Our new Chief - RICHARD McBAIN of McBAIN
23rd hereditary Chief of the Clan MacBean
Richard was born in Tucson, Arizona in 1956. He was affectionately nicknamed ‘Dennis the Menace’ by his older sisters, who had explained that since he was the youngest, he should therefore be a brat, and Richard had tried his best.
His father, James McBain of McBain, owned a photography business. Richard, early on, spent much time at his father’s shop, learning to develop film and create prints. By the time he was 17 he had photographed at least 200 weddings. This interest dovetailed with him becoming the editor of, and photographer for, the Canyon del Oro High School newspaper, ‘The Palantir’. Under his leadership, in his senior year, the newspaper won best high school newspaper in the country, and Richard won best student news photographer in the nation.
Richard attended Southern Illinois University, where he studied photography and English. He then set off for San Francisco, where he lived for 10 years. Some finer restaurants required formal attire. Richard particularly enjoyed driving his Ducati 900 SS (black with gold pinstripes) to these establishments, wearing a formal kilt, which was always extremely well received.
At one point, Richard took up triathlons and cycling, once swimming from Alcatraz prison to the shores of San Francisco Bay. In 1986 he moved to Tucson, Arizona, to start a new business. Currently Richard owns and manages Centric Photo, a digital imaging company, centricphoto.com.
Richard continued his interest in training for and competing in cycling events and triathlons. When he was 45, he finished in the top 50 in El Tour de Tucson, a 113 mile race with over 9000 participants, including some professional cyclists. The same year he came in 3rd in the Mount Graham State Championship Hill Climb race. He still enjoys recreational swimming (where he met his partner, Lisa McFarlane) and cycling and, of course, walking his dog Rex, sometimes with his cat Pippen following behind. Lisa has a PhD in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona, and worked on the Cassini Spacecraft, and Mars High Rise missions.
When Richard’s grandfather, Hughston McBain, became chief, he created the McBain Memorial Park located on McBain ancestral lands, on a high hill overlooking Dores and Loch Ness, and just a stone’s throw from ‘Kinchyle’ the old home of the chiefs. Over the years the park, which is public, has been a location for weddings and a destination for McBain clansmen and women from across the world. Of course, there is always work to be done to prevent the gorse from overtaking the park.
In 2013, James tasked Richard with restoration of the park, which had suffered from theft and vandalism. Since then, many improvements have been made. Among these are replacing the plaque, Scottish Wildcat statues, and the ‘McBain Park’ road sign, all of which had been stolen, as well as supervising the new Alan Bean memorial area. On 6th August 2022 there will be a dedication of the memorial to Captain Alan LaVern Bean, the fourth man on the Moon, who was the first person to take a piece of tartan to the Moon – MacBean tartan, naturally!
Richard spent many years with his father traveling to Highland Games, with Lisa by his side. James McBain of McBain set a standard for highland games participation by the chief, wherein he visited each tent, no matter the number, welcoming the representatives of each clan and thanking them for their efforts to attend and support their clan and the event. As Chief, James McBain of McBain carried on his duties until 2018, when he appointed his Tanist and son Richard to act as chief for him. James McBain of McBain died on 7th March 2022 at the great age of 93, making him the longest lived and longest serving Chief of his clan. In line with protocol, Richard McBain of McBain succeeded his father and became the 23rd Hereditary Chief of the Clan MacBean on the same day, 7th March 2022 – to paraphrase an old saying, it was a case of ‘the Chief is dead, long live the Chief’.
Richard intends to carry on as his father did, keeping the Scottish history and games enjoyment alive, and dedicating himself to the service of his Clan, just as his forebears had done for more than 700 years. He looks forward to meeting many clansmen and women on his first trip to Scotland as Chief this summer, when he will lead a special gathering and events in the clan’s old homelands, and will be formally inaugurated as Chief in a ceremony by the monument set up at the McBain Park by his grandfather in memory of the clan’s history and its ancient chiefs.