Held in Gairloch High School, September 26th
Robert Wallace: Well it is good to report that here, right in Iain Dall MacKay country, in the magnificent north-west of Scotland, that the pipe is being taught throughout the region and taught well. School tutors Iain Ruaridh Finlayson (Skye), Gary Nimmo and Alison Sinclair (Ullapool Pipe Band) had many of their young pupils forward and a good account they all gave I might say.
But it was the students of master teacher Iain MacFadyen who stole the day taking three first prizes and an overall title. The three Drennan boys are pictured above. Very tight fingering meant no prize for some contestants but they can all improve their chances next time with concerted practice chanter work. The transition from practice chanter to bagpipe is difficult; tight hands on the former will mean misses on the latter. It is something that is given a lot of attention in the Bagpipe Tutor book:
Looking out from the Gairloch shoreline we see Trotternish and Skye and the intervening sea, the very stretch of water Blind John (1656 – 1754) must have crossed on his way to his lessons with Patrick Og MacCrimmon. Unseeing from the age of seven thanks to smallpox, Iain Dall went on to compose some of our greatest works of ceol mor. Local historian Iain Blake believes these may number 22. We know of 12, the greatest of them the Unjust Incarceration. Tomorrow (Sunday) we have a walk to the Iain Dall memorial in nearby Flowerdale, the place he grew up and where, at a short memorial ceremony, Gold Medallist Duncan MacGillivray will play part of the tune.
Chanter (two-part march):
1 Ruaridh Drennan
2 Andra Cumming
3 Andrew Martin
Novice March (four-part tune)
1 Max Grigor
2 Hardie Crawford
3 Calum Coghill
U-15 Piob. Ground and Var 1.
1 Hamish Drennan, MacFarlane’s Gathering
2 John McLaren, Lament for Mary MacLeod
3 Ciaran Kellett, Struan Robertson’s Salute
1 Dougall McKiggan
2 Katrina Martin
3 John McLaren
Under 15 Champion: John McLaren (wins £50 and a week at a College of Piping seasonal school)
1 Archie Drennan
2 Frieda McKiggan
3 Connor Kellet
1 Connor Kellet, Cabar Feidh Gu Bragh
2 Archie Drennan, Old Men of the Shells
3 Eoghainn Peutan, Lament for Mary MacLeod
Judge for all the above: R Wallace
Under 18 Champion: Archie Drennan (wins £150 John Burgess Bursary)
Ishbel MacAskill Prize for an Original Composition for Pipe or Fiddle: Archie MacLean with his tune Pulling Ragwort, a hornpipe. Archie wins a £100 voucher. This is the second year in a row that young Archie has won this competition.
Judges for composing competition: D MacGillivray and R Wallace