The P/M Robert G. Hardie Memorial Trophy to Be Competed for at the Argyllshire Gathering

Unveiled today is the new P/M Robert G. Hardie Memorial Trophy to be awarded at the games at this year’s Argyllshire Gathering for the first time. It will be presented to the winner of a new ceol beag competition for young pipers aged 22 and under – but is open only to those who have competed in the MacGregor Memorial piobaireachd competition the day before. 

Previously these pipers had no competition at the Oban Games unless they qualified for the B grade light music; very few of them did. When, at the conclusion of the games last year, the proposal to have such a competition was made to the authorities at Oban they agreed in principal and this decision was ratified following a meeting of the Games Committee a few months later.bob oval

P/M Robert G Hardie (1921 – 1990) was one of the most famous pipers of the pre- and post- WW2 eras. A pupil of P/M Robert Reid, he had a long association with Oban winning both the Gold Medal and the Open Piobaireachd and was much in demand there as an adjudicator in his later life.

He was perhaps better known as pipe major of the famous Muirhead & Sons Pipe Band, winners of the World Championship five years in a row from 1964 – 1969. In addition he founded the world-famous bagpipe making company R.G. Hardie & Co, a business which continues to thrive today.

When presented with the idea of sponsoring the new competition the firm’s Managing Director, double Gold Medallist Alastair Dunn, was quick to agree that his company should pay for the handsome trophy pictured above. He also agreed that they should contribute substantial prize money for the competition, this in addition to the African blackwood solo pipe chanter they present each year to the winner of the MacGregor Memorial contest.
RG Hardie Man aging Director Alastair Dunn with the new trophy his company has sponsored
RG Hardie Managing Director Alastair Dunn with the new trophy his firm has sponsored

Alastair (who is also Pipe Sgt. of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band) said: ‘We will always do what we can to support young pipers and are delighted that we could do something to honour the name of the man who founded our company all those years ago and through whose efforts it became the international concern it remains today.’

The trophy was sourced and finally secured after much effort by former Muirheads piper and solo piping adjudicator Neil Mulvie. It is hallmarked silver gilt, three handled and and in beautiful condition. It will be inscribed ‘The P/M Robert G Hardie Memorial Trophy, presented by R.G.Hardie & Co., Bagpipe Makers’. The engraving will be paid for by former members of the Muirheads band. A silver band on the pedestal will carry the winners’ names. 
AG logoPiping Convenor of the Argyllshire Gathering, Torquil Telfer, said: ‘We are always very keen to encourage young players and when we were approached about the new MSR competition we were enthused from the outset. Pipers taking part will be asked to submit three marches, three strathspeys and three reels, so it will be a tough test for the young, inexperienced player.

‘I must stress, however, that it will only be those who PLAY in the MacGregor who will be eligible to compete for the P/M RG Hardie trophy. We are extremely grateful to Mr Dunn and RG Hardie & Co. for their generosity and to those who brought this new competition to fruition sourcing a quality trophy commensurate with the importance of the event.’