Angus Nicol 1933 – 2016

Angus Nicol
Angus Nicol

The death has been reported of Angus Nicol of the Highland Society of London. He was 83. Angus died peacefully at a hospice in London. He had been in poor health for some time.

A self-taught Gaelic speaker and lover of pipe music, Angus was a fixture at all major piping events throughout his life. Of an Argyll family, he first attended the Argyllshire Gathering in 1936 aged three. In a message to the Stewards (he himself was a former Chief Steward) he announced his non-attendance at this year’s gathering – the first time he had missed it for 80 years.

Angus was often there in person to present the Society’s coveted Gold Medal to the various winners at Oban and Inverness. His membership of the Society’s committee ensured that piping’s voice was always heard at an influential table.

He was a regular at the London Championship and it was often a feature of reports he did for the Times as its piping correspondent. Latterly he bemoaned the fact that his column had been moved to the online version of the newspaper but continued writing till the end.

Last year's MacGregor Memorial winner Cameron MacDougall now competes for the 2015 Silver Medal. Cameron is pictured with Jamie Mellor, AG Piping Steward, and MacGregor organiser Angus Nicol
2014’s MacGregor Memorial winner Cameron MacDougall is pictured with Jamie Mellor, then the AG Piping Steward, and Angus 

He contributed a number of erudite articles to Piping Press one of which highlighted the great work done for piping by the Highland Society of London. This included the founding and running of the MacGregor Memorial  Piping Competition for young piobaireachd players. Unique in its format, Angus was instrumental in getting this important stepping stone competition off the ground and ensuring its success.

A barrister by profession, Angus was always willing to offer his services to friends refusing any payment. He will be sorely missed and our condolences are with his family at this time.

5 thoughts on “Angus Nicol 1933 – 2016”

  1. All at the Scottish Piping Society of London are saddened by the death of Angus. A former President of the SPSL, he was generous in his financial support over many decades. The overall ‘B’ Grade championship at the annual competition bears his name.

  2. I have fond memories of attending Angus Nicol’s Gaelic classes in London in the 1990s. He did not allow us to get away with any carelessness; but the large quantity of red ink which generally appeared on my meticulously marked homework was always appreciated in the end, and he was always so courteous when asked to explain the basis of our errors. The last time I met Angus was at the Blair Atholl piping championships in 2011.

  3. I am deeply saddened to read that Angus has passed away. He was a regular student on my short courses at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and greatly contributed to the classes. He became a dear friend who will be greatly missed.

  4. We were saddened to learn of the passing of Angus. He was a great friend and supporter of the Lochaber Gathering. A faithful attendee over many years, he never missed joining us other than this year due to his illness. A fine gentleman, and like so many in the Piping world, we will miss him.

  5. I first met Angus as my Gaelic teacher at the City Lit when I was in London in 1984-86. He was an excellent teacher and his courses were always well supported. I remember studying the career of Alasdair Mac Colla in Gaelic under him, manifesting his interest in the history of Argyll.

    More recently I met him at some of the Mods in Oban and Dunoon, a kenspeckle figure in his red tartan trews.

    He was a fine teacher and a very fine gentleman, and I will sorely miss him.

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