London Championship Underway/ St Thomas New Job Announced/ Dowco-Boghall Switch/ Argylls Book

london-logoThe Annual London Championship is now underway at the Kensington Conference Centre. All the main piobaireachd events started at 8.30am, the aim being to ensure an earlier finish than hitherto.

The premier grade March Strathspey and Reel contest will be once through each tune only, again in order to save time. Entries this year are up on last with 14 contending the coveted Bratach Gorm for piobaireachd (seven tunes asked) and 22 in the William Gillies Open Piobaireachd (six tunes).

There is a full raft of contests available to the professional piper from grades Premier down to C. There are also contests for Juniors and for amateurs the Piping Centre’s CLASP events – a full day of quality piping.

The competition receives generous sponsorship from David Naill & Co., bagpipe makers who have offered a prize bagpipe for the competition raffle. The other major sponsor is the Wm Grant Foundation. They have indicated that London’s sponsorship will be reduced this year and in the future and the organisers are currently examining alternative, more affordable premises. It is believed the hire of the Kensington Conference Centre costs more than £10,000.

Pipers and judges arriving last night for the competition were surprised to hear of the resignation of SPSL Vice President Roddy Livingstone, a man who has done so much valuable work for the Society over the years.

Full results will be available here this evening so stay tuned. Our final excerpt in our history of the London Society was published yesterday and can be read here. The draw for today’s competitions can be viewed here.


st-thomass-episcopal-logoCongratulations to Nick Hudson on being appointed piping tutor at the St Thomas’s Episcopal School in Houston, Texas. Nick, from Pittsburgh, is the current Braemar Gold Medallist (see pic up top) and winner of the Silver Medal at the 2016 Argyllshire Gathering. Headmaster Mike Cusack, himself a piper of world renown, could not have made a better choice.


I travelled down to London with fellow adjudicators John Wilson, Ian McLellan, Walter Cowan and Tom Johnstone. Four and a half hours beats the plane and Virgin Trains’ hospitality is very generous. Plenty of time to put the piping world to rights and then on to the Copthorne Tara Hotel, a short walk from the contest venue. Re the Argylls Book that Ian’s co-editing with Jim Henderson, Jimmy Banks and Walter, the project was started by Captain Gordon Rowan and Pipe Major Scott Methven with support from the then Director of Army Bagpipe Music, Major Steven Small, and with Mr David Hunter doing the typesetting and design work. The book will be launched at Piping Live next year. Well done to all concerned.argylls-book


I hear that the Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band have pulled out of their planned concert in Aberdeen in May due to a clash of dates. Dowco will do the Bucksburn concert in 2018 with Boghall filling in next year. Still on band concerts, don’t forget Shotts & Dykehead, the 2015 World Champions, will be doing the Worlds Week concert in Glasgow next August.