PP Ed’s Blog: Army Pipers/ Band Sizes/ Hector the Hero/ SPA/ Preston Lodge

Ian McAlister has added to the debate on a cap on band sizes. Ian writes: ‘I have said for a while we need to limit numbers in bands. I would have a maximum squad number and maximum playing number into force to allow a bit of cover for holidays etc, perhaps a maximum of 18 pipers playing with max of 21 in the squad.

‘This would make more players available to other bands and help them survive. Big question is how many bass and tenor? As they play a one tone instrument and you could argue that unless all notes are covered you can not have a complete ensemble presentation.’

Bass and tenor sections are a mystery to me Ian but I would welcome some clarification/information from the experts in this field. 


This appeared on the BBC’s news app: ‘Three pipers and a drummer have braved temperatures of about -8C [see pic up top] and strong winds to play in their kilts in the Cairngorms. The soldiers from the 51st Highland, 7th Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, played at Cairn Gorm Mountain ski centre’s restaurant.

‘The eatery is situated at 1,096.9m (3,599ft) high in the Cairngorms near Aviemore. The four played at the site on Friday to promote the role of Army Reserves. Temperatures at the time were about -8C and a wind was gusting, the ski resort said. Further up, at the summit of the mountain Cairn Gorm, winds were gusting to 75mph, it added. Check out the clip here and a hearty well done to lads for going the extra yard to get some well deserved publicity for the Reserves.



US reader Sandy Hain has sent this arrangement of the popular Scott Skinner air ‘Hector the Hero’. It works quite well I think: For those who might want to print it off, here it is in PDF as well: Hector the Hero Harmony


SPA President Tom Johnstone has sent this: ‘The Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Pipers’ Association will be held on Friday, 3rd February at 7.30pm in the College of Piping. 

‘All current Life and Annual Members are eligible to attend and vote and we would like to welcome you all to the meeting. Non-members can join on the evening. We will also be having our regular ‘club night’ on that evening too. Looking forward to seeing you all.’ 


What a great training ground Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band is proving to be. They report the following in their January Newsletter: 

‘School Pipe Major, Ben Muir, was awarded a scholarship in piping to attend Strathallan School for his last two years of school which he decided to accept. Ben has also joined Grade 1 band Scottish Power.  Our Leading Drummer Blair Logan has started an engineering apprenticeship and will continue drumming with Glasgow Police Pipe Band in Grade 1.  Tenor drummer Emma McDonald is attending University of Edinburgh studying Geography and Environmental Studies. She has also joined local band Prestonpans Royal British Legion.

 Tenor drummer Siobhan Menzies is doing a Modern Apprenticeship in the Civil Service and is continuing her tenor drumming with City of Edinburgh Pipe Band.  Piper Kimberley McKay is attending Napier University doing a degree course in Events Management with Languages. She has also joined Prestonpans Royal British Legion Pipe Band.  Piper Reece Campbell started an apprenticeship with the Royal Bank of Scotland in June 2016.’