I attach scans of the MS and a couple of snaps of Rubh’ an Dùnain. The name means ‘the headland of the small fort’. In one shot you can see part of what remains of the fort and in the other is a short canal from the sea to a fresh water/brackish loch which dates back to the days of Norse hegemony in the Hebrides.
John’s family was from Berneray in the Western Isles and, though his father and uncles were pipers, learned his piping at the College of Piping, joining the classes there in 1957. Later he received instruction from Donald MacLeod and Angus MacPherson, hence the latter’s inclusion in the picture below. When he started competing Dr John was immediately successful in the amateur ranks and later, when medical studies allowed and the urge was on him, would have a go at the professional.
A larger than life character, John MacAskill was born in 1944 and died in 2003. When he won the Gold Medal at Inverness, Seumas MacNeill wrote: ‘When the winner was announced men of discernment looked for ways to escape, men of experience prepared to batten down the hatches and men of neither are still wondering what happened.’
He combined general practice with work for the Scottish Football Association’s medical team. He travelled the world with the SFA and enjoyed nothing better than being helicoptered into the big stadiums, floodlights, massive crowds – the perfect stage he said for the man with the ‘best fingers in Scotland’! Those fingers had brought him, in addition to his Gold Medal, the March at Inverness in 1964, at Oban in 1966 and the NM Strathspey and Reel in 1970. Piobaireachd enthusiasts who would like a copy of this fine tune in Dr John’s own hand can download it in its entirety here.