PP Ed’s Blog: Inverness Recital/ Bobby at N Uist/ Northern Winter School/ South Florida/ Bagpipe Sound/ Belfast Tattoo

Alastair Campbell, Secretary of the Inverness Piping Society, has sent notice of a recital by two of the north’s most promising young pipers: ‘Please do come along to the Society’s meeting this Wednesday (tonight) to hear Cameron MacDougall, fresh from his win in the Silver Medal at Oban, along with Charles Macdonald. Usual venue – The Club, Gordon Terrace, Inverness. 7.45 pm.’

I hope as many people as possible get along to hear these two fine pipers. They won’t be disappointed. Cameron is pictured up top after his success at the Argyllshire Gathering. On his right is Craig Sutherland the 2017 Oban Gold Medallist.

Still with the youngsters, here’s Bobby Allan at the North Uist Games. Bobby is a champion junior piper and had a successful day on the boards, but he’s also a dab hand at the heavy events winning the under 18lb hammer throw and shot putt in his piping outfit!The pic takes me back about forty years to the machair of South Uist when Ian Duncan finished playing in the piobaireachd before getting out the running shorts for a go at the hill race.

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Delighted to be joining the teaching faculty at Ronnie Bromhead’s Northern Winter School in Germany in a couple of months (Nov 10 – 17). It will just be like the old days with co-instructors Barry Donaldson, Craig Munro, Brian Lamond, Billy Jordan and Jim Semple. All of these gents, with the exception of Brian, were with me on the schools we did at Brüggen and Homburg over an eight year period from 2007 to 2014. Be just like old times, and students who attended these classes will know the quality of instruction and they will get at Lohheide.

Registrations are now open for the 2018 South Florida Pipe & Drum Academy. The team of Barry, Donald MacBride, Matt Pantaleoni and Tommy Johnston are all looking forward to another great school and to some winter sunshine. The dates are Feb 26 to the 2nd of March and we may stay on for an extra day to visit the South East Florida Games:


I was very interested in Ian McLellan’s comments yesterday re the bagpipe sound we hear nowadays. When the pipe major speaks we all have to listen. I do think we forget sometimes that it is the great Highland pipe that we play. Has indoor playing fostered this weaker, less resonant sound? Of course MacDougall pipes always had that steady, soft hum to them but then in the 70s and 80s the bolder Henderson and Lawrie pipes started to blow them away and they went out of fashion.

Now perhaps we are seeing a return to the parlour sound. Steady yes, but lacking the full tool kit of harmonics Ian was talking about. Those interested in this debate might like to check out yesterday’s post and the comments at the bottom of the article from Brian Mulhearn and Duncan Watson.

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John Kelly reports a successful Belfast Tattoo last weekend. It was held in the SSE Arena, Thursday 31st August, Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September.  Featured performers were the Band of the Royal Air Force College, RAF Queen’s Colour Squadron, Crescendo Bicycle Band (The Netherlands), Fascinating Drums (Germany), Lume De Biqueira (Spain), Winnipeg Police Pipe Band (Canada), Raffrey Pipe Band, Manorcunningham Pipe Band, Belfast Tattoo Highland Dance Troupe and the Choir of Belfast High School.

Stephen Chapman (Senior Drum Major) pictured heading up the massed pipe bands at the 2017 Belfast Tattoo. Included are Drum Majors Lauren Hanna (left in front row) and Jason Price (right in front row) and Senior Pipe Major Alan Barr (left in second row).