PP Ed’s Blog: SLoT/ MacCrimmon Cairn/ Pipes for Sale/ World Drumming/ Queensland

Speaking to Gaelic poet and writer Angus Peter Campbell at the Scots Guards contest on Saturday. He told me that daughter Brighde had been playing at a big traditional music concert in Dublin.

Taking part were former World Pipe Band Champions St Laurence O’Toole (above). And, get this, it was the first time a pipe band had ever appeared on a concert stage in the Republic. Can you believe that? Surely not true – but can we doubt AP’s information?

Certainly when this brilliant band won the Worlds in 2010, I remember speaking to P/M Terry Tully. I fully expected him to tell me of  private receptions in city hall, a ticker tape parade down O’Connell Street, mentions in the Dáil, maybe even a spot on the Late Show, you know the sort of recognition world champions usually get in their home town. Not a bit of it Terry confirmed. Nothing, nada, zilch; hardly even a mention in the local press. Maybe things improved subsequently, but you know what lads and lassies?, we appreciate you even if the public back home don’t. Keep it going and we look forward to seeing you once more treading the grass of Auld Scotia next summer.


Young reader Luca McKenna has sent in this snap of him playing at the MacCrimmon Memorial Cairn at Borreraig on Skye a couple of weeks ago. This should surely be a rite of passage for all student pipers. How many today still make the journey? Luca writes that in order to get to the cairn he and his dad had to scramble over fences and muddy fields with no signs at all on the approach roads.

Isn’t it about time the authorities on Skye woke up to the lack of assistance and facilities given to tourists eager to visit their magical island? The place was booming through the summer with ropey B&Bs able to charge £60 a night for a no more than adequate room, polystyrene toast, a rubber egg and cash and carry bacon with all that white stuff stuck to it.

The cairn is at Borreraig (circled)

Parking at the Fairy Pools and the Storr are a nightmare.  A concerted endeavour is required to provide better parking (charge for it), signage and other facilities. Our main concern however is that someone in the council starts to appreciate the island’s piping heritage and, in particular, the need for better access to the MacCrimmon Cairn. Who knows the number of piping pilgrims better access and publicity would attract? Anyway good to see the monument in good nick despite the ravages it endures on that lonely headland, the unlikely cradle of our most enduring music.


David Logie, Bicheno, Tasmania, Australia won the Chris Armstrong pipes up for raffle at the Worlds Week Concert in Glasgow last August and is now offering them for sale at a very good price. Said David: ‘I was lucky enough to be a raffle prize winner at the pre-Worlds Concert this year. Coming from Australia the concert has been on my bucket list for many years and the raffle win capped off a great evening.’ Click here for more on the pipes on the PP Online Ads page. Online ads cost only £25 and reach thousands of pipers every day. Book your ad here. All proceeds help us keep Piping Press free for all.



World Solo Drumming Champion Steven McWhirter of Inveraray & District

Hearty congratulations to Steven MacWhirter on his success at the World Solo Drumming on Saturday. I am reliably informed that Steven is now half way to Jim Kilpatrick’s monumental total of 16 wins and is obviously still young enough to beat it. Thanks to all those who wrote in to correct MacStig, pointing out that it was Scott Wallace who played for FMM marathon man Gareth McLees (placed fourth) and not Ashley McMichael.


Alex McConnell, Secretary of the Queensland Highland Pipers Society has announced the cancellation of Saturday’s Appleton-Seymour contest due to be held at Emmanuel College at the University of Queensland, Australia.