It has been a very tough year for one of the world’s best pipers, Gordon Walker. Gordon’s genial nature and brilliant technique and music have been sorely missed at the major competitions and we can only hope that in the coming year the difficulties of the past 12 months will be overcome and we will see him strutting the boards once more.
To remind everyone of this great piper’s abilities we have a recording of his playing at the Uist & Barra Professional contest from a few years ago. The tunes are Knightswood Ceilidh, Piper’s Bonnet and Ca’ the Ewes. The Hornpipe and Jig are Stornoway Hornpipe and Kenny Gillies of Portnalong. Check it out here.
Gordon’s Wikipedia entry reads: ‘He started playing bagpipes at the age of four and a half under Pipe Major David Kay. He enlisted as a boy soldier in The Royal Highland Fusiliers and was sent for training to Bridge of Don, where he came under the guidance of Pipe Major Iain M. Morrison (Queen’s Own Highlanders). Gordon had two years of instruction with Iain before he joined the battalion in West Berlin.
‘Steady progress through the ranks followed when Gordon was invited to take the Pipe Major’s certificate at Edinburgh Castle and passed with Distinguished honours. He subsequently saw active service in the Gulf war in 1991 and tours of duty in Bosnia in 1995 and Northern Ireland in 1996. Later in his army career he had piobaireachd tuition from the late Captain Andrew Pitkeathly, Director of Army Bagpipe Music.
‘He won the Gold Medal at Oban in 1993, and at Inverness the following year, and the Open Piobaireachd at Oban in 1995 and 2007. But it was his prowess as a light music player that attracted the most attention. He won the Former Winners March, Strathspey and Reel at Oban in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2003, 2004 and 2005, and at Inverness in 1990, 1993, 2000, 2001.’
There are many, many more awards to add to Gordon’s list of achievements. He has been much sought after as a tutor and had distinguished spells at the College of Piping and the National Piping Centre.