This year’s Uist & Barra competition was cancelled due to the weather and we await details of a rearranged date. In the meantime a delve into the PP archives has revealed this cutting from the Daily Record of February 12, 1951, confirming that the contest was held even earlier all those years ago. These days it is usually on the first Saturday in March.
Under the headline ‘Portrait of prize piper’, the caption reads: ‘This braw piper is Robert G Hardie of Bishopbriggs, who won the Finlay S. MacKenzie Challenge Trophy for piobaireachd playing at the Uist & Barra Association’s piping competition for professionals in Glasgow High School on Saturday.‘ We think it unlikely that any of the tabloids today would treat piping in such a respectful way.
Incidentally the article to the right of the picture may be of interest to students of Scottish history. It concerns the theft of the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey by Scottish nationalists. It reads: ‘Stone – Latest; Young Teacher Questioned by Detectives; Because she resembles the woman in the car which was parked outside Westminster Abbey when the Stone of Destiny was removed, a Ross-shire school teacher, Miss Catherine Mathieson, has been questioned by Special Branch Detectives’.
On the subject of Robert Hardie the editor has received this from piper Allan Skalazub formerly of the Triumph Street Pipe Band in British Columbia: ‘Here is the photo of Hal with Bob and Jimmy Hardie and you in the background. By the way, we met in Vancouver in the 1970s when you were visiting Hal [Senyk] and I had you over to our house after band practice one dark and wet Vancouver night.
‘I remember Muirheads from our two trips to Scotland in the 1970s and also from that time in Toronto at the CNE in 1977. Bob Hardie also came to Vancouver to judge in 1976 and that is how I first met him. I recall drinking in Toronto at York University with a bunch of Muirheads including a guy called Budgie. That time, August 1977, was when Elvis Presley died so I have lots many vivid memories of that trip.’
This programme from the Northern Meeting 1950 makes interesting reading. The competition was held in the Northern Meeting Rooms and the programme must be from the second day of the meeting. We believe the March and Gold Medal contests may have been held outdoors the previous day.
If any reader has information on the format of the Northern Meeting in those days and also the prize lists from 1950 please send them on to the PP office.