PP Ed’s Blog: Worlds Draw/ Northern Meeting/ Darach & PM Angus/ Mod Results & Reminder

I don’t think we should be giving the RSPBA a hard time over the slip up with the Worlds draw. Errors of this sort are very rare within the Association and having attended the procedure I can vouch for the considerable care and attention to detail that is gone into in trying to get everything just right. As we say in Glasgow ‘nae body’s deid’.

I did think it unfortunate that the three New Zealand bands ended up in the same leg of the draw but that just shows you that it is exactly that – a draw. The luck either goes your way or it doesn’t. I suppose this now means the land of the kiwi will have less chance of a band making it through on the big day.

I’ve always thought it a pity there was nothing for the bands who don’t make it through to the Worlds final – nothing more than a free pass to the second day. But it seems there is no appetite for a ‘best of the rest’ G1 contest on the Saturday. I find this hard to understand but there you have it. However, one kiwi band that regularly makes the final is Manawatu (pictured top) and they’ll be back this year once more under the direction of the gifted P/M Stewart MacKenzie.

Isn’t it marvellous how these bands are prepared to find the thousands of dollars to make the long, long trek from the southern hemisphere to the home of piping? Make that journey once and you fully appreciate the effort and commitment they make every other year.


Chatting to friend and piping stalwart from the north yesterday, Col Sutherland. Col tells me he has booked up for this year’s Northern Meeting in Inverness. It will be his 47th consecutive attendance at the Meetings. Col was great friends with the late John D Burgess and John wrote a slow air, Nancy’s Lullaby, for Col’s late wife. I’m dashed if I can find my copy but the search is on. It is a very fine tune, one of the few John wrote. Will publish when it turns up.



Thinking on Darach and Helen‘s wedding the other day gave cause to run this picture. It was taken at Lochaber Gathering – must  have been late 80s – when for a brief period it was held outside.
The picture shows junior competitors and adjudicator P/M Angus MacDonald, Scots Guards. Darach is back row on Angus’s left. At the front are Darach’s brothers Strath and Connon (probably have them the wrong way round) and far right is Alastair Brown who was a top junior player. It was nice to meet Alastair again at the wedding. Is that P/M Alasdair Gillies second from the left at the back? I am not sure. If anyone can help with the missing names please get in touch.

Incidentally to remind everyone: Lochaber Gathering is on August 4th this year, a fortnight or so earlier than usual. Entries will be taken to Aug 3rd to accommodate any confusion over the change. The venue is, as before, the Nevis Centre, Fort William. Contact Allan MacColl here for more.


Still with the juniors, this is from the Oban Times’ report on the National Mod prizelists; must be early 70s:

Playing a march, strathspey and reel –
1 Anne E Sinclair, Tiree
2 Anne Stewart, Carnoustie
3 Ronald Elmslie, Glasgow

March –
1 Donald McBride, Prestonpans
2 Roderick MacDonald, Inverness
3 Kenneth W Macdonald, Newton Mearns

Anne Sinclair is now Anne Johnston. Anne will be on the bench at Balloch Games tomorrow and is the mother of Gold Medallist Finlay. She is also the long-suffering wife of Tommy, ace drummer and joint proprietor at Pipe Dreams, the world famous reed makers.

Anne Stewart is now Anne Spalding, a lady who, following in her late mother’s footsteps, has done a wonderful job teaching so many good young players in the Dundee area and is now a leading light in the G2 MacKenzie Caledonia Pipe Band.

Ronald Elmslie started the pipes on the same day as me at the 214 BB in 1960. I don’t know if Ronnie still plays. His brother Dougie, who won several Worlds titles with Muirheads, was also a 214 boy and sadly passed away a few years ago. Another brother, Jim, also a Worlds winner, taught the evening classes at the now defunct College of Piping for many years.

Donald McBride? Well what can one say? A great piper, who like Duncan Johnstone, couldn’t quite knuckle down to this competing lark but who still manage to be a multiple prize winner in the Gold Medal. Donald, as readers will know, now lives in Kansas City where he does lots of teaching in between stints in Donegal and at our South Florida and New England Academies.

Roddy MacDonald is the popular piping personality, brilliant composer and pipe major who has just retired from the Queensland Police P&D. Roddy is the son of the late Willie MacDonald, Benbecula, double Gold Medallist and Clasp winner.

Don’t forget today is the last day you can enter for this year’s Mod at Dunoon. Click on the display ad to get your name down.


3 thoughts on “PP Ed’s Blog: Worlds Draw/ Northern Meeting/ Darach & PM Angus/ Mod Results & Reminder

  1. The piper in the photo with the late PM Angus MacDonald at the Lochaber Gathering is Sandy Cameron who was originally from Conon Bridge. He was a bit of a look-a- like of the great Alasdair Gillies.

  2. Re Mod results I was going to suggest 1970 Mod in Oban, when Donald won the march, but I think Tom Johnstone got the MSR that year

  3. I am totally in favour of a G1 competition on the Saturday, for the best G1 band not in the final, and cannot see why this is not adopted. It would give the bands who travel 1000s of miles something additional to aim for, as well as generating a culture of inclusion in Saturday’s big events. As with so many things the culture within the RSPBA is not to be progressive, but remain mired in the status quo

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