PP Ed’s Blog: Winter School/ Composing Competition/ Cenotaph Pipers/ SG Juniors/ Baby Jack/ Pipes for Sale

The picture up top will let you see what a huge success last week’s Northern Winter School in Lohheide, Germany, was.

It is of the closing concert. Hundreds of locals attended. Admission was free and they made substantial donations to the school.

The dates for 2019 have been announced as November 8 -15. Such is its popularity that registrations for the school will open early in the new year.


Hornby, the well-known model making company and famous for die-cast trains, planes and automobiles, has delivered the first replica scale model of a RAF Catalina flying boat, commemorating the Centenary of the Royal Air Force.

This model is of special interest as it is the plane flown by Flight Lieutenant John C. Cruikshank VC, for whom Piping Press, in conjunction with the Royal Northern and University Club, where Mr Cruikshank is a long-standing member, launched a pipe tune composition competition in September.

The limited edition run of the JV928 (call sign on the tail fin) is being snapped up by enthusiasts and collectors. One model will be on display at the RNUC during the anticipated prize winners luncheon in 2019…..



Piping Press is pleased to have been party to creating this composer’s competition for a fitting tune to reflect Flt. Lt. Cruikshank’s story.

The word ‘awesome’ is overused nowadays, but wholly fitting in this circumstance.

Hornby’s model of John Cruickshank’s Catalina flying boat

The judging panel of Pipe Majors Ian McLellan, Richard Parkes and Stuart Liddell, chaired by myself, encourages all composers, young and old, to turn their attention to this challenge. Reminder: entries close Nov 30. No late entries accepted. Check out Mr Cruickshank’s story and contest details here.

The prize will include an invitation to join a celebratory lunch with the judges, Mr Cruikshank and a few other guests, at the RNUC.

A framed version of the tune will be presented to the Club for display. The winner will receive a £1,000 cheque, £1 for every replica of the plane made by Hornby.


Did anyone else notice that there were only five pipers representing the Black Watch (I refuse to use the soulless term 3 Scots) at the Cenotaph in London last Sunday?

Pipers and drummers from the Black Watch
Black Watch piper on Armistice Day in London….one of only five

I hope it was for operational reasons and not just because of some dictat from above. The Army School has prospered under the baton of Major Gordon Rowan and his predecessor Major Steven Small, so it was rather surprising to see so few pipers in London representing the most important branch of the Army’s musical endeavour.


P/M Banks with last year’s winners

The Army School at Inchdrewer House, Edinburgh, will be the centre of operations tomorrow for the Scots Guards Junior Piping Championship.

P/M Jimmy Banks MBE runs a very good contest and here is an opportunity to listen to some of Scotland’s best young talent. Please support the event if you can. Starts 10am. Here is the draw.


In the evening why not head to the Piping Centre in Glasgow where P/M Ross Cowan and his wife Claire are holding a charity night in aid of the neo-natal unit at Wishaw General Hospital in Lanarkshire.

Ross and Claire’s son Jack had a tough time in the first few months of his young life but thanks to the super care and skill of the unit is a lovely baby boy as you can see from the picture. Jack (11 months) has a big sister Charlotte.

There will be piping from Finlay Johnston, Darach Urquhart, Gordon Bruce, William Geddes, Scottish Power Pipe Band and young pipers Hazel Whyte, Luke Shearer and Cameron May.

Tickets are available at the door or by clicking the photograph above. Start time 7 for 7.30pm. Cabaret seating, bar till late.


Family bereavements have left reader Elinor Dear with unwanted pipes. Mrs Dear writes: ‘My husband was a piper from a very young age until his untimely death four years ago.

‘His electronic chanter (above) and his bagpipes were intended to be passed to our grandson who sadly, and untimely, also passed away.

‘I would love someone else to get the use from them.’ Contact Mrs Dear here.


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4 thoughts on “PP Ed’s Blog: Winter School/ Composing Competition/ Cenotaph Pipers/ SG Juniors/ Baby Jack/ Pipes for Sale

  1. I can confirm that there were in fact 10 Pipers on parade along with 6 Drummers 4 side 1 tenor and 1 bass. I can fully assure these numbers are accurate as I am the Pipe Major of the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

    A bit of actual research needed I think.

  2. Good Evening,

    After reading your post regards The Black Watch, 3 Scots attending The Cenotaph last week in London. I believe the photo you have captured only shows one side of the band formation. The band had a full compliment of 10 Pipers, 4 side Drummers, 1 Bass and Tenor, with 5 Pipers either side of the Drum Corp.
    I hope this helps clarify any confusing.

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