Planning for your summer of piping and pipe band music can begin! Today Piping Press publishes our first draft of our Highland games and solo piping contests – the Guide to the Games.
Also published is the RSPBA calendar of pipe band events including the five major championships.
Pictured top are Canada’s 78th Fraser Highlanders at the Worlds.
The Association have split their calendar into monthly sections for convenience.
On the solo front there are a total of 60+ events to choose from. We hope pipers and enthusiasts alike will get out and support these events.
With the bands there are 44 UK contests ranging from the minors to the World Pipe Band Championships in August. Again we hope bands will keep the minors going by entering when possible.
It is a sad fact that many small Highland games and minor band events, often run by unpaid volunteers, are struggling.
The solo contests start on May 5 with the Highland & Islands Festival in Oban and end with the Invercharron Games (cancelled last year) on September 21.
The bands begin on May 11 with Dunbar and Ards in Northern Ireland and run through until Pitlochry on September 14, though the RSPBA schedule does include the World Solo Drumming and Tenor Drumming on its roster (October 19).
Pitlochry and the lack of support it receives was the subject of correspondence to PP late last year.
Solos in May: Highlands & Islands (4th), Gordon Castle (19th), Atholl Gathering (26th); in June we Markinch (2nd), Strathmore (9th) , Ardrossan (9th), Aberdeen (16th), Cupar (16th), Drumtochty (22nd), Lorne (23rd) and Ceres (29th).
There are too many to list in July, August and September but they include, in no particular order, the Skye Gathering (Aug 6/7th), the Argyllshire Gathering (Aug 21/22), the Northern Meeting (Aug 29/30), Braemar Gathering (Sept 7), Young Piper, Benbecula, North Uist (20th July), South Uist (17 July), Luss (July 6), Cowal (Aug 30) and in the far north, Halkirk (July 27) … the list goes on.
For the bands in May we have the British Championships (18th) and minors at Dundee City (12th), Enniskillen (25th), Gourock (12th), Dunbar, Ards and Banchory (12th).
The highlight in June are the UK Championships at Lurgan in Northern Ireland (15th) and the European Championships at Inverness (29th). Between these majors there is a wide range of contests from Cookstown in Northern Ireland (1st) to Helensburgh in the west of Scotland (23rd).
As ever July is a quiet month for the bands with only five contests – but two big ones. They are the All Ireland Championships (Ballymena, 6th), and the Scottish Chanmpionships at Dumbarton on the 27th .
August is dominated by the two-day Worlds (16th/17th) with no decision yet on a proposed re-scheduling of some contests from the Saturday to the Friday.
There are good minor pipe band contests to choose from in August including those at Newcaastle, Co. Down (3rd), Bridge of Allan (4th), Moira (10th), North Berwick (10th), Perth (11th), Rothesay (24th) and Cowal (31).
There are three band contests in September: Chatsworth (1st), Peebles (7th) and Innerleithan (14th).
Both these lists will be updated/ corrected as information is received. Don’t travel or enter any solo event without checking locally first.