PP Ed’s Blog: U&Barra/ Donald MacLeod/ Bruno Schroder/ St Cecilia’s Recital

The promoters of Saturday’s Uist & Barra Professional contest have issued this list of competitors and their tunes:

1 Connor Sinclair, Rory MacLoude’s Lament
2 Glenn Brown, Beloved Scotland
3 Alasdair Henderson, Blind Piper’s Obstinacy
4 Finlay Johnston,  Battle of Auldearn No. 1
5 Sandy Cameron, Old Men of the Shells No. 1
6 Niall Stewart, Lament for the Iolaire
7 Roderick MacLeod, Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay



8 Cameron Drummond, Earl of Seaforth’s Salute
9 Iain Speirs, I Got a Kiss of the King’s Hand
10 Peter McCalister, A Son’s Salute to his Parents
11 Cameron McDougall, Lachlan MacNeil of Kintarbert’s Fancy
12 William McCallum, Big Spree
13 Angus MacColl, MacLeod of Raasay’s Salute

The competition will be held in the National Piping Centre, Otago Street, Glasgow, from 9am this Saturday, March 2.



March, Strathspey and Reel and Hornpipe and Jig contests will follow the Ceol Mor.

Adjudicator Ian Duncan has flu and has been replaced on the bench by Major Stuart Samson, formerly Director of Army Bagpipe Music.

The U&B poster

Following my story yesterday about changes at the Donald MacLeod Memorial competition, the promoters, the Lewis & Harris Piping Society have forwarded a copy of the contest poster:

The Society has also sent a link to a promo video they have published on Facebook.


The death has been reported of Mr Bruno Schroder the Islay-based international banker. He was 86.

Mr Schroder will be known to pipers through his name appearing in the Argyllshire Gathering programme.

His generous financial support for the Gathering, its piping competitions in particular, will always be remembered with gratitude.

One obituary read: ‘He was proprietor of the turreted late-Victorian mansion of Dunlossit, overlooking Port Askaig on the island of Islay. Dunlossit’s wild 18,000-acre domain – chiefly given over to stalking – had been acquired by Bruno’s father from the heirs of the Scottish shipowner Nathaniel Dunlop in 1937.

‘Bruno and his sister Charmaine, together with the children of several of their parents’ friends and a large team of nannies, spend idyllic childhood years there during the early part of the Second World War.

The late Mr Bruno Schroder

In later years Bruno Schroder involved himself in many projects to boost economic life on Islay, including a whisky distillery, a pig-breeding venture, an abattoir and a tweed mill.

‘He and Charmaine gave £675,000 towards a new lifeboat, named after their father, and at community events he was an unassuming and popular presence, happy to draw the winning raffle ticket or offer free flights in his private plane on open days for the local airport. He also sponsored the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban, and was co-founder of a trust to support its bagpipe competition.’

Philanthropy like that of Mr Schroder and his family is never more needed. Argyll & Bute Council have proposed cuts to their music teaching budget of £149,000 over the next three years.

If that goes through it will have a serious effect on this vital branch of local children’s education. Argyll’s Piping Trust and its supporters can only do so much to counter inept political decision-making.

Mr Schroder and his family may have been present at Port Ellen Gala Day on Islay in the 80s at which our main picture (top) was taken. It is dated July 21 and clearly there was a good turnout of local pipers.

I can identify Dougie Ferguson, holidaying on his native isle, far right standing. The newspaper clipping also names the lady piper as Mrs L MacDougall, Ceol-ila. Can anyone identify the other pipers?


Pleased to see that St Cecilia’s Hall in Edinburgh has received a Civic Trust Award for 2019. This beautifully refurbished building is the venue for the Piobaireachd Society’s Edinburgh Fringe recital to be held on Sunday, August 11.

The four pipers from the 2018 concert with the beautiful St Cecilia’s Hall in the background

St Cecilia’s was selected from 240 UK entries. ‘The aim of the Civic Trust Awards is to encourage the very best in architecture and environmental design…. to reward projects that offer a positive cultural, social, economic or environmental benefit to their local communities,’ reads the blurb.

Well done to Ruthanne and her colleagues and we can all look forward to the summer when we will be able to hear once more world class ceol mor in perfect surroundings.


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