It was never warm, but when the sun broke through Braemar blossomed into a right royal gathering with thousands flocking to the Duke of Fife Memorial Park, writes the Editor. This small granite village in the Cairngorm National Park is always worth a visit even without the piping .
At 10am my fellow judges and I settled down to a fairly good ceol mor competition. Inveraray Pipe Band had some function on in the Central Belt. Their pipers wanted on early. Jamie Elder swapped with Matt Pantaleoni who had been drawn first.
Later Matt was to play an outstanding Vaunting to take first. The bench agreed that this was probably the best tune we had heard from Matt, a great supporter of the games and Scottish piping over many years.
He set the tune out well and any hint of lack of control in one phrase was quickly corrected in the next. The pipe held, the finger crackled and we had a clear winner.
Jamie was given the Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick. He almost made the list, nippy low G connecting notes and a couple of tiny chokes counting against him. Close to the list too was Darach Urquhart who played double double echoes on B and a couple of wrong fosgailte crunluaths in the Earl of Ross.
Ben Duncan gave a good MacSwan with just a slight misplacing of emphasis in variation 1 and a drift in the drones the concerns. Sweet chanter from Anna Kummerlöw and a musical presentation of the Bicker but the drones were never happy with the low A. Too much emphasis on the E cadence in the Thumb of MacKay’s Banner for me but Greig Canning presented his tune well otherwise and was well worth his fourth despite a couple of misses in the crunluath.
James MacHattie had a small slip in the Old Men of the Shells and rushed the crunluath doubling. Craig Sutherland added Donald of Laggan to his list of monster tunes and got the tiddler to play. Braemar rule number one – no makeweights in your eight. Craig played the tune well enough on a good pipe.
John Dew rushed through the Battle of Strome; James MacKenzie couldn’t finger chedari in the The Bicker and the timing was suspect; chokes from Jason Craig in Scarce of Fishing; lack of expression and tempo change from Ursa Beckford with Lament for the Children; Dan Lyden off the tune in End of the Great Bridge; untidy fingering from John MacDonald and a lack of phrasing in MacDougall’s Gathering.
Piobaireachd (eight tunes, 23 played)
1 Matt Pantaleoni, The Vaunting, £400
2 Ben Duncan, Lament for MacSwan of Roaig, £80
3 Anna Kummerlöw, The Bicker, £60
4 Greig Canning, MacKay’s Banner, £40
5 James MacHattie, Old Men of the Shells, £30
6 Craig Sutherland, Lament for Donald of Laggan, £20
Judges: M McRae, R Wallace, D Watson
Silver Medal for best overseas senior piper: Anna Kummerlöw
1 Craig Sutherland, £200
2 Ben Duncan, £80
3 Ursa Beckford, £60
4 Callum Brown, £40
5 James MacKenzie, £30
6 John Dew, £20
1 Ben Duncan, £200
2 James MacKenzie, £80
3 John Dew, £60
4 Craig Sutherland, £40
5 Callum Brown, £30
6 Jamie Elder, £20
Judges: I Duncan, P Henderson, S Samson
Overall Champion Piper: Ben Duncan
Overall Champion U18: Christopher Happs
Grampian League Ceol Mor, John Milne Trophy: Greig Canning
Grampian League Ceol Beag, John Milne Trophy: Callum Brown
Best band on parade: Gordonstoun School (P/M Scott Oliphant)
Local Marches, Bessie Brown Trophy: Callan Daniels
U18 Piobaireachd (seven played):
1 Liam Brown
2 Christopher Happs
Judge: J Taylor
Early morning at Braemar……
U18 March (nine played):
1 Christopher Happs
2 Liam Brown
3 Calum Dunbar
4 Jake Robertson
5 Josh Davidson
S&R (nine played):
1 Christopher Happs
2 Liam Brown
3 Jake Robertson
4 Calum Dunbar
5 Eilidh MacGregor
Judge: J Hamilton, P Grant