From the Archives: the Northern Meeting 1967

Willie MacDonald (Benbecula) and his wife Margaret celebrate his winning the Clasp at the Northern Meeting in 1967

We continue with our look back through piping history. We know readers appreciate these ‘blasts from the past’ and thank you to all those who have forwarded old photographs and newspaper clippings. Please keep them coming. The following is from the Press & Journal newspaper, Aberdeen, September 30, 1967.

The report reads: Mr William MacDonald, a native of Benbecula, carried off the piping world’s major trophy at the Northern Meeting piping competitions held in the Arts Centre, Inverness, last Friday.

He won the Rothiemurchus Trophy and the Gold Clasp for piobaireachd – open only to previous winners of the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal at a former gathering at Oban or Inverness.

Willie, who now lives at 12 Muirtown Street, Inverness, has been piping for 30 years, since he was nine. He is, at present, a student male nurse at Craig Dunain Hospital, Inverness.

For 12 years Willie was in the Highland Light Infantry serving in Palestine, Germany, Egypt, and Gibraltar latterly as pipe sergeant. When he left the Regulars Willie came to live in Inverness where he joined the 4/5th Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders (T.A.) as Pipe Major.

The other major trophy at the Northern Meeting­, the piobaireachd Gold Medal competition, was won by 25-year-old Hugh A. MacCallum, 44 Main Street, Campbeltown.

Hugh as pictured in the P&J report

Hugh, an accountant with an Inverness firm, has been playing the pipes for 15 years, learn­ing the trade from his cousin Pipe-Major Robert MacCallum, Inveraray. As part of his prize for winning this class, which is open to former winners of this event at other gatherings [the Argyllshire Gathering], Hugh also received the Seaforth Silver Pitcher.

It was, in fact, a double triumph day for Hugh, as he also won the Silver Star for march, strathspey and reel [Former Winners’ MSR]. He has been competing at the Northern Meeting for six years, and has previously taken third and fourth places in this event.

With his Gold Medal, Hugh is now eligible for next year’s Gold Clasp event.

  • If any reader has further information on the 1967 NM please forward. Sadly, Hugh MacCallum passed away earlier this year. There will be a tribute paper to him at the Piobaireachd Society conference in Glasgow on March 21, 2020.

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1 thought on “From the Archives: the Northern Meeting 1967

  1. I admired the music of Hugh MacCallum when I was 15 yrs. I was a big influence on my own bagpipe playing. I heard him play in contests several times and play at the Scottish Pipers Club in Glasgow during 1967.
    R. Mitchell

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