Editor's Notebook: Willie's Cat/ Trophy Info/ Oban's £1,000 Contest/ Thurso Band/ SPA

Jimmy McIntosh on the archive report on Willie MacDonald, Benbecula’s Clasp in 1967: ‘My late friend Peter Forbes and myself stayed with Willie at that time. (Peter served in the HLI with Willie.) That morning when we were getting ready to go to Rose Street [the venue for the competition], Willie didn’t have his kilt jacket. His wife Margaret had forgotten to get it from the dry cleaners so Willie had to dash down to get it.  

‘When he got dressed we were all standing watching him leave and their dog went for one of their cats. The cat jumped onto the top of Willie’s van and Margaret started shouting ‘Willie, Willie the cat’s on the van!’,

Jimmy and his wife Joyce on a visit to Glasgow last year. They are working hard on his memoirs

‘Willie went into reverse and then quickly forward and the cat flew off the roof of the van and away Willie went to the competition where he won the Clasp. It was a Charlie Chaplin scene.

‘Another interesting happening that day was in the Gold Medal. I played Beloved Scotland and the general feeling was that I had won. However, in the third last bar of the tune my outside tenor stopped. I didn’t hear it nor did two of the judges, Neil Ramsay and Frank Richardson but DR MacLennan heard it. He was the only one. The other judges thought I should win but DR said there is a rule that your bagpipe has to be complete when you finish and I would have to be first or last. I don’t know if I was last but I didn’t get a mention.  Frank Richardson records the incident in the book he did with Seumas MacNeill.’

Thanks for that Jimmy and good to hear you are on the mend after that bout of ill health. Incidentally Jimmy is currently preparing his memoirs and hopes to have them published in the new year.



The local paper in Thurso report: ‘Thurso Pipe Band ventured on to the town’s streets for a special day of festive fun. Along with their traditional Highland wear were santa hats and Christmas themed jumpers, bringing a riot of colour and fun to the centre of town on an otherwise dreich day.

‘Speaking on behalf of the band, David Manson said: ‘The band has seen an upsurge in members with 13 at the last count as well as several former members re-joining. Several had their first outing at the Christmas fun day.’

‘Money collected went towards the town’s Christmas Lighting Fund. ‘We have currently undertaken a fund raising campaign to kit new members out as well as upgrading our own kit,’ David added.’


Reader Michelle Peinaar: ‘Please find attached pictures. I am finding it difficult to get information on this trophy from 1929. I was wondering if it has any worth. Won by P/M J Sutherland  in 1930, P/M Donald McDonald in 1931 and P/M J Cochrane in 1932. Is this a valuable item to own?’

I wouldn’t have thought there would be a great deal of value in the trophy Mrs Peinaar. Perhaps our readership will be able to help as to the background to it.


A reminder to everyone that there is £1000 up for grabs in the Argyllshire Gathering compsing competition for a 2/4 march to mark their 150th Anniversary in 2021.

Entries close on May 31 2020. The winning tune will be played during the march to the games in 2021 and may get its world premier during the Former Winners’ MSR at next year’s AG.

The Gathering is offering a £1,000, winner takes all, prize for the successful tune. The tune is to be a ‘competition’ 2/4 march of at least four parts.

The competition will be co-ordinated in conjunction with Piping Press. The judges will be P/M Jimmy Banks MBE, Piping Press Editor and AG Piping Committee member Robert Wallace and John Wilson formerly of Strathclyde Police and also an AG Piping Committee member.

Get full info here:


Tom Johnstone, President, Scottish Pipers’ Association: Forthcoming SPA events as follows: FRIDAY 10th January 2020 – SPA CENTENARY Day event. This will be held at Otago St and we will have a bar available. FRIDAY 7th February 2020 – Club Night and AGM; SATURDAY 8th February 2020 – Knockout Contest Semi-final with Steven Leask and John Patrick; FRIDAY 6th March 2020 – Knockout Contest Semi-final with Stuart Liddell and Callum Beaumont; SATURDAY 11th April 2020 – Professional Contest SATURDAY 2nd May 2020 – Knockout Final.


A very Happy Christmas to all our readers, advertisers and contributors.

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