Editor’s Notebook: British Legion/ RSPBA/ Uist & Barra/ Inverness Recital

The above photograph is from the British Legion piping competition 2002. I can identify some of those pictured ((l-r): Donald MacKay, Stuart Samson, ?, Jim Penman, Brian Donaldson, a very young Ben Duncan?, Ross McCrindle, ?, ? If anyone can fill in the gaps please pass on.

I met Jim again recently at Bob Shepherd’s funeral and among other things he was telling me about the early days of his teaching the Murray boys Douglas and James. What a great job you made of them Jim. Brian Donaldson is now resident in the US where he teaches and makes pipes. Ross is the senior P/M of the British Army; Donald is P/Sgt of Scottish Power; Stuart is now judging after his stint as Director of Army Piping and Ben (if that’s him) a top, prizewinning piper.


I see from one of the Sunday papers that the disgruntled few are still trying to have a go at the RSPBA even after the charity regulater threw out their complaint and closed the file.

Chaps, you fought your fight but you lost. Get over it; time to move on. You have a small crumb of comfort in the recommendation to the Association for more transparency in their dealings (they erred in not including that in their statement about OSCR’s findings) but that is something that we have all trumpeted for many years.

Nor should this recommendation be allowed to supersede the central finding that the Association’s trustees did, at all times, act in the best interests of the charity. I will repeat that: the Association’s trustees did, at all times, act in the best interests of the charity.

If there is a fault it stems from the structure of the RSPBA rather than from any deliberate attempt to conceal information from bands. That said, the Board will be looking at how to improve their communications, but let us not forget that every band has had the opportunity to question them through their branch representative and at the AGM. And it is significant that the in-depth report carried on the RSPBA website on January 2 about the redevelopment of Washington Street is never mentioned in any of the criticism. Have a read at it here.



The Uist & Barra organiser John Angus Smith has forwarded the poster for this year’s competition. John Angus says that all the pipers listed have been invited on the basis of their track record during 2019.

If you can, book your tickets early as the ‘big’ hall at Otago Street fills up pretty quickly, especially in the afternoon. I hope to be there pen sharpened and at the ready so if you can’t manage check into PP shortly after the big day.


I came across this cutting in the PP archive which I thought might be of interest. It concerns the formation of an Academy of Piping in Edinburgh. The picture is of three of the leading lights, Major Charles McGlynn, Iain MacLaren and P/M George Stoddart.

The story, from the 1960s I believe, reads: ‘The first Academy of Piping in Edinburgh came into being at the weekend. It was set up by Major Charles McGlynn (left) and Pipe Major G Stoddart (right). Mr Iain MacLaren FRCS (centre) is an honorary Vice President of the academy.

‘Both Major McGlynn and P/M Stoddart are members of the Eagle Pipers’ Society and Pipe Major Stoddart was the first lone piper at the Edinburgh Tattoo. He will be in charge of tuition.

‘The academy is housed in the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society Hall [sic] at 127 Rose Street South Lane. Major McGlynn described it as the first formal, organised school of piping in the city and added: ‘There has been a need for many years for a central establishment where people can come to learn to play the pipes.’

‘Some of the aims of the academy are to promote, encourage and teach the art of bagpipe playing from the earliest age; to improve the knowledge and skills of established pipers and teachers of piping, and to prepare candidates for Institute of Piping certificates and to submit them for examination. The Honorary President is Col. MacLeod of Glendale.’



A great night of piping in prospect courtesy Inverness Piping Society. Both Angus MacColls (senior and junior) will be in concert on Friday 20 March at Tulloch Castle, Dingwall.  The recital is being organised by the Lewis & Harris Piping Society. 7:30 for 8:00. Admission at the door: Adults – £10, Under 18 – £5, 12 and under, FREE. Please spread the word.

Angus MacColl one of the leading pipers of the modern era will be performing at Tulloch Castle in a fundraiser for the Lewis & Harris Piping Society

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1 thought on “Editor’s Notebook: British Legion/ RSPBA/ Uist & Barra/ Inverness Recital

  1. As to the Piping Academy in Edinburgh…..ahhhh happy memories..when I signed up it had moved to the West End Hotel, a hot bed off all things Gaelic in those days…(owned by the wonderful and colourful…character Neil Robertson..).Major Charles McGlynn was still in charge, P.M Stoddart had moved on and was replaced by the legendary Pipe Major Robert Atkinson…(R.S.F) indeed both became good friends…both attending my wedding…many moons ago….!! Robert playing the G.H.B on the day..!!!…aye those were the days..!!

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