Editor’s Blog: PS Meeting/ Lisa’s Painting/ Muirhead’s Secretary/ JD Watt Book/ Lochaber Masters

I’m hosting a Zoom meeting for the Piobaireachd Society on Wednesday evening at 8pm UK time to which all members are invited. If you are one of the enlightened you should have already received the link; if not please get in touch.

Peter McCalister continues to do a great job for the Society with the Facebook tunes initiative but I thought we should do a bit more. Not sure how the Weds meeting will work but nothing ventured etc….

The above painting has been submitted to our Lockdown Challenge by Lisa Begg, daughter of Jim the Bag Maker. Lisa (21) writes: ‘The painting is inspired by my dad’s bagpipe workshop, where I enjoy working part time; cutting, sewing, trimming and folding to make the sheepskin and cow hide bags, which is why there are tools such as scissors, a measuring tape and a carpet knife in the composition. I’m currently a student from Glasgow studying civil engineering.’

Well done Lisa and tell your father I said it was time he gave you a pay rise! Your painting will be submitted to Robert Mathieson, who has kindly agreed to be our artwork adjudicator, and a winner announced later.

I originally said that the Challenge would continue until the end of April. Well who would have believed we were still in this mess? The best thing I think will be simply to continue it until the pandemic worst is officially over. That means we will be accepting all tunes, essays, paintings and drawings for the next month anyway.

Thanks to everyone who has submitteed something so far and please be patient – it will be published in due course. We are currently looking at three months of absolutely no piping or pipe band activity. There will be plenty of PP space for your endeavours.

Lisa’s painting in full size:

Iain Duncan, piper, son of composer Archie (Campbeltown) and former RSPBA librarian, has been in touch: ‘This is just a personal request for a name which you’ll be able to provide right away. To give you some background, for many years, being a piping geek, I’ve kept a brief note of pipe band activities and old band photos in Campbeltown.

‘Late last year, as more old photos began to emerge, I thought I should get some of the stuff expanded and properly documented before all links with the past disappear. 

‘In the section where the Ceannloch-Campbeltown Pipe Band bought their Royal Stewart uniforms from Muirhead & Sons, I’m looking for the surname of their Secretary /Treasurer; I recall his forename was Lawrence; what was his surname?

‘By the looks of things I’m going to have plenty of free time to get on with this and by the time I next see you at some piping event in 2021, I’ll already have produced the book, which I’ll bring along to let you have a look. Who knows it might provide you with some material for inclusion in Piping Press next year.’

Muirhead & Sons with Lawrence Jenkins proudly holding the Worlds trophy at Oban 1967. Also in the picture are P/M Bob Hardie, pipers Jim Dow, Ronald Elmslie, John Finlay and P/Sgt Andrew Dowie

The chap you mention was Lawrence Jenkins Iain and he was Secretary during all my time with the band and long before. He loved nothing better than getting out in front with the latest trophy as the picture shows. Good luck with the book Iain and please do let us have a copy for review.

Reader Stephen Beattie: ‘I am researching J D Ross Watt the author of the ‘Empire Book of Pipe Tunes’. I believe their was a small biography piece which appeared in the August 1975 edition of Piping Times. I have written to the Piping Centre, but they are currently closed. 

‘I wondered if you had access to a copy of the magazine, or know of someone who has a copy. All I am after is a copy of what was written about him. Thanks and regards.’

One book I don’t have Stephen. If anyone can help please pass on and we’ll do likewise.

The sad passing of Allan MacColl (above), noted in these pages a couple of weeks ago, made mention of the ‘Masters’ competition he ran at the Lochaber Gathering for retired professional pipers. Here’s the prizelist for 1998:
1 Arthur Gillies
2 John MacDougall
3 P/M Angus MacDonald
4 Ronald Lawrie

1 John MacDougall
2 John Burgess
3 P/M Angus MacDonald
4 Arthuir Gillies

1 John MacDougall
2 John Burgess
3 Rona MacDonald
4 Arthur Gillies

1 Arthur Gillies
2 Rona MacDonald
3 John Burgess
4 P/M Angus MacDonald

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