Update on the Online Competitions at Aboyne/ Strathallan Teaching Forum

Dr Jack Taylor reports on Aboyne Highland Games’ innovative solo piping competition: ‘An excellent response; 32 entries. There has been one withdrawal so I am offering that place on a first come first served basis. Anybody wanting it should let me know ASAP on jackandmarytaylor@gmail.com or text 07999955386. Then complete and send the entry form https://forms.gle/noPNNJPjAboPXRYH7 – six piobaireachd, three MSRs.

‘The entries are split 2:1 UK/US, the field is high quality, so the eight judges will have their work cut out choosing the five from each heat to go to the final, then the final placing.

‘Each heat and MSR final will have two judges, with three for the piobaireachd final, so Zoom lines could be busy.



‘As regards the games, the Aboyne Committee will attend Aboyne Green on Games Day (August 1) kilted and bonneted and socially distanced. The tune, Games Day at Aboyne, will be played as the flag is raised. The ceremony will be live streamed together with a clip of a piper competing via video link.

‘The committee is totally supportive, the Press and Journal will carry a feature, and we have sponsorship from our local grocer, the world famous George Strachan Ltd of Royal Deeside.’ The next ‘proper’ Aboyne Games will be on Saturday 7th August 2021.

Missing your Highland Games ‘fix’? Check out this video from Aboyne’s 150th Anniversary gathering in 2017 when they were honoured by a visit from HM The Queen:


Craig Muirhead reports on Strathallan School’s online forum on teaching held last week: ‘The Covid-19 Forum for Piping Instructors went very well – can I start by thanking you for promoting it on Piping Press for us.

‘My sincere thanks go to Mr John Hughes from the RSPBA and Dr Robert Gray from the University of Edinburgh (an accomplished piper himself) for giving up their afternoon on Thursday, as well as the time they took to prepare beforehand.  

‘Robert started off the hour-long session with a brief presentation on the virus.  This left us under no illusions as to how seriously we should be taking our responsibilities as educators.  He finished with an informative slide on how pandemics have affected piping in the past, not least by telling the story behind the famous Lament for the Children.  

‘John followed this with a summary of where the Association stands on things currently and what we might expect over the coming years. This was followed by a Question and Answer session chaired by myself.  

‘There were generic questions about the virus as well as questions specific to piping, submitted electronically by a knowledgeable audience.   Topics discussed included pipe band formations, working with reeds, moisture control systems and when we can expect to be playing in public again.

‘Food for thought for all of us working with children and young people!  I hope it was of use to those who attended.  My thanks also go to our Pipe Band secretary at Strathallan, Alison Duthie, for all of her work behind the scenes.’

  • RSPBA Chairman John Hughes’s message to bands on the current situation here.

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