Editor’s Notebook: World Solo Drumming/ Champion of Champions Medal/ Richard Parkes/ Piobaireachd by the Sea/ Oldest Piper Search/ North East Photographs

Not surprised the RSPBA have cancelled the World Solo Drumming given that there will be no fly-in competitors, but could they not have put on something for the drummers in lieu? I really cannot understand the lack of activity from this great organisation.

What about a Scottish drum championship or a UK drum championship or a British Isles drum championship? They could have used Headquarters in Washington Street and if still worried about covid and pipes come late October, then tell the drummers to play recordings for them to beat to.

One bright spark is that the Association’s Summer School is going ahead, albeit in limited format and online.


I hope everyone is enjoying the Richard Parkes articles as much as I am. There’s more great stuff to come from the maestro. The covid hiatus will undoubtedly have robbed him (and others) of a few more championships.

FMM’s success is all the more remarkable given that the band is split in two throughout the winter, half here in Glasgow and half in Lisburn.



Thanks to Trevor Clydesdale for sending on the picture of the Guineess Trophy medal pictured above (top). Trevor writes:

I recently acquired a medal presented by the SPBA in 1963 to the winners (Shotts and Dykehead) of The Guinness Trophy. I had never heard of the Guinness Trophy so a little bit of research was required. 

A trawl of the newspaper archives soon proved fruitful with the Wishaw Press in September 1960 providing the answer. The Guinness Trophy was presented to the Champion of Champions band in Grade 1, with individual medals presented to the band members. Shotts and Dykehead were the first winners in 1960, retaining the title in 1961. 

In 1963, Shotts once again lifted the Guinness Trophy, winning the British, Cowal and European titles. They made it four wins out of five in 1964. 

I am not sure how long the Guinness Trophy and medals were presented, perhaps some of your readers could provide the answer. 

Well I am sure there are some out there who have this medal Trevor. Be great to hear from them. Usual email.

The reverse of the medal

It seems that that the ‘Piobaireachd by the Sea’ event will take place in Brittany later this summer. I received the following from the promoters: ‘

Très Chers Amis,L’année 2020 nous ayant obligé à annuler,nous espérons que 2021 nous permettra de nous retrouver à nouveau.C’est donc avec grand plaisir que nous vous invitons à ce grand rassemblement des amoureux du Pibroc’h.Il aura lieu le dimanche 19 septembre prochain. (Le samedi, seule l’AG aura lieu.)Prenez donc connaissance des documents nécessaires à votre inscription pour cette nouvelle édition.
A très bientôt !

Piobaireachd by the Sea

Our resident French master, M. Google, has kindly translated this to: My dear friends, the year 2020 having forced us to cancel, we hope that 2021 will allow us to meet again. It is therefore with great pleasure that we invite you to this great gathering of pibroch lovers. It will take place on Sunday, September 19. Take note of the documents required to register for this new edition. See you soon!

This is great news. Here’s a link to the required forms.


Young journalist Jonathan Rose, a trainee reporter on one of the national newspapers, is searching for the oldest piper in Scotland. Can anyone help him? Email me with any info and pictures and I’ll pass on.

And before everyone piles in, no its not Duncan Watson. I know of at least one piper who is older than him!


Duncan, our northern correspondent, has kindly forward these pictures, all of them associated with the north-east games:

Niall Matheson, double Gold Medallist and compiler of the new Fyrish Collection, piping in the rain at Braemar. The memorial cairn to the ‘Bobs of Balmoral’ can be seen in the background
John MacDonald tuning up at the Braemar Pavilion prior to the 2020 virtual games. The Pavilion houses a lot of very interesting memorabilia about the games and its history
Anywhere’s good for a practice. Young piper Paul Geddes runs through his tunes prior to playing in the 2020 Braemar virtual games
John Stewart piping at Lonach for (l-r) Walter Drysdale, RB Nicol and Norman Meldrum

4 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: World Solo Drumming/ Champion of Champions Medal/ Richard Parkes/ Piobaireachd by the Sea/ Oldest Piper Search/ North East Photographs

  1. The City of Glasgow Police Pipe Band won the Champions of Champions title in 1967 under PM Ronnie Laurie. I still have that Guinness medal. Muirhead pb won the world’s that year, as in the previous year with the Police second by 1/10 and 1/4 of a point in these years.

  2. With reference to the article about the Guinness Medals. In so far as I can remember
    the last of the medals were given out round about 1981 or 82.
    Guinness withdrew the sponsorship round about that time so no more medals were
    awarded to the members of the band that won the Guinness Trophy, which is still awarded to the band that wins the Champion of Champions, in Grade 1.

    1. Many thanks for your reply Ian. I wasn’t aware that the Champion of Champions received the Guinness trophy until I acquired this medal.

  3. Thankfully there are a lot of pipers older than I am – I am relatively young.
    In any case, stealing from another saying, ‘old pipers never die, they only fade away!’

    Duncan Watson

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