Editor’s Notebook: Bratach Gorm/ Northern Winter School/ John and the Duke/ Queensland/ John MacDonald’s Pipes

This is a busy weekend for piping with the London Championship beginning held tonight in the capital and the Northern Winter School kicking off in Germany.

The Championship’s prestigious Bratach Gorm takes place in the Caledonian Club, Belgravia. Good luck to everyone. Leading the charge for the big one will be Glenfiddich prizewinners Finlay Johnston and Callum Beaumont but on their day any of the contestants is capable of taking top honours. The audience will be the real winners.

The promoters, the Scottish Piping Society of London, point out the dress code (no denims, tee-shirts or trainers) and encourage the audience to wear Highland dress. Well done to them for that. Makes it a real occasion.

Doors open at 5, tunes from 6, prizes circa 10pm.

The pipers in order of play:

  1. John-Angus Smith
  2. Alasdair Henderson
  3. Roderick MacLeod
  4. Fred Morrison
  5. William McCallum
  6. Iain Speirs
  7. Bruce Gandy
  8. Glenn Brown
  9. Callum Beaumont
  10. Finlay Johnston
  11. Peter McCalister

The full draw for all events can be accessed here. Results as we get them.

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Over in Germany we have a large bunch of students for a week at Lohheide in Lower Saxony. Boarding cards printed, locator forms completed, vaccine details submitted. Nothing can go wrong, can it?

A lot of work by Principal Ronnie Bromhead in making the school happen. Joining the teaching staff this year will be that giant of pipe band percussion, the Mighty Creighton himself, yes the great Stephen of SLOT.

World champ Stephen has already worked with us in Florida and, well, the impact was seismic. Lucky Lohheide.

Stephen on top of the world

Others on the school teaching faculty are Barry Donaldson, Craig Munro, Brian Lamond and John Bruce.

A huge readership for John Nevans’ piece from the Glenfiddich a few days ago. John’s humour definitely struck a chord with PP readers.

A few were intrigued by his reference to his own likeness to John, Duke of Atholl, whose portrait hangs in the great hall at Blair Castle……

You’ve definitely got something of the aristocrat about you JN, just need to expand that Lanarkshire demesne by a few hundred acres.

Queensland Highland Pipers’ Society: ‘Unfortunately, due to a number of late cancellations by performers, the Piobaireachd Group  Recital that was due to be held on Sunday 7 November has been cancelled and instead there will be a gathering at the Ipswich Pipe Band Hall starting at 1.30pm.’

Reader Gordon Tughan-Jones: ‘I was looking for information on the Henderson pipes it is said that John MacDonald, Inverness, left to Donald MacGillivray, in context of a set I’ve acquired.

‘It is believed by some to be one of the four sets Donald is quoted as saying that John MacDonald owned, particularly as Donald’s four quoted sets included three full ivory Hendersons, and analysis of the chanter stock of mine using photo editing software has revealed a largely worn away, but serifed and perfectly centred and oriented ‘3’ stamped into the ivory. See photo below. 

Chanter ferrule with ‘3’ highlighted

‘It seems a long shot but if John MacDonald had numbered them to tell them apart and another such set also had such a number it could potentially more firmly establish their provenance beyond the box which had his 1903 clasp on the lid. Is this something you might be able to help with?’

Anyone any ideas?

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