Editor’s Notebook: ‘Follow Me, I’m Right Behind You’/ Captain John’s Tune/ Ellon Pipe Band/ Alwyne Farquharson

Fascinating insight this week into the making of ‘The Glorious Effect’. By co-incidence I have been in touch with Andy Glen the maker of another bagpipe film.

Andy was the man begind the hilarious ‘Follow Me I’m Right Behind You’ about the College of Piping beginners’ pipe band of 2010.

Andy is now living in Ayrshire and tells me he plans to hoist the film onto YouTube in the not too distant future. Probably at the opposite end of the spectrum to ‘Glorious Effect’, but every bit as entertaining, it tells the story of how P/M Barry Donaldson corralled a bunch of College of Piping aspirants, got their pipes going, fingers moving and ready for a shot at Grade 4b at the Worlds, a field on which hitherto their chances of adorning would have been not far off zilch.

Not everyone got the joke and there were rumblings at the stuffy old RSPBA but Barry and the CoP gave these pipers and drummers an experience they will never forget and it’s all captured in rib-tickling, comedic, fly on the wall detail by Andy and his team.

I’ll let you know when it goes live; don’t miss it.

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I meant to post this copy of Captain John MacLellan’s tune, The Edinburgh Piobaireachd (or Piobaireachd Dhuneideann as John styles it), several moons ago.

The tune has grown in popularity and I was reminded of my lassitude when reading that it was played by Glenn Brown when he won the Bratach Gorm last month.

My copy is all the more charming for being in John’s own hand. As you will see, he wrote it in 1981. He sent me the score in the mid-80s after we shared a memorable trip to Vancouver to judge the Indoor Meet.

Though his music can be over complex in places, John is deserving of his place at the van of ‘modern’ piobaireachd composition. Download a PDF of the tune here.

Long-serving member of Ellon Pipe Band, Willie Taylor, has had his service recognised by local Westminster MP Richard Thomson in a Parliamentary Motion. 

Mr Taylor is retiring from Ellon Pipe Band after 38 years of service to the band and the wider community.  His retirement was marked in a ceremony in Ellon last weekend. 

Willie (left) with MP Thomson, framed commendation and blue plaque

The text of the Motion: ‘That this house acknowledges the hugely significant voluntary contribution of Mr Willie Taylor of Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire to the success and ongoing development of Ellon Pipe Band…..and wishes him well as he retires from Ellon Pipe Band after an astonishing 38 years of service to the band and to community life in the Ellon area and beyond.’ 

From the Daily Telegraph Obituaries column: Captain Alwyne Farquharson, 16th Laird of Invercauld, who has died aged 102, was awarded an MC in 1944 shortly after D-Day and later became Scotland’s oldest and longest-serving clan chief; he was also chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games for a remarkable 73 years and a landowner held in great affection by his tenantry and local community.

He inherited the extensive Invercauld estate straddling Aberdeenshire and Perthshire in 1941, aged 21, when his aunt was killed in a London bombing raid. In the 1950s he gained the rare distinction of being able to describe himself as the Queen’s landlord after she leased a grouse moor from him adjoining her own land at Balmoral.

Owned by the Farquharsons since the 15th century, Invercauld encompasses several Munros, Glenshee ski resort, some of Scotland’s finest grouse moors and 24 miles of the River Dee, one of the country’s best salmon rivers, where Farquharson, a keen fisherman, once caught 16 salmon in a single day in the 1960s.

Captain Alwyne Farquharson MC

A friend as well as neighbour of the royal family, Farquharson declined to allow Invercauld to be used for the filming of Mrs Brown, the 1997 film about the relationship between Queen Victoria and her ghillie John Brown.

Alwyne and his siblings grew up there and spent parts of the Easter and summer holidays at Torloisk, their other property, on the Isle of Mull. He was educated at Eton and in 1937 went up to Magdalen College, Oxford, to read Agriculture.

His studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War, whereupon he joined the Royal Scots Greys and later saw action in Palestine, North Africa, Italy and France.

Writing about Invercauld in 1953, the famous naturalist and folklorist [and piping judge] Seton Gordon observed how the Farquharsons had interested themselves in each tenant and noted approvingly that they encouraged the Gaelic language, which was in danger of being lost in this part of the Highlands.

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