Editor’s Notebook: Angus Campbell/ Sun Belt Amateurs/ Lorient Festival

Thanks to Josh Dickson for the following re the above photograph we featured last week. Josh writes: ‘The photo in question is indeed Angus Campbell at the age of 10 – 12. It graced the front cover of my 2006 book, ‘When Piping was Strong: Tradition, Change, and the Bagpipe in South Uist’, in which I detailed a great deal of information on Angus, his peers, and the wider piping community in the Outer Hebrides.

Bridget MacKenzie cited my book frequently in her own subsequent very valuable work. The photo actually appeared in the Piping Times in December 2002 to illustrate Angus’s obituary after he’d died on 28 July the previous year. The editor mistakenly gave his name in the headline as ‘Archie Campbell’. 

‘Angus competed in the Gold Medal in Oban in 1934, playing The Blue Ribbon, but came second to Pipe Major Charles Smith [Black Watch]. He [Angus] never competed outside Uist again. I spoke to him at length about it when he was 95 years old and he was still raging.’

Josh is correct about the headline (the error was compunded in the first paragraph) and as I was editor in question I must plead guilty as charged. The obituary was by Rona Lightfoot. I am sure she would have pulled me up at the time with a correction printed subsequently. Can’t be certain though, so all those with back numbers may like to dig out the relevant issue and get to work with the pen.

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According to Rona, Angus was second to Robert Reid and the record books show that this was in 1922. Charles Smith won the Oban medal in 1934. Rona also has Angus dying in July 2002 not 2001 as Josh indicates.

The obit reads in part: ‘Archie [Angus] Campbell, South Uist, died on July 28 this year [2002] aged 102 years. He was initially taught by his father and then by John MacDonald, Inverness. He competed once at the Argyllshire Gathering on his one and only trip to the mainland.

‘He came second to Robert Reid in the Gold Medal. The tune chosen for him was the Blue Ribbon. He was a wonderful teacher and anything ever taught to him by John MacDonald never left him. His father, along with my father, attended MacDonald’s classes in Daliburgh school before and after both wars.

‘The trousers Angus is wearing were made by my mother Kate MacDonald….Her mother gave her an old pair of trousers of her father’s and told her to make a pair of trousers for her brother who was playing at the games the following day.

‘My grandmother did not have the time as she had to go to Lochboisdale to gut herring. When she came home the trousers were made but my poor mum got a roasting for also cutting the velvet tablecloth whilst making them. My mother was aged 13 at the time.

‘Angus’s favourite piobaireachd was Patrick Og and it was played by Fred Morrison at his funeral….’

Sun Belt Amateurs

Eric Stein has supplied more information on the new contest mentioned by Margaret Houlihan Dunn yesterday in her report. Eric writes: ‘We are are delighted to announce a new Grade 1 solo invitational contest that will be added to the Sun Belt Invitational aka An Crios Gréine. 

‘Two of the ten invites will go to the winners of CLASP events. The other eight invites will go to the winners of: the Nicol-Brown, the George Sheriff Memorial, Dunedin Highland Games, Grandfather Mountain Games, Loon Mountain Highland Games, Scotland County Highland Games and two to be determined. 

‘The Grade 1 events will take place on  the morning of Saturday, November 11th , 2023, at the Sheraton Orlando North in Florida.’ 

Lorient Interceltique

Next year’s festival at Lorient in Brittany has been designated the ‘Year of Ireland’ and on the left is the new poster for it. The festival, from August 4 – 13, will have all the usual piping events, the MacCrimmon Trophy and a piobaireachd and pipe band contest.

The poster blurb reads: ‘The poster ….highlights Ireland with strong and recognisable symbols…. through the image of the shamrock…. the harp, the fiddle, the sheep, the Celtic dancers, the leprechaun, the bagpipes … In the heart of the shamrock, we find a triskel, in the image of the Festival that brings together the Celtic nations. The dominant green reinforces the Irish identity…’

For the first time in many years, the festival won’t clash with the Worlds and all the Worlds Week events in Glasgow. To accommodate a major cycing event in the city, the Worlds are a week later than usual, on August 18/19.

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