Here is a photograph of Pipe Major Donald MacLeod which might be of interest. I think it is a photograph of a photograph. I obtained it from my brother Hugh, resident in Dingwall. He was of the opinion that it was taken at Dingwall Games.
I have my doubts about that and am more inclined to the likelihood that it was at the Strathpeffer Highland Gathering. This is because I recognise the trees and the position of them as opposed to the layout at Dingwall. Maybe of little importance.
By Duncan Watson
The photograph was taken well before my time attending the game and is probably from the mid ’50s. I must check my library having a notion that Donald MacLeod won a Clasp circa 1956.
Notable is the uniform Donald is wearing showing the Pipe Major’s chevrons and khaki jacket with cross-belt etc. From memory they were termed SD jackets, but the old soldiers will correct me on that. I cannot remember what the initials SD were for. Maybe something like Second or No 2 Dress, or Service Dress, the Full Dress being No1? This SD jacket was of smoother material than the Battle Dress which was made of rougher fabric.
I think from what I heard from the seniors of that time that Donald MacLeod had been transferred to Bridge of Don Barracks, Aberdeen. Travel from Aberdeen to Strathpeffer at that time would have been quite a journey. Fort George, where Donald had been the Depot Pipe Major, was much closer.
Donald conducted the Pipe Majors Course at Aberdeen between 1957 to 1959 as I understand. Again the old soldiering pipers of that time will correct me, no doubt.
Of course the younger generation may not be aware of what a giant of piping Donald MacLeod was, knowing him only through his books of light music and the tunes therein. As a composer he would be ranked along with GS McLennan and John MacColl, Willie Lawrie, John MacLellan, Dunoon, I think.
As a piper he won all the major prizes many times over including both Gold Medals and eight Clasps at Inverness, admittedly in very different competition circumstances than today but very demanding nevertheless.
As a teacher he was world renowned and was one of first to travel to North America for schools of piping. I would welcome any comments on any of the above from PP readers. Please send via firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Read much more on P/M MacLeod here.