Solo Piping Resurgence Continues Apace

The difficulties pipe bands are experiencing with the cancellation of a major championship and some minor contests are not being reflected in the solo world. We can report the following:

Next Saturday (Feb 25) the Archie Kenneth Quaich takes place in the RSPS Rooms, Edinburgh. This is for amateur piobaireachd players and is run by the Piobaireachd Society. Here is the draw: S Mason, C Crosbie, M Kirkwood, G Tughan-Jones, A Harper, J Forbes, S Letford, G Kerr, L McEwan, G McIver, D Morrison, A Jones, J Kenny, S Whitton, M McGowan, K McEwan, L Barrett, C Turnbull, J Carnegie, A MacLean, T Peterkin, B Hall, L MacDonald, A Kelly, E Boland.

The following Saturday, March 4 sees the Uist & Barra Professional, the first major competition of the year (details here). On March 11 is the Duncan Johnstone Memorial contest for B&C grade pipers. Both are in the Piping Centre Glasgow.

The Highlands & Islands Festival in Oban have confirmed the restoration of their professional contest. Iain Hurst writes: ‘I am pleased to advise that the Festival is returning to a full programme of senior and junior piping for 2023. Netherlorn Piping Society will run both having previously organised the juniors for HIMDF over recent years. The date is Saturday 29 April 2023 and we will be returning to Oban High School.’

Cameron MacDougall and Steven Leask winners at the 2018 Highlands & Islands

Thanks to sponsorship from the Piobaireachd Society, Pitlochry Highland Games, the last of the summer (Sept 9), are instituting a piobaireachd competition, an event not seen at these games since the 1930s, and one that will be welcomed greatly by competing pipers.

US-based promoter Eric Stein: ‘The SunBelt Invitational has announced that the Ardmore Cup overall champion will be invited to compete in Florida on November 11th 2023. The champion will receive airfare and accommodation for three nights. The Ardmore Cup takes place on February 25th, 2023 in Ardmore, Waterford. Well over 200 tickets have been sold. For information on the Ardmore Cup or the SunBelt Invitational please contact:’

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Ken Cameron, Chairman, Lochaber Piping Society: ‘The Lochaber Gathering will be held on Friday 25th August (the day after the Argyllshire Gathering) in the same venue as the last two years, the Highland Cinema, Cameron Square, and The Parade, Fort William. The format will be the same, with competitions for P/A and B/C Senior players and for Junior competitors as well. More details will be published soon.

‘Photographs are attached, showing the Junior winners and Ian K. MacDonald receiving the Robin Fleming Award for winning the P/A Grade MSR (top). Our annual Lochaber Youth Piping and Drumming competition will be held on Saturday 25th March at Lochaber Gaelic Primary School, Caol. Entry details will be published soon and the competition will follow the same format as previously with age-related classes for all grades of player, from Chanter, Novice Piping to 18 year old players.

Junior winners at Lochaber 2022

‘Piobaireachd classes will include Ground-Only, two age-related classes, plus the open-to-all ages P/M Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition. Two age-related snare drumming classes are available for players to compete with a march. The venue is excellent, easily accessed and with plenty parking, snacks will be available during the day and trophies and prizes apply through all classes. Entry form here.

‘Last year, adjudicators from the Youth Competition generously played in a recital in Fort William held the night before the competition. Details of this year’s recital, to be run along similar lines, will be published soon.’

Douglas Gardiner, President of the Eagle Pipers’ Society: ‘I am pleased to confirm that the Society will once again be running the Captain John A MacLellan MBE Memorial Dinner & Recital Competition on Saturday 26th August 2023. The venue will be the Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh.  Dress code is black tie. We are in the process of confirming the four pipers. Tickets will be priced £60 and go on sale in spring.’

The splendid setting for the Eagle Pipers’ competition

In addition to the above there are the mahjor events at Oban and Inverness where the Gold and Silver Medals are considerably oversubscribed. The final lists of those selected to play will be made at special meeting of the promoters and the Competing Pipers’ Association at the end of the month. For details on the Highland Games season click here.

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