Bid to Identify Iain MacPherson’s Pipes

I was taught by Donald MacPherson and remember him talking about his brother Iain who died mid 1990s and that he lived abroad. He spoke very highly of how good he was but how he was not really into solo competition.

By Bruce Erskine

The reason for this article is that I had the great pleasure recently of playing Iain’s pipes. My friend Willie Kidd, who is a little older than me and who plays, was gifted them by Iain’s daughter.

Willie and his wife were related to Iain, Donald and his other three brothers. Willie was not taught by Iain; he learned at a late age.

I was trying to figure out what kind of drones Iain played as there are no markings on them. They are in tremendous condition and sound really good.

Would any PP reader happen to know or could the magazine find out what make the drones are? I’m not sure if it’s real silver or not as there is no hallmark visible. They have ivory mounts on them.

There is a clip on YouTube where Iain plays and it’s the same set he is playing:

Any information would be appreciated. Contact

  • We understand Iain lived the last days of his life in Alaska. Perhaps local pipers who heard and saw him play, know of the pipes.
MacPhersons…..Donald, Iain Snr. and Iain Jnr

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4 thoughts on “Bid to Identify Iain MacPherson’s Pipes

  1. Hello Rab, Looking at the beautiful set of pipes belonging to Ian MacPherson, I was taken by the similarity of these to my own set of pipes. The combings and profile look very similar and the silver mounts, which again look very similar to mine, but omit the usual hallmark. my own silver mounts are all fully hallmarked D&N (Dalman & Narborough – Birmingham silversmiths) with the date letter indicating 1974. For many years, I used to stay at the Queens Hotel in Kirn for the Cowal Highland Gathering and inevitably there aslo, would be Johnny Weatherston, with whom I became good friends. Up until that time I was playing a full ivory mounted set in rosewood (still have them) which had been damaged (now repaired) which set me on the path of new pipes. In 1974 I visited Johnny at R.G. Hardie’s emporium in Renfrew Street, Glasgow and purchased my current set for £273 (I still have the receipt). Some would say ‘not a bad investment,’ but apart from the financial gain, the joy, fun and enjoyment I have had playing my pipes has been immeasurable.

  2. Might this be a Robertson set ? I had the opportunity to purchase a beautiful Robertson ivory/silver set very similar to this, about 23 years ago. In the end, I opted to buy a full-silver set instead, made by Kintail of Loch Lomond back in 1984, for John D. Burgess, to his spec. with flared drone stocks. The silverwork in the photos above is very similar to that on my John D. pipes and I have been told that the silverwork was made by Dalman & Narborough. There are 4 hallmarks on each of the tuning slides. You can see close-up shots of these pipes, showing the patterns on the silver here:
    The hallmarks can be seen at 1:28, which clearly shows “D&N” .

  3. The shape of the bell is consistent with Robertson, but there’s not enough detail of the rest of the pipe to say for sure. I’d need high res, in-focus pictures of the sections to attempt to determine what it is.

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