Lonach Games has announced that this year, and for the next 50 years, a generous donor has given £1,000 towards the Piobaireachd competitions, writes Jack Taylor.
The date is Saturday 26th August, between Oban and Inverness, so is a golden opportunity for pipers from all over to come to beautiful Strathdon in Aberdeenshire. Enter here before 13th August preferably, although this year entries are accepted on the field.
The winner will get £500 and the Charles Morrison medal. 2nd £300, 3rd £200.
The donation has been made by Ivan Reid in memory of his uncle Charles Morrison, both Strathdon natives. Charles Morrison was born in 1899, served in WW1, emigrated to Canada and returned to Strathdon to run the family grocer’s shop on the death of his brother.
He piped with the Lonach Pipe Band, still a strong force today, and he also played the fiddle, the cornet and the saw.
In a programme note Ivan Reid writes, ‘In the days before television brought the curtain down on DIY entertainment Uncle Charlie and his fiddling friends would often gather to make music, an impromptu concert in the store of the shop.
‘His expertise in prising music from a crosscut saw, held upright between the knees, the blade twisted to various degrees and played with a bow was demonstrated on stage as a member of our local concert party, The Strathdon Sparklers.’
It was Ivan Reid’s respect for his uncle’s love of the music and the associated camaradarie which led to the gift being made.
Ivan writes, ‘In years to come my wish is for pipers to mark on their calendar the fourth Saturday in August when in increasing numbers they journey to the arena in Bellabeg to compete in friendly rivalry. My uncle Charlie would have smiled saying, ‘I like the sound of that’.’
The photo is of Charles Morrison playing with the Lonach Band as they and the Lonach Highlanders leave the burntout ruins of Candacraig House in the 1950s. They play up the glen in the morning, stopping at various places and return for lunch in the Lonach Hall before parading around the games field.
Candacraig was later the home of comedian Billy Connolly, who listened avidly to the piobaireachd competitions every year.