Editor’s Notebook: Worlds and Nat/ Old Boggies Celebrate/ Bill’s New Job/ MacKay Cairn/ Angus’s Winning Jig

There has been quite a lot of overheated speculation about the Worlds and Nat Russell, most of it rather wide of the mark. I have gathered considerable information on what actually happened and what Mr Russell’s placings were but cannot in all honesty share it with you. Nothing would be gained by such exposure.

Nat Russell is a Worlds-winning Pipe Major. He is a senior adjudicator with 60 years dedication to pipe bands. Let’s just say that on August 18, 2023, at Glasgow Green, he had an off day – an off day that no one could possibly have seen coming.

RSPBA adjudicators have to retire at 75. If Nat is in the twilight of his career, then let him finish it with some dignity.

That said, and on considering the evidence, it is my view that the Association made the right call when they discounted his prizelist, and since the brouhaha surrounding that decision have acted with creditable discretion. They realised early on that they have a duty of care to their judges.

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If the Association’s Board of Directors have shown commendable propriety over this matter, then so too have our new World Champions, Peoples Ford Boghall and runners-up Field Marshal Montgomery – and all the other Grade 1 bands who will by now be privy to what happened.

One last thing. The suggestion that John Wilson, Chairman of the Adjudicators Panel, judged Grade 1 on Worlds Day 2 in full knowledge of the Friday outcome is wrong. Knowing he could be compromised, John recused himself from all discussion and decisions on the Friday result. It was handled entirely by the Board of Directors.

On a more light-hearted note, I hear they continue to celebrate down Bathgate way. The sun is still shining for the Walker Brothers (check your 60s discography) snapped below. Thanks to former Boggies P/M Ross Walker for forwarding this picture:

Ross writes: ‘Two clapped out Pipeys and the remaining Walker still playing. Incidentally, Grant has played in every single G1 championship win with the Boggies. Left to right – Craig in civvies, Grant, then me.’

New Job for William

Congratulations to Bill Geddes (above) on his appointment as piping instructor in South West Scotland where he will work in local schools and for the excellent South West Scotland Pipe and Drum Academy.

Bill has now retired from his police job and takes over from Calum Moffat of the Scottish Power Pipe Band. We wish Bill well in his new role.

Still in the south west, thanks to the local pipers who keep the memory of Angus MacKay alive in their parish by maintaining the memorial cairn on the banks of the Nith, the point at which our first Sovereign’s Piper left this earth.

A picture of the cairn taken a few weeks ago

It is now 12 years since readers of the Piping Times chipped in to have the cairn erected to much fanfare in the national press.

Angus’s Winning Jig

The final, final games of the season was held at Bowhill in Fife a week or so back. It attracted a very good entry. There is a jig contest but only one prize. It went to young Angus MacPhee, Inverness, a piper who has blazed a trail round the games this season.

Thanks to Peter McCalister for forwarding the winning performance. Angus’s tune is Inspector Donald Campbell, Ness by Peter MacLeod jnr. and anyone who can play this jig finger perfect twice through, as Angus does, deserves his prize:

12 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: Worlds and Nat/ Old Boggies Celebrate/ Bill’s New Job/ MacKay Cairn/ Angus’s Winning Jig

  1. Marie D, ‘a low and disgusting treatment of Nat just so a particular band would win’. Are you saying it was done so the Boggies would win? If so you’re on very thin ice there.

  2. Well that comment has certainly fuelled the fire that already exists. Why should you be privy to information that people who paid good money to spectate are not. The summaries should be published and the Judge in question should be struck off. Usual RSPBA shambles.

    1. On what grounds should the “judge be struck off”?
      Or do you know something we don’t?
      I doubt it…

      1. I doubt Rab knows either but he could prove me wrong by disclosing. Poor journalism by an amateur perhaps. Nat has let’s say had some dubious results in the past but he’s not the only one. 40 years in grade 1 tells me I smell a rat.

  3. Final thoughts on the Worlds Grade 1 debacle…. With no official clarification or explanation from the RSPBA, the enduring impression that has been created is that “if exceptional circumstances arise, as determined exclusively, absolutely and covertly by the RSPBA, then any judge’s scores can be nullified without explanation and without recourse to appeal from any affected bands”. I cannot think of any other area of competitive activity in which this situation would be tolerated.

  4. Anon.
    Great picture of the doonhamer playing the pipe that was played in winning both Gold Medals in 1964 and also the first Silver Chanter

  5. Putting aside all the controversy over Nat Russell’s marking, this is a great picture of the Walker Brothers and it was great to bump into Craig on the Saturday morning of the worlds while we were having a coffee (honest). The Boghall result was an accumulation of all the hard work put in as much by these guys as by the current band. The next pipe major will be in the ranks somewhere as is the Boghall way of promoting from within.

  6. Rab
    I recall that you were leading a charge which demanded that the RSPBA was more transparent in how it dealt with matters such as the debacle at the Worlds.
    Now you tell us that “nothing would be gained” by enlightening your readers about the Nat Russell scoring.
    That is astonishing.
    Are you complicit with the RSPBA in wanting this to just go away?
    Publish and be damned!

    1. Great photo of the brothers Walker. One for the family album. Many congrats to Boghall on a spectacular and well deserved win

  7. I totally disagree that you don’t disclose Nat’s results. Everyone wants to know whats happening and why. Very disingenuous to say you know what his results were but then not share them with the greater community

    1. Let us just say that those outsiders who ‘know’ what happened are given the story that puts those in the wrong in the right. In other words, discredit an experienced and talented judge because he made the wrong call and graded as he heard, not what he was told. A low and disgusting treatment of Nat just so a particular band would win.

  8. I welcome the modicum of additional information about the Grade 1 Worlds situation. Its just very unfortunate that the RSPBA itself could not have made a carefully worded statement, with appropriate protection for all parties, to ensure that confidence in the probity and propriety of the RSPBA continues in the future.

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