Around 100 young pipers from across the Western Isles came together in Harris on Sept 30th for the Lewis and Harris Piping Society’s Annual Junior Competition — including youngsters from the Southern Isles, despite initial fears that low tides would impact the Sound of Harris ferry service and stop them travelling.
Once the necessary assurances were given that the last ferry back to Berneray would run as scheduled, a group of around 50 made the trip from Uist and Barra. The Uibhisteachs were led by their instructor Domhnall Ban MacDonald and accompanied by several parents. They joined a similar number from Lewis and Harris for the competition at Sir E Scott School in Tarbert.
By Katie Laing
Overall winner for the U15s was Calum Beaton from Benbecula, with Calum MacNeil from Barra second. Overall winner for the U18s was Eilidh MacDonald from Harris, with Innes Begg from Lewis, second.
The chanter sections were judged by Euan Cowan, who also judged the Hornpipe and Jigs on the pipes, but the main judge for the piping was Callum Beaumont.
Callum said: “It was a very good competition. The standard was extremely high across all the different categories.” He added it was “always a highlight to come over” to the Western Isles for a piping event.
Callum spoke the young pipers directly as they assembled for the prize-giving, giving them a few suggestions about what to focus on, including trying to tune their own pipes instead of relying on the tutors. The proceedings were then brought to a close with a brief word of thanks to all those who had contributed to the success of the day from the Chairman of the Society, Dr John Smith — especially to Youth Pipe Band Director Ashley MacDonald who had been in overall charge of the competition.
Afterwards, Dr Smith said: “The competition was very well attended and we are particularly pleased that the youngsters from Uist and Barra made it to Tarbert in time for a prompt start at 9am, and back home that afternoon. It is a 45-minute drive to Leverburgh and the junior competition finished at 3.14pm, leaving only just enough time to get to the ferry at 4pm.”
“I think overall, honours were more evenly distributed between the two ends of the Western Isles than in recent years when pupils from Uist and Barra have tended to dominate the competition. The standard of play was very high and all the pipers were very smartly turned out in Highland dress.”
Beginner Chanter: 1 Patricia Mallon 2 Callum MacDonald 3 Maria Beaton 4 Ethan Murray
Nov. Chanter: 1 Mairi MacNeil 2 Shonnie Beaton 3 Sarah MacDonald 4 Katie MacRury 5 Calum MacNeil 6 Francis MacLellan
Advanced Chanter: 1 Charlene Nicholson
Secondary Novice Piping: 1 Ciorstaidh MacLean 2 Liam Beaton 3 Lena MacKenzie
U15 Piobaireachd (Ground): 1 Calum Beaton 2 Anna MacDonald 3 Craig MacNeil 4 Alexander MacLeod 5 Calum MacNeil 6 Niall MacRury 7 Katie MacRae
U15 March: 1 Calum MacNeil 2 Calum Beaton 3 Alan Smith 4 Craig MacNeil 5 Anna MacDonald 6 Alexander MacLeod
U15 S&R: 1 Calum MacNeil 2 Calum Beaton 3 Katie MacRae 4 Alan Smith 5 Anna MacDonald 6 Alexander MacLeod
U15 Hornpipe: 1 Alexander MacLeod 2 Calum Beaton 3 Alan Smith 4 Craig MacNeil 5 Niall MacRury 6 Fraser Laurie
U15 Jig: 1 Calum MacNeil 2 Alan Smith 3 Calum Beaton 4 Craig MacNeil 5 Niall MacRury 6 Katie MacRae
U18 Piob.: 1 Mairead Galbraith 2 Charlie Shirkie 3 Eilidh MacDonald 4 Ruairidh MacDonald 5 Ian Alex MacDonald 6 Innes Begg
U18 March: 1 Charlie Shirkie 2 Micheal MacLellan 3 Isabel Beaton 4 Innes Begg 5 Eilidh MacDonald 6 Seamus MacKay
U18 S&R: 1 Micheal MacLellan 2 Eilidh MacDonald 3 Mairead Galbraith 4 Innes Begg 5 Charlie Shirkie 6 Seamus MacKay
U18 Hornpipe: 1 Seamus MacKay 2 Innes Begg 3 Eilidh MacDonald 4 Padruig MacLean 5 Ruairidh MacDonald 6 Charlie Shirkie
U18 Jig: 1 Seamus MacKay 2 Innes Begg 3 Mairead Galbraith 4 Eilidh MacDonald 5 Charlie Shirkie 6 Isabel Beaton