Editor’s Notebook: Cowal Gathering/ Peter MacFarquhar/ Masters of Piobaireachd/ Reminders/ Kinglassie PB

There are strong rumours, more than that actually, that next year’s Cowal Grade 1 pipe band competition is to be given a significant cash boost: a four figure first prize, perhaps circa. £2,000.

Good money for the places too, with a total fund of £5,000. That would put Cowal back on the pipe band map wouldn’t it? Last year there was no G1 contest.

I’m still hoping that some sort of deal can be done between Dunoon and Washington Street in restoring Cowal as the ‘fifth major’, though not holding in the breath.

I don’t yet know how the RSPBA’s negotiations are going with the venue for the 2024 British – just over six short months away. Rename the UKs the British and restore Cowal as a major I say.

  • If you are feeling a little nostalgic for the great days of Cowal, than check out this film from the National Library of Scotland. It’s from 1974, almost half a century ago. Were you, like me, there? If so, let’s have your memories. The pic up top is a still from the movie. Can anyone ID the band?

MacRaeBanner ’19
Ayrshire Bagpipes Nov 2020
shepherd banner ’22
silver chanter banner 2024

Peter MacFarquhar

Further information from the PP archives on yesterday’s story. Relatives of Peter MacFarquhar who were pipers include P/M John MacDonald, Tiree, P/M of the Seaforth Highlanders 1856-64, and Gold Medallist Kenny MacDonald, Tiree & Glasgow, whom he taught as a young boy.

Peter himself was taught by Willie MacDonald of Lairg and got lessons at Piobaireachd Society classes on Skye. He competed little, but is known to have won the Strathspey & Reel at Cowal.

Am I right in saying that for a time Peter MacFarquhar’s pipes were played by P/M Angus MacDonald, Scots Guards, with much success. Grateful for more information on this.

Masters of Piobaireachd

I have two extra copies of Volumes 5 and 6 of the ‘Masters of Piobaireachd’ series of instructional CDs by RB Nicol and RU Brown. Tunes covered: Big Spree, Lament for the Children, Mary’s Praise, His Father’s Lament for Donald MacKenzie, Massacre of Glencoe, Lament for Donald of Laggan, Blue Ribbon, MacLeod’s Salute, MacLeod’s Controversy, Lament for the Earl of Antrim, I am Proud to Play a Pipe, Flame of Wrath, Colin MacRae of Inverinate’s Lament. First donation of £8 (includes postage, UK only, see box top left) secures both CDs. Please add postal address.

Kinglassie PB

Ian Sword: To clear a couple of points made by viewers, the Pipe Sergeant in the Kinglassie Pipe Band photograph is Jimmy Brown from Kirkcaldy, and immediately behind him in the second rank is David Westie, who later emigrated to Canada and became Pipe Major of Powell River Pipe Band, Vancouver.

Contest Reminders

Brian Yates writes: Would you please announce that, for the first time since before lockdowns, the Inverness Piping Society has restored its Junior Piping Competition. It will be held Saturday 18th of November at the army Reserve Center on Gordonville Rd in Inverness. Registration is at 9:30 AM, competitions begin at 10am and are open to all players 17 & under with three categories: novice piper, under 15, and under 18. Further details, and entry forms with a list of events may be found on the Inverness Piping Society’s Webpage;  http://www.invernesspipingsociety.co.uk

Bob Worrall writes: We’ve just updated the George Sherriff website.  More details still to come.  However, is it possible to put up a wee blurb in Piping Press?  All key details for the contest on November 18 are in the website: http://www.georgesherriffinvitational.com/index.ph

4 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: Cowal Gathering/ Peter MacFarquhar/ Masters of Piobaireachd/ Reminders/ Kinglassie PB

  1. It’s young Dougie and Kenny McBride with Ian McNeill and David Strachan all members of Monktonhall, probably before they were in the competition band

  2. I live in hope of Cowal regaining Major status in the RSPBA calendar. I feel the loss of it has undoubtedly had an impact on the amount of local school-aged children taking up piping and drumming in the area. Mind you, who will blink first? The Cowal Gathering or the RSPBA?

  3. I believe that the Band in the still might well be St Joseph’s Clondalkin, as I think you can spot their bass drum just before they start the parade up to the park. Think I also spotted the three Monktonhall McBride Brothers, Donald, Dougie & Kenny, walking the other way past the band?

    It also looks like a very young Alistair Gillies in tweed jacket, having a blow in the Castle Gardens Park? Could be wrong there. Singer Pipe Band at practice too? Pipe Major Maurice Pert perhaps?

    I was there with the Boghall, as 1974 was our first full season, competing in Grade 4.

    Great days.

  4. I fully agree with you about the desirability of Cowal returning as a major. Mind you, it seems that a very skilled mediator would be required to work with the parties involved!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *