‘Talk Piobaireachd’ Tonight / London Piper and His First Prize in 1937

Jack Lee at the 1981 Northern Meeting where he won his first Gold Medal playing Black Donald’s March

The next session in the Piobaireachd Society’s popular ‘Talk Piobaireachd’ series of online tutorials is tonight at 8pm GMT. It features champion piper Jack Lee from British Columbia, Canada.

Jack will discuss and play two tunes, Black Donald’s March and the Cave of Gold. The first is the tune with which he won his first Gold Medal, at Inverness, in 1981. The second is a more obscure, seldom heard tune, attributed to the MacCrimmons.

Both tunes are set for the major competitions at Oban and Inverness 2024, Black Donald for the Gold Medal and the Cave of Gold the Silver.

Other talks to follow are as follows:
Jan 24 – Malcolm McRae, Clanranald Salute / Melbank’s Salute
Feb 21 – Bill Wotherspoon, Farewell to the Laird of Islay / Clan Chattan’s Gathering
Mar 20 – Alan Forbes, Blue Ribbon / Gathering of the MacNabs 
Apr 24 –  Peter McCalister, MacIntosh’s Lament / the Glen is Mine

The talks are only open to Piobaireachd Society members. Membership costs £15, or £5 for students/ juniors. Join here.


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London Piper

Reader Neil McDougall: ‘My grandfather, Grigor McDougall, was a piper and in his belongings I found this medal from the London competition in 1937 – 1st prize in Class 1 Piping. I thought you might be interested in the pictures. Sorry I have no knowledge of his piping career.

‘Below is the only photo I have of him – clearly as a young man. He died in the mid 1980s, had muscular distrophy but managed to confound the doctors by surviving into his 80s.

‘Unfortunately I never heard him play. I know he moved up to Inverness around 1960, so would have left the London piping scene by then. He would have been around 38 when he won the medal I have.

Grigor McDougall

‘The musical gene continues. I learned piano and wind instruments and played full time as a session keyboard player for a while in the ‘80’s. His great grandson Dan McDougall has a career as a song writer, producer and multi instrumentalist and has since 2017 drummed for rock singer Liam Gallagher, so I think he would have been pleased with that even though the piping didn’t continue down the generations, the music did.’

Does anyone in the London piping scene have any knowledge of Grigor and/ or his medal?


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