Lochaber Juniors/ Donald MacLeod Memorial

Winners at Lochaber Juniors

Lochaber Piping Society’s annual youth piping and drumming competition was held on Saturday, March 23, in the Gaelic Primary School, Caol, Fort William. Adjudicators were P/M Alistair Duthie, Jon Don MacKenzie, Moira Robertson, P/M DJ MacIntyre and Brian Graham (drumming), writes Ken Cameron, President.

We had 60 entries across fifteen classes and the total number of individual performances was 134. While the number of contestants was encouraging, comment has been made regarding the low number of Lochaber entrants in the Chanter and Piping classes – this is a difficult comment to counter. Lochaber drummers, though, were more numerous, with a good number having been put forward by their enthusiastic schools Instructor, Allan Craig.

The competition programme ran pretty well to plan and we had some great feedback from adjudicators, players and audience, all of whom enjoyed their day. One young piper even travelled up specially from North Wales with his family and went away happy, having won a place amongst some very stiff competition. In contrast, the hard-worked Society members were just about on their knees and Sunday was definitely a day of rest.

14 & Under Piob. winner James Silcock

Planning towards our next competition, Lochaber Gathering in August, is already underway. Our Society may be small, but we work well as a team and are very proud of the events we manage to put on. Thankfully, our work doesn’t come unsupported and we are so grateful to our sponsors for their generosity in assisting with funding and with prizes-in-kind. The Piobaireachd Society has been extremely generous with its support and we are glad to be able to hold four separate piobaireachd classes within this competition, from the Ground Only through to the P/M Donald MacLeod contest.

15-18 Piob: 1 Fraser Hamilton 2 Hector Finlayson 3 Arran Green
15-18 March: 1 Arran Green 2 Fraser Hamilton 3 Hector Finlayson
15-18 S&R: 1 Arran Green 2 Hector Finlayson 3 Fraser Hamilton
Donald MacLeod Piob.: 1 Fraser Hamilton 2 Hector Finlayson 3 Ronald MacColl
14& Under Piob: 1 James Silcock 2 Lily Robertson 3 Callan Erskine
14& Under March: 1 Owen McCreadie 2 Grace Kelman 3 Mairi Finlayson
14& Under S&R: 1 Owen McCreadie 2 Mairi Finlayson 3 William Muirhead

Full results here.

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Donald MacLeod Memorial

The Pipe Major Donald MacLeod MBE Memorial Competition is on 5th April, with the junior competition taking place the day before (1.30pm), both in the Caladh Hotel, Stornoway, writes Katie Laing.

Eight of the most promising young pipers in the Western Isles will play a selection of tunes: Isabel Beaton, Innes Begg, Mairead Gailbraith, Eilidh MacDonald, Ruairidh MacDonald, Seamus Mackay, Michael MacLellan and Charlie Shirkie. Judges are Ian Duncan and Iain MacCrimmon.

All competitors will receive a new practice chanter courtesy McCallum Bagpipes and the overall winner receives the Norman S Morrison trophy. 

James MacKenzie and Callum Beaumont, last year’s winners

The Senior Competition will commence at 9.30am. Invited pipers are Callum Beaumont, Alasdair Henderson, Finlay Johnston, Stuart Liddell, Angus MacColl, James Duncan MacKenzie, Roderick MacLeod and Innes Smith. Judges: Ian Duncan, Murray Henderson and Rhona Lightfoot. Fear an Taigh: John Wilson.

The Society is extremely grateful to sponsors Point and Sandwick Trust, the Gordon Duncan Trust, David Wood and McCallum Bagpipes.

During a break in the competition an historic set of pipes will be played by Stuart Liddell. They were owned by John Morrison, Assynt House, Stornoway – immortalised in Peter R MacLeod Senior’s reel of the same name. Peter was originally from Uig in Lewis, but lived most of his life in Partick, Glasgow.

The pipes date from 1843 and were made by Donald MacKay, brother of Angus, the first Sovereign’s Piper. They have a John Ban MacKenzie (1796-1864) pipe chanter.


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