Gordon Stewart Clark  1937-2024

Atholl Highlanders pipers. Gordon is third from the left. Others are, l-r, Jack Taylor, Finlay Clark and Bill Wotherspoon

Gordon Clark, prizewinning piper, games organiser and member of the Atholl Highlanders Pipe Band, has died aged 87.

Gordon was born near Aboyne in Aberdeenshire. Being the son of a piper it was always likely he would follow in his dad’s footsteps. And so it turned out. In his early teens Gordon learned from his father in their home near Aberfeldy.

Following National Service, Gordon set sail for New Zealand to pursue his interest in farming. Three years later on his return, he met, on the boat, a young Kiwi piper who was coming to Scotland to compete round the Highland games and receive tuition from P/M Donald MacLeod.

This young man was Alastair Munro who, later in life, became a leading figure in the NZ Piobaireachd Society and pipe band organisations. Alastair and Gordon became lifelong friends.

Meeting Alastair was a large factor in Gordon deciding to give solo competing a try. Realising he needed tuition from a master player he, along with older brother Eddie, started taking lessons from P/M Jimmy MacGregor, at that time living and working at Glenalmond College.

Before long they both started to feature in prize lists round the competition circuit. Favourite tunes of Gordon’s were Lord Lovat’s Lament, Bealach nam Brog (his playing of this tune was described by Bob Nicol as among the best he had heard), and MacGregor’s Gathering with which he won the Witwatersrand trophy at the Eagle Pipers’ annual competition in the early 1970s.

In 1973 along with Eddie he was invited to join the Atholl Highlanders Pipe Band. He served in the band for 35 years most of them as Pipe Corporal. In addition to this Gordon was, for many years, solo piping convenor of the Perthshire Provincial Mod, the Atholl and Breadalbane Games and Kenmore Games.

Gordon was a member of the SPJA and became a well known and respected solo piping judge until his retirement from the bench four years ago due to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Gordon died last Thursday in Balhousie nursing home Pitlochry. He is survived by his wife Sheila, son Finlay, daughter Katrina and grandchildren Emily, Archie, Rosie and Isla.

Gordon’s funeral will be held on Wednesday 17th April at 2.30pm in Strathtay Kirk to which all are invited.


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2 thoughts on “Gordon Stewart Clark  1937-2024

  1. I was sorry to learn of the passing of Gordon. I got on fine with him and he often, as they say in banter, ‘pulled my leg’ and as these were fun exchanges, I would respond. Reading about his involvement in piping makes us realise that he was very active and more active than a lot of us.

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