All posts by Robert Wallace

Robert Wallace is an award winning piper, writer and journalist.

Paisley Centre Stage for Annual West of Scotland Branch Contest

Glasgow and West of Scotland Branch of the RSPBA will hold their innovative annual competition in Paisley Town Centre tomorrow (July 22). In the above picture Johnstone Pipe Band celebrate after their success at the 2016 contest. The official publicity release reads: ‘Paisley town centre will welcome some of Scotland’s top piping talent for the annual Paisley Pipe Band Competition tomorrow.

‘The event, which is in its eighth year, will see pipers and drummers from across Scotland fill the town with the sound of bagpipes and the beat of drums.

‘Thousands are expected to watch the bands as they parade from High Street to the main competition arena in County Square. There, judges from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association – West of Scotland branch will judge the bands on their performances across the various grades. Spectators will be able to enjoy the performances during the day, with the March Past at 4.30pm.

‘Bands compete from 10.30am and then the massed bands will gather at 5.30pm for the prize-giving ceremony with the Chieftain. The competition, organised by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) and Renfrewshire Council, have quickly come to be regarded as one of the most prestigious events on the calendar. This year’s event is part of an exciting and expanding calendar of cultural events for Renfrewshire following the successful shortlisting of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

‘Chieftain of the event, Provost Lorraine Cameron said, ‘The Paisley Pipe Band Competition has attracted huge numbers of people to the town in the years that the event has been running. The standard of piping is extremely high attracting bands from across Scotland to compete demonstrating the prestigious nature of the event.

‘These events bring big crowds into our towns and give local communities another reason to feel proud about living in Paisley and Renfrewshire. It’s also a great reason to join in the celebrations as Paisley 2021 has made it through to the second stage of the bid for the UK City of Culture 2021.’

‘This marks the second large-scale piping event to take place in the town this year. Earlier this year, Paisley hosted the British Pipe Band Championships which saw thousands of people turn out to St James Playing Fields for one of the biggest events in world piping.

‘A Family Fun Day has been organised by Renfrewshire Leisure in and around the grounds of the Arts Centre, to mark its 30th anniversary, on Saturday between noon and 4pm. Youngsters can enjoy watching puppet theatre and take part in craft workshops.

‘For more information on Paisley 2021, visit, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.’

The draw is as follows:
Grade Novice Juvenile B
10:30 Dumbarton and District
10:38 Renfrewshire Schools

Grade 4
10:55 East Kilbride
11:03 St Francis
11:11 Strathendrick
11:19 Dunoon Argyll
11:27 Irvine and District
11:35 Greyfriars Pipes and Drums
11:43 Kilmarnock Pipe Band
11:51 Renfrew North Youth
11:59 Kilbarchan
12:07 Johnstone Pipe Band
12:15 Williamwood
12:23 3rd Barrhead and District
12:31 Kilsyth Thistle

Grade 3
13:25 Strathendrick
13:33 Irvine and District
13:41 Royal Burgh of Stirling
13:49 Kilbarchan
13:57 Johnstone Pipe Band
14:05 Milngavie

Grade 3 MSR
14:35 Royal Burgh of Stirling
14:43 Williamwood
14:51 Irvine and District
14:59 Johnstone Pipe Band

Grade 2
15:20 Milngavie
15:29 Dumbarton and District
15:38 Royal Burgh of Stirling

Grade 1
15:55 Johnstone Pipe Band
16:05 Dumbarton and District

Over in Northern Ireland we have band contests at the Ulster Championships in Antrim Castle Gardens and the Burntisland contest in Fife, both tomorrow.


Highlands and Islands Young Piper of the Year 2017

Senior (30 and Under)
Ceòl Mòr:

1st Charlie MacDonald, Inverness – Lament for Mary MacLeod
2nd Ben Duncan, Edinburgh – MacDougall’s Gathering
3rd James Dyson, Canada- The Piper’s Warning to his Master.
4th Kate Kimove, Canada – The Earl of Seaforth’s Salute
Judges: Iain Morrison and Willie Morrison.

Under 30 March
1st Ben Duncan
2nd Charlie MacDonald
3rd James Dyson
4th Katie Kimov

H and I Young Piper of Year: Ben Duncan

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Under 18 March
1st Angus MacPhee,
2nd Katie MacPhee
3rd Calum Craib
4th Finlay Frame

Under 18 S&R
1st Angus MacPhee
2nd Calum Craib
3rd Hamish Drennan
4th Finlay Drennan
Judge for Under 18s: John Don MacKenzie

Under 15 March
1st Brodie Watdon-Massey
2nd Christopher Happs
3rd Bobby Allan
4th Eòsaph Caimbeul

Under 15 S&R
1st Brodie Watson-Massey
2nd Christopher Happs
3rd Eòsaph Caimbeul
4th Eilidh MacPhee

Under 15 Jig
1st Christopher Happs
2nd Brodie Watson-Massey
3rd Eòsaph Caimbeul
4th Laura Robertson

Judge for Under 15s: Donald MacPhee

Open Chanter:
1st Anndra Monk
2nd Maggie MacDonald
3rd Ross Walker
4th Donald Henderson

Novice Piping
1st Innes Scullion
2nd Ryan MacIntyre

Tobermory Games Results

A beautiful day at the friendly games, writes the Editor. The sun shone, the hospitality flowed and the real West Highland character was there in all its glory. There was good piping too.  Not a great entry, but the playing was enjoyable nevertheless. Champion Piper: Angus D MacColl. The above picture shows the judges with Piping Convenor Torquil Telfer relaxing after their day on the bench.

The Mish may be dead but the legacy of Bobby MacLeod lives on through his son and grandson. At the close of play a rejuvenated Bobby Jnr gave us a wide selection of pipe tunes on his button box. The Tobermory Hotel now does what the Mishnish used to.

The piping results:

1 Angus D MacColl, Unjust Incarceration, £100
2 Ed McIllwaine, British Columbia, The Vaunting, £65
3 Angus J MacColl, End of the Great Bridge, £40
4 Alistair Murray, N Ireland and Pittsburgh, Big Spree, £25
5 Ronald Telfer, Lament for Mary MacLeod, £10

Runner-up overall, Angus J MacColl

1 Angus D MacColl, Arthur Bignold, £65
2 Angus J MacColl, £40
3 Ronald Telfer, £25
4 Ed McIllwaine, £15
5 Alistair Murray, £5

Alistair Murray had a tune of two halves in the ceol mor

1 Angus D MacColl, £65
2 Angus J MacColl, £40
3 Alistair Murray, £25
4 Alastair MacLean, £15
5 Harry Walters, £5

Piob (sponsored by Archie and Janet MacDonald)
1 Angus D MacColl, £25
2 Angus J MacColl, £15
3 Ronald Telfer, £10
4 Alastair MacLean, £5

1 Angus D MacColl, £25
2 Angus J MacColl, £15
3 Ronald Telfer, £10
4 Alastair MacLean, £5

1 Angus D MacColl, £25
2 Angus J MacColl, £15
3 Alastair Maclean, £10
4 Ronald Telfer, £5

Piob judges: A Maclean, R Wallace
Ceol beag judges: B Donaldson, I Duncan

Harry Watters, Canberra, Australia, has real potential as a piobaireachd player but chokes and note errors ruled him out of contention

In the ceol mor Angus D MacColl was the clear winner with the Unjust Incarceration. Maybe the low A was not exactly spotted with the drones but the masterly phrasing and technique shone through. Ed McIllwaine had a flattish pipe but consummate phrasing and technique in his performance. Angus J was rather square but deserved his prize. Alastair Murray had a tune of two halves. He started superbly well but half way through lost the plot and was hanging on in the T&C. Fifth went to Ronald Telfer with the best tune we had heard from him. A better crunluath and he could have been considered for a better prize.

A Better Way to Learn
Easy Chanter to Pipes
Strathspeys Made Easy!
Your First Hornpipe!

South Uist Games Results (pictures added)

Lovely dry day on Askernish Machair with a good Uist breeze. Piper Donald MacPhee took the major honours. Senior competition judges were Iain Morrison and Willie Morrison. Junior comp. judges were John Don MacKenzie and Neil Mulvie. The picture above is of Champion Piper Donald MacPhee striding out as the judges look on.

1st Donald MacPhee – Beloved Scotland.
2nd Ben Duncan – MacSwan of Roaig
3rd Kate Kimove – Earl of Seaforth’s Salute
4th Brìghde Chaimbeul – Lament for Ronald MacDonald of Morar
5th James MacPhee – The Groat

1st Donald MacPhee
2nd Ben Duncan
3rd Peter MacGregor
4th Charles MacDonald
5th Brìghde Chaimbeul

1st Donald MacPhee
2nd Ben Duncan
3rd James MacPhee
4th Fiona MacLean
5th Charles MacDonald

Ben Duncan in action today at Askernish Machair

1st Fiona MacLean
2nd Charles MacDonald
3rd Ben Duncan
4th Brìghde Chaimbeul
5th Jamie Dyson

Under 18 MSR:
1st Angus MacPhee
2nd Calum Craib
3rd Finlay Frame

Under 18 Jig:
1st Hamish Drennan
2nd Angus MacPhee
3rd Finlay Frame

Under 15 March
1st Christopher Happs
2nd Brodie Watson-Massey
3rd Kevin Beaton

Under 15 S&R:
1st Brodie Watson-Massey
2nd Christopher Happs
3rd Eòsaph Caimbeul

Under 15 Jig
1st Christopher Happs
2nd Eòsaph Caimbeul
3rd Marion MacCorquodale

A Better Way to Learn
All Ceol Mor Technique
Hard Stuff Simplified!
Four Beautiful Tunes