Category Archives: Results

Springbank Invitational Results (Updated)

The annual competition sponsored by the local Springbank Distillery and organised by William McCallum was held on Saturday, Sept 15. It affords the local piping community in Campbeltown and Kintyre the the opportunity of hearing some of the best pipers on the professional circuit. The above picture shows all competitors with trophies and generous helpings of the sponsors’ fine brew.

Ceol Mor
1 Roderick MacLeod, Lament for MacSwan of Roaig
2 Alasdair Henderson, MacDougall’s Gathering
3 Gordon McCready, The Vaunting
4 Iain Spiers, In Praise of Morag

1 William McCallum, Capt. Campbell of Drum a Voisk, Angus Campbell’s Farewell to Stoirling, Dora MacLeod, Susan MacLeod, Roddy MacDonald’s Fancy, Man from Glengarry
2 Calum Beaumont, Miss Elspeth Campbell, Mrs Duncan MacFadyen, Tulloch Castle, Bob o’ Fettercairn, Cockerel in the Creel, Drumlithie
3 RoderickMacLeod, Clan MacColl, Argyllshire Gathering, Lady Loudon, Sheherd’s Crook, Grey Bob, Sheepwife
4 Alasdair Henderson, Duke of Roxburgh’s Farewell to the Blackmount, Inveran, Piper’s Bonnet, Bob o’Fettercairn, Sandy Cameron, Mrs MacPherson of Inveran

Hornpipe / Jig
1 Alasdair Henderson, Hazel Thompson, Michael MacDonald’s Jig
2 Angus MacColl, Kyle Howie’s Hornpipe, Calum’s Bridge
3 Gordon McCready, Captain’s Pledge, P/M Jimmy MacGregor
4 William McCallum, St Valery, Kenny MacDonald’s Jig

6/8 March
1 Angus MacColl, MacNeil of Ugadale
2 Roderick MacLeod, Braes of Scotland
3 William McCallum, P/M Ronnie MacCallum
4 Gordon McCready, Highland Brigade Depot

Judges: IM Morrison, I MacFadyen, J Wilson

PP Ed’s Blog: St Thomas’/ Stuart & Finlay/ Union Pipes/ Grampian League

Lyric Todkill of the flood-hit St Thomas’ Episcopal Pipe Band: ‘Thank you again for such a great article. I think it will help our cause.If anyone has difficulty with donating through the website, international donations can be made with the following account information.
International Wires with SWIFT code instructions:
Prosperity Bank
ABA: 113122655
Beneficiary: St. Thomas Episcopal Church & School Flood Relief Fund

Acct #217165824

Finlay Johnston winner of the March, Strathspey & Reel at this year’s Uist & Barra competition

Finlay Johnston and Stuart Liddell are off to Australia this week on a teaching and recital trip. The Queensland Highland Pipers’ Society are promoting their concert in the Regatta Hotel, Toowong, on Monday (Sept 18) at 7pm. Tickets to hear these two master players are a very reasonable A$10 (£6.50 approx.). Suporting them will be Kyle Warren.

Heartening to receive this about a set of union pipes (above) I sold to  collector Andreas Hartmann-Virnich a couple of years back: ‘I just got the Donald MacDonald Pastoral Pipes back from restoration by Andreas Rogge. He is very happy with the result. The sound is amazing, deep and warm. Andreas did do a great job with the missing treble drone that he reconstructed, and the missing chanter foot. He also made a new bag, reeds, and a blowpipe, all visually matched.

‘The setup is extremely air-efficient and pressure-friendly. The chanter in the picture plays two fully chromatic octaves – if you know how to play it correctly; I don’t. I believe that we will see the reproduction on the market in the near future. There are only two MacDonald Pastoral pipes world-wide that I am aware of (Hugh Cheape confirms), and yours is now the only playable set, the other one from the Scottish west coast being but a bunch of damaged parts. You may be confident that this set has been taken care of in the best possible way, and it is a truly wonderful instrument.’

I have asked Andreas for a recording so that we can hear what the pipes sound like. From my own not too successfukl attemots at getting them going I believe they will be similar to the Irish uillean pipe. The great thing for Highland pipers is that the fingering is very similar to ours. If this instrument goes into production I think we could see another important development in the bellows pipe world, something to match the smallpipe boom. I bought this instrument at auction in 1990 and loaned them to the College of Piping Museum for the 15 years I was there.

Patricia Grant compiler of the John Milne Fine Arts Grampian Piping League: ‘It was a good day at Braemar and the standard of piping was very good. I have attached the final placings and I would be obliged if you could advise any changes.  We were presented with a new trophy for the Junior Piobaireachd which was won for the first time by Liam Brown.  Unfortunately he was not able to attend but this addition is very much appreciated.  Good to see so many names figuring in the list of prizewinners and we can only hope that next year there more youngsters come to play in the various Games competitions.  Thanks to all the judges for their help and patience with me arriving possibly at inappropriate time to see if I can get results and to the Games Secretaries who send me the results.  Hope for a good year in 2018.  Patricia.’

Piobaireachd (senior):
1       Anna Kumerlöw                                           10
(Anna is pictured top after winning the 2017 Braemar Gold Medal)
2=    Allan Russell                                                    8
2=    Edward Gaul                                                    8
3=    Gordon McCready                                       7
3=     Ben Duncan                                                     7
4       Calum Brown                                                   6
5=     Faye Henderson                                            4
5=     Alan Clark                                                         4
6=     Raphael Mercier                                           3
6=     Sandy Cameron                                             3
7=     Andrew Hall                                                     2
7=     Ursa Beckford                                                2
7=     Gordon Barclay                                             2
8=     Bruce Macdonald                                         1
8=     Jamie Dyson                                                    1
8=     Duncan Watson                                            1
8=     Dan Lyden                                                         1
Calum Ian Brown, winner of the Grampian League senior ceol beag

Ceol beag (senior):
1        Calum Brown                                              50
2        Ben Duncan                                                 23
3        Allan Russell                                                22
4        Alan Clark                                                     20
5        Eddie Gaul                                                    17
6        Gordon McCready                                 16
7        Brighde Chaimbeul                                  8
8        John MacDonald                                       7
9=     Lewis White                                                 6
9=     Robbie MacIssac                                       6
10=  Andrew Donlan                                         5
10=  Anna Kumerlöw                                        5
11=  Struan McLennan                                     4
11=  Ross Shand                                                   4
11=  James McHattie                                        4
12     Sandy Cameron                                         3
13=   Andrew Hall                                               2
13=   Gary Murray                                              2
13=   Gordon Barclay                                        2
13=   Kris Coyle                                                    2
13=   Jonathan Greenlees                              2
14=    Kate Kimove                                             1
14=   Peter McCalister                                     1
14=    Nick Hudson                                             1

Piobaireachd (junior):
1     Liam Brown                                                    11
2     Jamie MacRae                                                 5
3=  Jordan Ednie                                                    4
3=  Andrew Ferguson                                         4
4=  Angus MacKay Robertson                       3
4=  Finlay Cameron                                              3
4=  Lee Taylor                                                           3
5=  Tom Spencer                                                     2
5=   Bobby Allan                                                      2
6     Angus Duffy                                                      1Ceol beag (junior):
1      Liam Brown                                                      46
2     Jamie MacRae                                                 11
3=   Robert Howie                                                   8
3=   Daniel Ferguson                                              8
4=   Robbie MacIssac                                             7
4=   Finlay Cameron                                               7
5=   Lee Taylor                                                            6
5=   Angus Duffy                                                       6
6=  Angus Mackay Robertson                          4
6=  Jordan Ednie                                                      4
6=  Andrea Yeats                                                      4
6=  Adam Reid                                                            4
7=  Andrew Ferguson                                            3
7=  Peter McEwan                                                   3
7=  Archie Downie                                                   3
8     Lewis Russell                                                       2
9=  Tom Spencer                                                        1
9=  Bobby Allan                                                          1

Dress at Oban and Inverness and the Standard of Play in B Grade Events

By Robert Wallace

A last look at the piping at the 2017 Northern Meeting today. Before that a word about Oban and its dress code. Pipers at the Argyllshire Gathering are permitted to play without jackets. The rooms get hot at times and the laudable aim of the organisers is to make the competitors as comfortable as possible in the pressure cooker atmosphere of the small theatre at the Corran Halls and in the confined space of other competition venues.

You might think that such a dispensation would yield a pipe band outcome where everyone wears a waistcoat, a smartly pressed shirt with cufflinks, fastened tie and a bonnet correctly (mostly) positioned on the head. Not so. What I witnessed this year was a noticeable decline in appearance. Here we had some of the most important piping events in the world (and some of the best musicians) parading in rolled up shirt sleeves, ties unhinged, bonnets askew, no waistcoat or kilt belt – and no visual respect for the occasion.

So it is one thing for promoters to try to accommodate sweaty pipers, but if the no jacket allowance leads to a further drop in standards of dress and deportment then we need to be concerned. Could Oban not state in its rules that pipers who drop the jacket must wear a waistcoat, must have ties appropriately knotted, shirtsleeves fastened at the cuff etc? In the picture up top young Luke Kennedy shows pipers how they should dress at the Gathering if they don’t want to wear jackets (bonnet to be added). Luke is seen receiving the P/M RG Hardie Memorial Trophy for Intermediate MSR playing from AG Assistant Piping Convenor Jamie Mellor.

No such worries at Inverness where jackets are de rigueur….. shame about some of the playing in the ‘B’s. The topic of conversation amongst many of the adjudicators who presided over the ‘B’ grade March, Strathspey and Reel and ‘B’ Grade Hornpipe & Jig was of the indifferent (I don’t want to go any stronger than that) standard of performance. One judge wrote to me: ‘I am seriously concerned about the state of piping among our up and coming players – lack of musicality, technique, phrasing, bagpipes etc. Three minutes should be ample to tune a set of pipes surely? Very few achieved it. That was an uncomfortable experience today for all three of us – for seven hours.’

I would echo these sentiments but would say that in the ‘B’ Hornpipe & Jig that I judged with Ian McLellan the prizewinners all played well and there were others who perhaps had a good hornpipe but failed in the jig and vice versa. I am sure this would be the same in the ‘B’ MSR, however my correspondent’s point is well made.

Sandy Cameron, winner of the Northern Meeting ‘B’ Hornpipe & Jig and a regular winner round the games this year. Sandy is pictured at Arisaig

The number of times pipers came to the floor with the pipes well in, only to put them out, and then struggle to recover their tuning – and invariably failing – was considerable. Add to that the flaws in basic technique: D throws not properly grounded to low G, double Es from F false fingered, inconsistencies in grips and taorluaths, the list goes on and this at the Northern Meeting!

Consider too, a failure to understand, or deliver, the basic ceol beag idioms and we have a problem. Are senior pipers/ judges doing enough teaching? Are the draconian rules of the Solo Piping Judges Association already having an effect? Do nerves play a big part? Certainly, this is Inverness after all. But there is a world of difference between someone trying to play correctly and failing and someone who misunderstands the basic requirements of the art.

Band playing may have made an unfortunate impact too. The quality of fingerwork required to succeed on the solo platform probably exceeds that of the average Grade 1 piper. We often hear pipers fresh from a win at the Worlds struggling to execute their solo stuff with the required clarity and definition. Rhythm: in bands this comes from the pipe major and the drummers. Individual feel for the music is secondary, yet on the solo board the piper is lost without it.

And tuning. Do pipers actually rehearse the three or four-minute tuning lights regime they encounter at Oban and Inverness? I would be amazed if they did not, yet judging by the evidence, this is clearly not the case. (Some even think that by standing with their backs to the lights as the red approaches they will gain extra time and fool the judges. Believe me, this does the guilty piper no favours.) Has a reliance on electronic tuners caused a decline in the development of what used to be called a ‘good ear’? It would seem so.

Many pipers will be hurting after a disappointing Oban and Inverness. I’ve been in that movie. The only response can be a complete re-evaluation of your instrument (from the bag up), your technique, your appreciation of basic rhythm and expression and a thorough look at your practice regime. For goodness sake don’t despair. Many’s the piper who, with a change in direction or a look at the basics, manages to turn round their performance and consequent success rate. Remember, just to get to Oban and Inverness says something about your standard of play. You have to be a very good piper to be accepted.

Do not wander in the wilderness cursing judges and misfortune. Seek out a senior player or judge who has been there and done it all. Hopefully some guidance will be forthcoming. Get your set tunes off by Christmas; cut out that march you never seem to do well with, think hard about linking your strathspeys and reels and how well they sit together. Is John Morrison, Assynt House worth the risk when Alick C would do? Look logically and rationally at all of this, take the necessary action and you should be able to approach next season with renewed confidence.

Get full results from Oban here. Get full results from Inverness here. 

Shotts Juniors/ Cancale/ Pitlochry/ Kiltwalk

Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band’s Junior Piping and Drumming Championship will be held on 18 November 2017 at Calderhead High School in Shotts. Entries are now open and close on 30 October, writes organiser Alison Gilmour.

This is the fourth year the band has organised the competition in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council; an event that has grown year on year becoming an established winter solo competition for youngsters. The band hopes to welcome a large number of competitors who have the opportunity to compete in a range of categories on chanter, pipes, stick and pad, snare and tenor. The competition attracts a high calibre judging panel and offers generous prizes for those who may have little or no competition experience through to more experienced players.

Please see the band website for more information and follow their Facebook page for regular competition updates:

The Shotts band are pictured top after their Worlds win in 2015.

Patrick Molard in Brittany: You will find enclosed the list of tunes which will be played at this year’s edition of Pibroch by the Sea in Cancale next Sunday 17th September. Thank you once again to the Piobaireachd Society for their financial help.

Thanks to Alan MacKenzie for pointing out that there were grades in the band competition at Pitlochry from Novice up. Check out the summaries here.

Paul White of the City of Edinburgh Pipe Band: Sunday 17 September I will be walking 26 miles around Edinburgh. I’ve done this a few times trying to get home after a good night in the pub, but this time I’ll be hoping to go the distance in the Edinburgh Kiltwalk 2017. My efforts are in support of LinkLiving, a terrific charity which makes a real difference to disadvantaged people in Edinburgh and beyond. I’m hoping to raise £500 and it would be great if you could help me get my fundraising efforts off to the best possible start.  To donate, all you need to do is follow this link:

Pitlochry Games Results

A sunny day in central Perthshire for one of the last Highland games of the year. Unfortunately the entry was, like many games this year, on the poor side, writes the Editor.

Fellow judge Archie Maclean and I have asked the games committee to consider the re-introduction of a piobaireachd event (they had one many years ago). Such a competition may improve the entry at this games and would certainly improve its status. Pitlochry was once a popular games for solo pipers and, being easily accessible from many part of Scotland, always draws a large crowd.

Best march of the day from Eddie Gaul

This was my first visit in just under 40 years, the last time the swan song of the Muirheads Pipe Band in 1978. In those days Pitlochry was a Grade 1 only competition and a fine end to the band season. The band contest today is for G2 and G3 bands.

In the solos Iain Speirs, fresh from his major win in the Clasp at Inverness, deputised on the bench for father Tom who is recovering from illness. Get well soon Tom. Sandy Cameron kept his good form going (he won the ‘B’ Hornpipe and Jig at Inverness) with a fine win in the Open MSR, closely followed by his Field Marshal Montgomery bandmate Graham Drummond. Eddie Gaul gave us probably the best march of the day but knocked himself down the list with a loose start to the strathspey.

In the Juniors there was a mixed bag of playing. I do wish tutors would confine their youngsters to tunes they can handle cleanly. There is no need for an 11-year-old to hack his way through Glenfinnan Highland Gathering when he could be playing Miss Delicia Chisholm cleanly and in rhythm. Absolved of all criticism was Hazel Whyte of the North Lanarkshire Schools Pipe Band who played a very clean MSR on a nicely set pipe to win the 14 & Under competition. Likewise Robbie MacIsaac with Glen Caladh Castle in the Perthshire March. Robbie is pictured top.

Open MSR (own choice)
1 Sandy Cameron, John MacColl’s March to Kilbowie Cottage, Piper’s Bonnet, Miss Proud
2 Graham Drummond, P/M Jim Christie of Wick, Kirsty MacCalman’s Favourite, Alick Cameron, Champion Piper
3 Edward Gaul, Knightswood Ceilidh, Cabar Feidh, Smith of Chilliechassie
4 Robbie MacIsaac, Glen Caladh Castle, Cameronian Rant, Charlie’s Welcome
5 Brian Lamond, Jeannie Carruthers, Lady Louden, Thomson’s Dirk
6 James MacPhee, Mrs John MacColl, Maggie Cameron, John Morrison, Assynt House
Judges: A Maclean, R Wallace

Graham Drummond, runner-up in the Open MSR

Open 6/8 (own choice)
1 Ciaren Ross
2 Edward Gaul
3 Robbie MacIsaac
4 Brian Lamond
5 Sandy Cameron
6 Graham Drummond
Judges: B Donaldson, I Speirs

Winner of the Jigs, Brian Lamond, Fife

Open Jig (own choice)
1 Brian Lamond
2 Graham Drummond
3 Sandy Cameron
4 Ciaren Ross
5 Edward Gaul
6 Robbie MacIsaac
Judges: B Donaldson, I Speirs

Junior 15 -17 MSR
1 Robbie MacIsaac
2 Lachlan Stephen
3 John Cumming
4 Max Crawford
Judges: B Donaldson, I Speirs

14 & Under MSR
1 Hazel Whyte
2 Kyle Cameron
3 Liam Brown
4 Cameron May
5 Cameron Stewart
6 Ewan Allen
Judges: A Maclean, R Wallace

Perthshire Junior March
1 Robbie MacIsaac
2 Cameron Stewart
3 Max Crawford
Judges: A Maclean, R Wallace

Perthshire Junior S&R
1 Robbie MacIsaac
2 Max Crawford
3 Cameron Stewart
Judges: B Donaldson, I Speirs