Match Report Tuesday 1st April.

April Fool. Who got caught? The hens laying square eggs, that featured on breakfast TV raised a smile, but gave an early warning not to be duped later in the day.

The weather was dreadful and Manchester United were playing in Europe but that did not stop the worthies turning out and what a great night we had.

Andrew going through his paces

Andrew going through his paces

Once the P/M had broken the ice young Andrew Allison took to the floor under the watchful eye of mama Allison. Andrew has great hands and is very musical. The next big step for him is to move away from a big band instrument to something more refined for the solo world but boy can he play. Once settled he gave us the Donald McLeod composition P/M J. McWilliams, followed by Maggie Cameron and The Brown Haired Maiden. Later in the evening Iain Speirs also played P/M J McWilliams so here’s a bit about the tune and the man himself.

Donald MacLeod wrote the following inscription on the original copy of his composition: ‘Jim, this is the only way I can show my appreciation of your interest in youth and the Great Highland Bagpipe’.  Donald.

Jim McWilliams was born on May 31st, 1938 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in the heart of the prairies. He spent much of his early life in a homesteader’s lean-to perched above a bend of the Moose Jaw Creek.

In 1956, he enlisted in the Canadian Army as a Piper destined for the Black Watch of Canada. Things didn’t work out that way, he emerged from Camp Borden, Ontario, as a Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, and with a B.A. in English and History from the University of Saskatchewan.

Jim devoted much of his free time topiping and he compiled a “History of Piping” to be used at the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts in the Piping and Drumming School, which he founded.

Ironed ?

Ironed ?

Next for shaving was Tom Peterkin who it has to be said, despite the presence of a Mrs Peterkin, is maintaining his usual standards in the dress and deportment front! Once Tom had talked to his bass drone and the pipe was settled he gave is the lovely Pipe Major Sandy Spence-Atholl Highlanders followed by Achany Glen (A wooded glen in Sutherland, that occupies the valley of the River Shin between Loch Shin and the River Oykel). He then went into some 6/8s that included the little heard (General) Wades Welcome to Inverness that is to be found in the G.S. McLennan collection under the name Lillie Long-Wade’s Welcome to Inverness composed by P/M Robert Meldrum.

Craig SutherlandThe PPP was Craig Sutherland who was keen to get onto the floor and run through some of his repertoire before his knock out semi final at the SGC on Sunday 13th April. The Eagles is ideal for this as it gives the competition piper a chance to blood himself in a friendly but informed environment. It’s all about controlling the nerves to prevent the brown trousers being required or indeed the Jannies sawdust. Craig’s dad was there for support. Mind you I wonder if the parents are sometimes more nervous than their offspring? I know Ian Drummond is a wreck when Cameron plays.

Anyway Craig was in sparkling form as he trotted through some pretty heavy stuff on a first class pipe. Included were some 6/8 marches, The Braemar Gathering and the Trees of North Uist followed by two Gordon Duncan compositions, that I would describe as marching hornpipes. I think the first one was The Gladiator? He concluded his set with a cluster of wee strathspeys and reels and is clearly in fine form this early in the season.iain Speirs

Iain Speirs was on next and once he had wished everyone a Happy New Year got the pipe out. It’s been a busy start to 2014 for Iain and this was his first visit, very timely as he was heading to Stornoway for the Donald McLeod memorial at the weekend. He settled the pipe down very quickly with some 3/4s that included the Gavin Stoddard composition, The Road to Passchendaele. (The Battle of Passchendaele was a campaign of the first world fought by the British and their allies against the German Empire The battle took place on the Western Front, between July and November 1917, for control of the ridges south and east of the Belgian city of Ypres in West Flanders.

Iain then stepped through his light music competition tunes on a bagpipe that is fast becoming his signature.

Craig Martin

Craig Martin

To round off the evening we had Craig Martin on the Piobaireachd who was suitably attired in highland dress and ready for action. Craig started by heading up the stairs to tune for his slot and then came down and headed straight into an MSR. He then gave us a Hornpipe and Jig, The Train Journey North and John Patterson’s Mare. After a few minute he gave us a very nice Wee Spree and all was well until the last few bars when water kicked in. Again a valuable lesson learned at the Eagles about knowing your pipe and playing in different environments. Certainly it did not detract from Craig’s performance on the night but it would have cost him dear in a contest. Craig is going from strength to strength though and I would not be surprised to see him in the prizes this season.

And that was the evenings evening.

See you all in two weeks time, Tuesday 15th and don’t forget the Knock Out at the Scots Guards Club on Sunday 13th 16.00 KO.

Oh and congratulations to Raith Rovers. :)

Euan Anderson Hon P/M.

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Match report Tuesday 18th March 2014

After a great piping weekend that saw our own Donald McLeod lead the organisation of a hugely successful Duncan Johnstone memorial competition (the results can be found on Pipes and Drums) and Margaret Dunn making it through to the final of the KO competition at the Scots Guards Club last Sunday it was business as usual at the Eagles where the P/M led the way with a few opening tunes. With retrial from the police just days away he will have plenty of time to broaden the repertoire, get his handicap down and take in a few ‘Games’ over the summer.


Retiral. What next?

Willie-Ross-1909-391Next up was Robbie Ross who competed at the weekend in the C Grade. Robbie was in fine form and having settled the pipe with some competition light music that included Brigadier General Lorne Campbell V.C. of Akarit, The Crags of Stirling, Captain Duncan MacGregor, The Man from Glengarry and Thomson’s Dirk, he rather unexpectedly sailed off into The Gathering of the McNab’s. A very welcome and solid rendition. Robbie has recently become a parent and is the proud father of Willie Ross-no pressure there then !

Next for shaving was Jim Cooper, who settle the pipe with some 6/8s before starting a 3-4 set with the little heard ‘Scotland For Me’. Perhaps a referendum favourite?P1030274

Craig Martin was the post pie piper and he started off with The Garb of Old Gaul. This tune is said to date from 1759 when the 42nd Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch) returned from service in North America, where they lost over 300 officers. Recruiting parties were sent into the north to swell the ranks, the incentive to wear the Highland dress. According to General Stewart of Garth, a Gaelic song ‘In the Garb of Old Gaul’ (in the highland dress) was composed by a soldier of the 42nd to mark the success of the recruiting campaign.

Major John Reid, an accomplished musician, arranged the song as a march for the military band of the regiment.”

Craig also played some competition stuff starting off with The Knightswood Ceilidh and Major David Manson at Clachantrushal.

IMG_0742Next up was Cameron Drummond who due to work commitments was making his first appearance at the Eagles this year. He quickly settled his pipe and played a slow air, Lullaby for Mel, that had an unusual structure that I suspect a band could do a lot with. He then hammered out 4 of the best jigs I have ever heard. Angus John McNeil of Barra, Drew James MacIntosh, Angus Sutherland and The Blue Lagoon. Hardly pausing for breath he launched himself into The Braes of Castle Grant, the very tricky Glengarry Gathering, Mrs Duncan MacFadyen and the Lochaber Gathering. Four competition strathspeys followed and just when we though we were in for a 4x4x4 he played a cocktail of small reels to finish. It was simply marvellous.

It’s a fickle old game, the piping, but surely with a bit of application to the set tunes Cameron will be one of the major threats this year in the medals and the big MSR contests. On that note he is presenting his selected tunes at the Piobaireachd Society Conference this weekend in Burnam. Roddy McLeod and Michael Elder are doing the same. Quite an usual idea to have the current competitors giving their thoughts and playing bits and bobs from the tunes. It should be very interesting.

Nils was the brave man that had to follow Cameron but its clear that we are heading into the competitive season as he too was quickly into the big stuff giving us Mrs john McColl, The Conundrum, Blair Drummond, Lady Louden, McAlister’s Dirk and Duntroon.IMG_0744

IMG_0751Last, but by no means least, was Douglas Gardiner or Mad Posh Dougie, as Tracey Williams recently christened him. TW was supping a dram (or two) and having a touch of ‘home sickness’ when she declared she was missing everyone and reminiscing about good times especially with ‘that Mad Posh Dougie’ So with great affection Douglas Gardiner MPD took to the floor and gave us a superb Viscount of Dundee on an immaculate bagpipe. A wonderful tune, full of music and a great way to close a great night.

See you in two weeks time.

Euan Anderson


The Piobaireachd Society annual conference and AGM will be held on the weekend of 22/23 March in the Birnam Hotel. 

Hopefully competing pipers will want to attend the Saturday sessions especially. All welcome.  No need to be a member of the Piobaireachd Society.  Booking for the conference is via the College of Piping.  Day attendees are welcome and can turn up on the day without prior booking.

Saturday 22nd March

Some aspects of the teaching of Bob Nicol and Bob Brown: an oral history   James Beaton

Preparing for Competition   Murray Henderson

Set Tunes Demonstration    Roddy MacLeod, Cameron Drummond, Michael Elder

Opinions on the development of Piobaireachd   Allan Hamilton from Piper’s Persuasion Interviews

Sunday 23rd March

Settings.  How do we explain the differences?     Barnaby Brown


The conference will be preceded by the College of Piping Lecture at 7.30pm in the same venue on Friday evening 21st March.  Jonathan Gillespie will talk on James Campbell.  

Pipers Euan MacCrimmon (Lament for the Earl of Antrim, Lament for Mary MacLeod) and Jack Taylor (Salute to James Campbell, Lachlan MacNeill Kintarbert’s Fancy)  

Tickets on the night or from the College of Piping.

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Slow Air and Jig Competition 4th March 2014

Not even a table festooned with wonderful prizes could attract a major turnout but as they say, size is not everything, and what a wee cracker of a competition wee had.

As the Hon President took entries, made the draw and added the final touches to the evening Lachie Dick played a few introductory tunes to warm up the audience. Lachie’s mum was making her first appearance at the Eagles and without putting any undue pressure on her son she immediately declared a fondness for Hendricks gin-one of the prizes.

Lachie Dick

Lachie Dick

Joshua Townsley, who has grown about 6 inches since his last visit to the Eagles, also gave us a few tunes including a nicely phrased ground and doubling of MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart.

As the first competitor got himself ready Colin announced the only rule of the competition. ‘Tune for longer than you play and lose 10 points.’

The judge for the evening, the Hon P/M, ensconced himself in a comfy seat ensuring that he was well catered for in the Guinness department.

The T shirt

The T shirt

First up was Lachie Dick who played Lament for Red Iain (Tuireadh Iain Ruadh) and Donald McKillop- This great Jig was composed by Pipe Major Alexander “Sandy” Hain. McKillop was a piper in the Perth British Legion Pipe band who apparently was a jocular fellow and well liked. Hain composed the tune in his honour.

So we were off to a great start as Lachie’s Air was full of music and the Jig had a cracking tempo. All played on a very nice pipe. He did not score all that well on the dress and deportment front, wearing loud brown brogues that could have been used in one of the Winter Olympic events-none the less he did his mum proud.

Iain Dewar

Iain Dewar

Next for shaving was Iain Dewar who is trying to rival the Hon P/M on the dapper stakes! As coincidence would have it he also played Lament for Red Iain but gave us an entirely different interpretation. He followed this with a sprightly Troy’s Wedding. Great drones.

Joshua Townsley was next up and although not dressed in Highland attire he did try and distract the judge with a somewhat provocative T –shirt. JT played a ‘nameless’ Gaelic Air-OK he couldn’t remember the name but then again once he had played we all struggled to find the title. This was followed by an excellent Thief of Lochaber (Meurlach Loch Abair). You can find this tune in Donald McLeod’s book 3 and the great man himself wrote the 3rd and 4th parts to this traditional tune. JT prides himself in playing a well-tuned and balanced pipe and tonight was no exception.

Jim Cooper

Jim Cooper

The pre pie competitor was Jim Cooper, a stalwart of the Glencorse Pipe Band,  gave us the air, Walking on Air and two-2 parted jigs, Wee Buns, composed by Richard Parkes and The Pony Gallop (M Forsyth). Jim is a regular at the Eagles but does not often give us a tune so it was a real treat to hear him play.

The pies were well received and gave everyone time to talk about the ‘walk of shame’ awards. There was heated debate about the two main contenders, Hightower (Andrew Gray) for being at the Eagles without pipe and thus not talking part and our Head of Communications, Douglas Gardiner, who apparently was at home entertaining his wife’s (Lucy Vanreenan) relatives. The ‘bowed and cowed’ award went to Douglas while Andrew picked up the ‘glass half empty’ trophy.



Jenny Hazzard was our post pie competitor and looking like a new pin, resplendent in a newish kilt-the tartan escapes me- she would have been the front-runner for the D and D prize if there had been one. Her pipe and playing was a match and she trotted out an immaculate Samantha’s Lullaby, composed by Arthur Gillies followed by Angus John MacNeil of Barra, a 9/8 slip jig composed by A J MacNeil. Hopefully this was a case of a father composing a tune for his son and not the man himself writing a tune for himself. If you know let me know.

Craig Martin

Craig Martin

Up next was Craig Martin who decided to be brave and bold giving us the Air, Long Shall I Return and 8 parts of the Cameronian Rant. While his drones were somewhat bold (a discussion post event) he played a lovely Air and a cracked out the ‘Rant’ managing to hit all 4 consecutive birls in the last part.

The final competitor was the recently married Tom Peterkin. This was actually Tom’s second competition since getting married 4 weeks ago. A clear marker of intent to the new Mrs. Peterkin. Well-done Tom. Tell Douglas how it’s done. Due to Tom’s lovely jovial demeanor you can easily forget that he is a journalist, indeed a Political Editor, and as such conversant with scurrilous tactics and strategies that may achieved the desired result.

Tom P

Tom P

On his usual quiet sweet pipe Tom played Morag of Dunvegan followed by the Iain C Cameron tune Islay Charms.

And that was that. The audience was well sated and the top awards went to

Jenny Hazzard

Lachies mum

mum has secured the gin

Lachie Dick     (mum got her Gin)

Craig Martin

P1030286Thanks to Colin for organising and of course to those who played. An annual event for sure.

Dates for the diary-

Saturday 15th March-Duncan Johnstone Memorial Piping Competition – separate B & C grade streams – Piobaireachd and Light Music.

Sunday 16th March-1st Semi final of the knock out competition-Scot’s Guards Club 16.00hrs  Margaret Dunn v George Seewart

See you all in two weeks time.


Hon P/M


March 7, 2014 · 12:03 am

Scottish Pipers Society Announcement

Tom Johnstone has asked for this information to circulated to the piping world in particular bringing attention to the ‘Great War” event on Saturday 29th March.
Congratulations on your appointment Tom and best wishes to you and the Society in the future.

Dear Members and Friends,

As the new President of the Association I would like to welcome all members and friends to, firstly, our regular club nights, and also to the events listed below :

The next club night is Friday 7th March at 7.30pm at the College of Piping Otago St. I’m sure you all know the format and although there is no bar as such, please feel free to BYOB.


The next event is the ANNUAL AMATEUR and VETERANS CONTEST on Saturday 29th March at 10.00am in the College of Piping Otago St.

Anyone wishing to enter can download an entry-form from the website


Following on in the evening is a concert entitled


It will be introduced by author and military historian Colin Campbell

The players are STUART LIDDELL and ALASDAIR HENDERSON and a Quartet from the Army School of Piping.

Admission is FREE and refreshments are available


The ANNUAL PROFESSIONAL CONTEST will be held on Saturday 12th April at 9.45am again the venue is the College of Piping Otago St Glasgow

Entry-form downloadable as above


I hope you will support your Association and look forward to seeing you at both the Club Nights and the events

Yours Aye,

Tom Johnstone     President

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Special Event: A member’s Slow Air and Jig competition. March 4th 2014

ImageScots Guards Club-Haymarket Terrace,Edinburgh  19.30hrs for 20.00 start

Organised by Hon President Colin MacLellan

Judged by Hon P/M Euan Anderson

This is sure to be an excellent night, so we encourage anyone who is interested in a tune, a listen, or just a drink and a chat, to come along and enjoy. 

The competition itself is open to all members with entries on the night and is an own-choice submission of one two-parted slow air and one jig. The Hon Pres. is insisting that Highland dress be worn and assures that excellent prizes are to be had.

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Match Report 18 Feb 2014

IMG_008What more enjoyable diversion on a cold February night that a few tunes and pints among friends?

Our last gathering began with a few tunes, as traditional, by the Hon PM Euan Anderson, who was in fine form. His brother Hamish was in attendance for the first time – hopefully not the last as we look forward to hearing some (more) embarrassing stories of years past. Euan Anderson

The Hon President Colin MacLellan was up next, playing rather annoyingly well for someone who hasn’t competed in a number of years. He gave us a couple of tunes by his late father – the slow air Christina’s Lullaby and march Major General Frank Richardson. He carried on with 6/8 marches Dr Ross and Tug Argan Gap, then into the 2/4s Inverlochy Castle, the Lochaber Gathering, and Mrs H.L. MacDonald of Dunach. These were followed by strathspeys and reels, including Cabar Feidh, Maggie Cameron, the Piper’s Bonnet, Neil Angus MacDonald, Bessie McIntyre, and Sandy Cameron.  Excellent stuff. P1010248

Robert Gibb

Robert Gibb

Lachie Dick then got out his old faithful bagpipe, after having been trying out another instrument in recent months.  All agreed the current pipe was sounding most excellent and there was certainly no evident reason to abandon it. Lachie also started with a slow air (practising for the next meeting’s competition?), then moved onto some classic 4/4 marches, and the 2/4 marches David Ross of Rose Hall and Major Manson’s Farewell to Clachantrushal.  He finished with strathspeys and reels, namely Susan MacLeod, Struan Robertson, Major David Manson, and the Creagorry Blend.  The latter is, in Lachie’s words, “a Uist tune, by somebody somebody of somewhere”.

We were delighted to next welcome Robert Gibb for his inaugural Eagles performance. Robert was also on great form (no one sounding  a bit like they really should in February), playing first some little marches including the Scots Guards regimental march, the Garb of Old Gaul. He played the excellent 2/4 marches Conon Bridge and leaving Lunga, then strathspeys and reels, all the names of which I don’t know, but they included Tulloch Castle and the Man from Glengarry and were very well played.

Eddie Gaul was up next (there’s a joke in there about his garb, but he’s not that old), starting with some classic 3/4 marches including the Rowan Tree, the Green Hills, and some quite unexpected slide notes.  Next was a slow air complete with trilly notes on D, then into the rather more traditionally presented – and very enjoyable – Hugh Kennedy, the Braes of Castle Grant, Dora MacLeod, the Caledonian Society of London, the Smith of Chilliechassie, and Lieutenant Colonel DJS Murray.  We hope to see Eddie become an Eagles regular.

Eddie GaulThe piobaireachd for the evening was the responsibility of Silver Medallist Peter McCallister. Although the Hon. PM had joked at the start that this would likely mean we’d be hearing an obscure, unknown setting of an ancient tune recovered from a peat bog in Knoydart, as it turned out Peter presented a much more modern piobaireachd:  Donald MacLeod’s A Son’s Salute to His Parents.  Always well prepared and most considerate of the audience, Peter circulated copies of the tune, plus some other books of modern piobaireachd for us to have a look through (Donald MacLeod, Archie Kenneth, and the Glenfiddich Collection). Peter got the pipes settled with a few very nice 3/4 marches, some strathspeys and reels, and a slow air and jig (another one practising for next time perhaps), culminating in the famous Hammer on the Anvil with his self-composed 5th and 6th parts. He then treated us to the aforementioned piobaireachd, which was expertly played on a lovely bagpipe.

Peter McAlister

Peter McAlister

Charlie MacLean rounded off the night – returning for more after the Army School’s visit for the previous meeting. Charlie played a series of classic ¾ and 6/8 marches, readying himself for his upcoming Pipe Major’s Course examination.  We certainly wish him well.

That was the evening.  Next time it will be March, and a special event:  a member’s Slow Air and Jig competition.  This is sure to be an excellent night, so we encourage anyone who is interested in a tune, a listen, or just a drink and a chat, to come along and enjoy.  The competition itself is open to all members with entries on the night and is an own-choice submission of one two-parted slow air and one jig.

Jenny H.

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Iain Speirs Recital – Sunday 23rd February 2014

A quick note to advise that our Hon Secretary, Iain Speirs, is playing a recital at The Scots Guards Association Club, Edinburgh, this Sunday.

Iain is currently one of the world’s most successful solo competitors having completed the Glenfiddich-double last autumn.  This is a very rare opportunity to hear him in recital.

Start time 4.00pm.

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