Match Report Tuesday 11th December 2018

Members competition.

UnknownTo close the year we had our traditional members competition, a slow air and jig, organised by President Douglas Gardiner. The judges were two ladies who have tolerated piping for some considerable time, Alexandra Michael and Tina Anderson.

To balance things out Douglas had devised a handicap system based on experience and expertise. The better players had marks deducted from their score but how many and who got what……..well only Douglas really knew what was going on!


Some 14 players entered and the P/M was on duty to steward and ensure that there was no bribery of the bench, as the word was out that Prosecco was the order of the day.

The batting order was,

Kenny McBride

Ian MacDonald

Lachie Dick

Allan Harper

Ninnian Christie

John Murphy

Mike Upton

Iain Dewar

Martin Wilson

Fergus Perks

Craig Robertson

George Campbell

Gordon Hislop

Andrew Yu

While there prizes for the top 3 there were also awards for the best break down,  the most amusing break down and best dressed.

Kenny started off the competition with Fear A Bhata and the jig Clean Sweeping. Watch at you tube

He set the benchmark very high but you could see the handicap scythe coming his way as the President got his calculator out. The first half was not without incident as Lachie Dick decided to play in denim tartan (no dress and deportment award there) and


Ninnian contemplating 2 break downs

Ninnian Christie broke down when tuning up. Hard to believe but true. He also broke down in his jig, The Fittie Boatman, so 2 break downs in one performance.

Michael Upton did the classic ‘ I have made it to the end “ only to break down in the last bar of his jig.


The pre pie piper Iain Dewar played, She Moved through the Fair, which is an old Irish folk song first recorded in words around 1909 by Padraic Colum. Many have since recorded versions of this tune, including Simple Minds, who used the melody for their 1989 hit, Belfast Child. Iain finished off with another Irish favourite, The Rakes of Kildare.  ‘Rakes’ are known to be young men disposed to immoral behaviour, to wine, women and song, often squandering their inheritance and running up debt. Sound familiar? Watch Iain at You Tube


Mikey not too upset as he got a bag of Jelly Babies

The pie break and more alcohol had a distinct effect on the 2nd half of the competition. Martin Wilson kicked things off with the well know slow air, Away in a Manger followed by the classic jig, Jingle Bells. Excellent stuff but how would this be viewed by the judges who were singing along with harmonies! Martin on You tube


Fergus Perks was up next and played The 51st Highland Division’s Farewell to Sicily and The Skyemans Jig. Lovely playing and the slow air (slow version of Farewell to the Creeks) hit the spot. See You Tube 

Craig Robertson announced his own tunes Mrs Anderson of Craigmount Hill and Mrs Nils Michaels, that he had written especially for the occasion. One sounded remarkably like Morag of Dunvegan and the other very similar to The Glasgow City Police Pipe Band!! Who knew? Not the judges.


Best Dressed

George Campbell and Gordon Hislop had pushed the boat out and were certainly both vying for best dressed. George played one of his own slow air compositions, that has still to be named, followed by the jig Donald MacLean. You tube video


Andrew Yu was last to play and he tuned his pipes in under 30 seconds. Perhaps that had something to do with the President holding up a clock as he started?

And that was that. Only the results to come.  A quick decision? Eh no, but somehow the handicaps were applied and the following prizes were awarded.

1st        Fergus Perks

2nd       Craig Robertson

3rd      Iain Dewar

Best Break Down                   Ninnian Christie

Most amusing breakdown   Mike Upton

Best Dressed                          Gordon Hislop


George,Gordon and Fergus

What a great night and what a fantastic year it has been for the Eagles. In the modern era Piping Societies do well to survive, such is the competing demands on everyones time, but there is something quite unique in coming together for an informal tune and a chin wag.


The next meeting will be on Tuesday 8th January and the AGM may be on Tuesday 22nd January but more information will follow in that regard.

Thank you for all your support throughout the year and Merry Christmas to you all.

L1010014Euan Anderson

Hon P/M






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Match Report Tuesday 27th November 2018

L1000920The penultimate night of the year saw another great turnout and starting sharp at 20.00hrs the band gave a good solid hour of tunes from the book. Cabar Feidh is coming along nicely and Andrew Warnock is next on the list to be learned.

The pie break was most welcome but the band took to the floor post pies to have a couple of run throughs of the MSR. The March and Strathspey were first class but the reel is in need of a bit more spit and polish.L1000921

Tonights solo spot saw the President, Douglas Gardiner, step through some excellent light music tunes that included a big MSR. He also played a couple of jigs starting with the great Kenny Gillies of Portnalong. A high bench mark for those thinking about playing in the next meetings members’ competition!

L1000922Douglas then gave the pipe a final tweak before giving the audience a very musical ‘The Desperate Battle of the Birds’. Douglas has had this in his repertoire for some time and has all the subtle little touches down to a fine art.

And with that we were done. You can hear Douglas’s tune at our You Tube Channel


IMG_9841Cameron MacDougal made it through the first round of the Scots Guards KO competition and round 2 is on Sunday 9th December. This will be followed by a Fred Morrison recital at the Club that is likely to be very popular so get your tickets if you don’t already have them.

Our final night of the year will be on Tuesday 11thDecember where Douglas Gardiner will run a members Slow Air and Jig competition. Two lady judges will preside on the bench and the contest will be run under a handicap system similar to golf, the better players playing off scratch and so on.  The President will explain all on the night. A dozen or so entries are expected so please get there sharp IMG_9838so we can organise the draw.

There will be prizes for, most enjoyable performance, the most entertaining break down, the best dressed and a mystery award.

Please come along and if you are a member and fancy a tune, it is entries on the night.


See you then.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Match Report Tuesday 13th November 2018

An old soldier reaches 80 not out.

IMG_9795Martin Wilson was born and raised in Dunoon. His uncle was James Wilson, who served as Pipe Major of the 8th Argylls after Willie Lawrie and before John McLellan, Dunoon, who is a great uncle.

In his youth Martin won the Burgh Cup at Cowal when it was a coveted prize for junior locals. Interestingly his son, Martin Wilson, also won the trophy some years later.

Martin was a joiner to trade but did his National Service from 1959 to 1961 with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, based at Stirling Castle and Germany, serving with Ronnie MacCallum, Iain McLellan, Hugh MacCallum and Jim Henderson.


1983 A visit to the Cognac Distillery

Martin joined the Edinburgh Police Pipe band in 1963, as a specific recruit of Iain McLeod’s. Police Constable 99C Division, based at the West End Police Station, Edinburgh. He became life long friends with the likes of Jock Perceval, George Lumsden, Chris Anderson, Harry McNulty, Ronnie Ackroyd, Laurie Gillespie to name but a few.

Martin travelled the world with the band, and won five World titles with them and recorded three or four albums.


Jimmy Johnstone,CC William Sutherland and Martine Wilson Jnr

Martin stayed with the band throughout most his service. He was latterly in the Crime Prevention Unit before retiring from the Force. He then joined Drambuie Kirkliston Pipe Band where his son, Martin Wilson Jnr. was the Pipe Major. I had the pleasure of playing beside Martin Snr in the circle.

Known as a die-hard Celtic supporter he actually has strong affiliations with Morton FC. Martin’s other son John, signed for Celtic but unfortunately picked up a bad injury. Following in his dads footsteps he joined the police, as has his son Paul, so the Wilson family Police tradition is alive and well.

The Wilson Clan are regular attenders at the Eagle Pipers’ and it is a treat to have them in the company


Martin and Julie

Martin’s daughter, Julie, who is an Associate Director of the Translational Research Initiative, in Pancreatic Cancer, at Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, came over to join in the birthday celebration and as you see from the photos carried in the cake.

Many happy returns Martin.

The cake ceremony is on You Tube

To start the evening off the band played The Bloody Fields of Flanders, the great John McLellan composition and When The Battle’s O’er, to mark the 100 years since the signing of Armistice bringing an end to WW1.

Go to you tube to listen

The band played through to the pies (and cake). A dangerous combination for the diet.

IMG_9803The post pie piper, playing his dads pipes, was young Martin, who settled the instrument with some lovely 3/4 marches before playing a big MSR that started off with the little heard The Renfrewshire Militia composed by P/M John MacKay.


Note: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Allied Regiments, and Militia-

The 3rd and 4th Battalions were formed in 1881 from the old Militia Battalions.

The 3rd Battalion had its origins in the Fifeshire Regiment of North British Militia raised in 1797, they were subsequently named the Stirling, Dumbarton, Clackmannan and Kinross Militia in 1803 and their title was finally changed to the Highland Borderers Light Infantry in 1855.

The 4th Battalion stems from the Royal Renfrew Militia who were embodied in 1793. A further change to the Renfrewshire Militia took place in 1803. In 1855 in recognition of their service they were granted permission to call themselves The Prince of Wales Royal Regiment of Renfrewshire Militia. Both battalions served in the Boer War and were Reserve Battalions during the 1st World War.’

To end the evening Gordon Hislop gave us the great wee tune The Lament for Donald of Laggan. A lovely tune that should be in everyones repertoire.IMG_9810

Note: Donald of Laggan was Domhnull MacAonghais mhic Alastair 8th Laird of Glengarry who lived in the latter part of the 16th and first half of the 17th century.

His turbulent father, Angus Og, bequeathed him a series of long-running feuds with the Grants and the MacKenzies. The Glengarry lands in the north marched with MacKenzie territory in Lochalsh and Loch Carron, producing almost constant friction.

And that was the evenings evening. A special night in many ways.


Cake and full fat coke. An excellent combination

The next meeting is on Tuesday 27th November at 20.00hrs.






Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Match Report Tuesday 30th October 2018

IMG_7839On the eve of Halloween some 16 pipers took to the floor for a tune and the pies and a pint were very welcome at the break.

Post pies the group did some work on the strathspey and reel before Lachie Dick gave us a few solo tunes. Lachie has just finished a night shift week and due to his medical duties we don’t get to hear much from him, so his visit was most welcome. Lachie played a few 2/4marches before ending off with 3 or 4 first class jigs that included the unusual Duncan Johnston composition, Ray Anderson.



To finish the night up popped another stranger in the form of Tam Peterkin. Having escaped parental duties for the evening Tam gave us a very musical light music selection.

And with that we were done.



In two weeks we will be having a go at the 4/4 marches Caber Feidh and Andrew Warnock so please have a look at them.

The big London competition awaits this weekend so good luck to all the competitors.



Euan Anderson

Hon P/M



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Match Report Tuesday 16th October 2018

Sandy Cameron


Sandy and Eireann

Apologies for the rather late match report but the Glenfiddich got in the road. On that matter a hearty congratulations to Peter McCalister who played superbly in both disciplines. What a great day and rumour has it the Eagles bus made it home safely? Iain Dewar was the driver and apparently quiz master on the way up. Perhaps more on the bus trip to follow or does ‘what goes on on tour stays on tour’ rule apply?IMG_9725

Congratulations to Finlay Johnston who was crowned the 2018 Champion with a win the piobaireachd and a third in the MSR.

45043781_2025811047479709_4479326855920353280_nAt the ripe old age of age of 21 Sandy Cameron is already making his mark on the piping scene having won the silver medal at Oban in 2015 and sneaking into the Gold medal list with a 3rd at the Northern Meetings this year. He is no slouch in the light music either winning the Mod MSR in 2017. He has been going to Iain MacFadyen for about 10 years and clearly Iain has out his stamp on him.

Sandy went to Dollar Academy where he played in the schools very successful band before gaining a place in grade 1 Field Marshall Montgomery.

Sandy is a 4th year Mechanical Engineering at Glasgow University doing his masters degree but does spend a fair bit of time in Edinburgh as his girlfriend, Eireann Iannette-Mackay, also an excellent piper, is based there.IMG_9710

In the first half Sandy gave us a wide variety of tunes from the small stuff right up to the big competition tunes. On an excellent pipe that was expertly tuned he provided top quality playing that was full of music. One tune that caught the ear was The Cameron Gathering, a 2/4 march composed by James Haugh. A tune most in the audience were unfamiliar with but well worth looking up.

IMG_9707After Sandy had munched his way through a pie (or two) he settled the pipe down and gave up a robust strong piobaireachd, The Red Speckled Bull. If you closed the eyes it was like listening to Iain MacFadyen himself. Top drawer.

Going back there are different names for this tune and a few alternative settings but the one that appeals the most is the legend that Ronald MacDonald of Morar killed a bull, the story is as follows;

Ronald MacDonald of Morar was on his way to visit Lochiel. The Camerons took a vi- cious bull from Loch Arkaig side and sent it on in front of Ronald to the River Sgaitheal. The bull appeared very fierce and Ronald said it was better to avoid him, but his gilly said, “I would not like them to say we ran away.” So Ronald and the bull attacked one another in the river. Ronald killed the bull and twisted off its two horns and gave them to the lad to carry. He composed a pibroch by the side of Loch Eil and played it for the first time when he was nearing Achnacara Castle. When he returned home, he went to visit McDonald of Keppoch (in Arisaig) and played him the tune. The laird of Keppoch asked if the tune could be a “Salute” to himself, and Ronald agreed. “IMG_9708

The ‘Bull’ title is on record in 1814, but when Donald MacDonald first wrote the mu- sic down, in 1826, he called it An t-Arm Breac Dearg (“The Red Tartaned Army”). This was the battle cry of the MacQuarries of Ulva—an island on the west coast of Mull—which explains the alternative title given by General Thomason, “The MacQuarries’ Gathering”.


This guy is good don’t you think?

What ever the tale Sandy made a first class job of the tune. What a pleasant and unassuming young man he is and there is no doubt we will be hearing quite a bit about him in the future.

Many thanks Sandy.

There is a standard meeting tonight 30th October. There will be 2 meetings in November with our final meeting of the year on the 11th December which will be our members contest evening.

London this weekend  for the Bratach Gorm etc so best of luck to all those heading South to compete.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M




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Members’ Handicap Contest – Tues 11th December


Random funny cartoon

I am pleased to announce that we will be holding a handicap solo contest on Tuesday 11th December.

Pipers are to play a Slow Air and Jig of their own choice.

The contest will be judged by Mrs Tina Anderson and Mrs Alex Michael.  A handicap system will be applied to ensure a level playing field between Gold Medallists and novice competitors.

There will be some outstanding prizes including for the following:

  • Best dressed piper
  • Most amusing performance
  • Most spectacular break down

The contest is open to all paid up members!  Entries on the night.

Douglas Gardiner


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Match Report Tuesday 2nd October 2018

IMG_9607A cracking night. Literally. Only pipers who have broken a chanter will know the feeling. It’s something you will only do once in your lifetime, such is the trauma of the event, and you will never ever forget the moment. Hearts went out to Craig Robertson when the loud crack was heard immediately followed by a yelp. Yes he had broken his chanter duck as can be seen from the photo.  Sympathy last for almost two minutes before someone said, “well at least it wasn’t a Sinclair”IMG_9608

Undaunted Craig joined the band for a few tunes using his second chanter. The evening was then turned over to Peter McCalister who is feverishly practicing for the Glenfiddich at the end of the month. After a few tunes to settle the pipes he was into his first double MSR set that included the little heard reel, The Butt of Lewis. (Donald MacLeod book 5). A quick tune IMG_9615and he was into double MSR number two that started with Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque, followed by The Knightswood Ceilidh. Great stuff on a very solid pipe.

Pies beckoned and we were able to welcome a surprise guest,  David Hester. David stays in Baltimore and is an alternative piobaireachd enthusiast. His site,

is well worth a visit. The Alt Pibroch Club began in May 2013 as a collaboration between David and Barnaby Brown. The Club aims to expand contemporary pibroch interpretation by making challenging historical material easier to find, understand and integrate into musical performance. It has grown into a suite of four websites with a collaborative commons philosophy.


David Hester

To give Peter a rest David was our post pie piper and played Sian Fuive. David kindly gave us the background to the tune.

‘Slan Fuive (PS 105 – Roddy Cannon’s catalogue number, which he developed to prevent confusion. Based on shared tune names) comes from the Campbell Volume 2 (21st tune, page 54-).

The phrase is Gaelic. Allan MacDonald suggests the title is possibly “slan dhuibh”, meaning “Cheers!” Or “Farewell”. but Ronald Smith believe it may be

“slan faobh “, which would suggest “Let’s drink to plunder!”, which is highly suggestive given the amount of plundering going on in the civil war period.

IMG_9617I chose to play it in the Joseph MacDonald style, where Tuludhs and Creanludhs have only one low-G, all other low notes being the low-A. This is interesting, because after Donald MacDonald’s publication of his book about 50 years later, the same number of low As remained, but the initial low-G to D gracenote (“half-grip”) became the full grip (G-D-G), resulting in what we call today the presence of a “redundant A”, which wasn’t so much as “redundant”, but original to those movements.

It was much later (early 1920s, under the influence of the light music in the Army School) that the original low-A was left out as “redundant”. So, I enjoy hearing its return, in what results in a much lighter (less percussive, more open and melodic) movement.

This is only the second time this tune was played in public in Scotland in over 200 years – the Piobaireachd Society didn’t publish it until Jack Taylor and Patrick Molard released their valuable “Pipers Meeting” last year, and it has never been played in any of the competition Set Lists we have going back to the first one in 1785.

PDFs of the original Canntaireachd from Colin Campbell, as well as the stave translation are available.

The tune was recorded so hopefully in the fullness of time we will be able to let you all hear it.

IMG_9609To conclude the night Peter was back up and gave us a splendid Lament for Ronald MacDonald of Morar. The pipe was immaculate and held throughout the tune allowing Peter to effortlessly step his way through this beautiful piece.

And with that we were done.

The Captain John MacLellan M.B.E Memorial competition is this Saturday at the Army School of Pipes and Drums.

We have guest piper Sandy Cameron at our next meeting on Tuesday 16thOctober so please come along and support this first class young piper.

A footnote offers congratulations on the birth of Niamh Drummond. Mum and baby are well and dad is looking like death warmed up 🙂 Welcome to our latest Eaglet.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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