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?
Congratulations to Finlay Johnston who was crowned the 2018 Champion with a win the piobaireachd and a third in the MSR.
At 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.
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.
After 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. “
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”.
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.