The Eagles worlds week meeting Tuesday 13th August 2019

IMG_0589As is tradition the Eagle Pipers’ Society will be adding an extra meeting to their annual program, throwing open its doors to the International community over for the Festival and Piping Live etc. Our regular guests, The Sons of Scotland pipe band, will be joining us for an evening of fun and frolics. Our president, Douglas Gardiner, will be on the post pie piobaireachd.

Band tunes will include

  • The Rowan Tree set
  • The Green Hills set
  • The Bloody Fields of Flanders/The Banks of Allan Water/My Land
  • The MSR
  • Caber Feidh/Andrew Warnock
  • The Conundrum

It all starts around 20.00hrs at the Scots Guards Association Club Haymarket Terrace Edinburgh.

Please come along and join us. Extra pies have been ordered.

Euan Anderson

Hon Pipe Major


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Match Report Tuesday 23rd July

IMG_1219One of the nice things about the Eagles is that you never know what is going to happen or who is going to pitch up for a tune, so we were very lucky to get a double whammy with Lachie Dick on piobaireachd duties and Mark MacKenzie (now a fully paid up member) turning up for a tune.IMG_1221

We were also lucky with the weather so we popped outside for a tune. With Kenny MacBride running the session the band ran through quite a few of the tunes in the book. Mark Mackenzie jumped onto the drones (not literally) and in front of an audience of about 50 we had a very enjoyable session.

IMG_1222After a well earned pint and a beer Mark took to the floor and started off with some brisk 6/8 marches that included Duncan McGillvray Chief Steward, written by Jim McGillivray, who will soon be visiting these shore to, amongst other things, judge the Silver Chanter (10th August). Jim wrote this tune for his father, who was long-time Chief Steward for the Pipers’ and Pipe Band Society of Ontario.

Mark continued with a traditional MSR before finishing with some hornpipes and jigs that included the great Dr Flora MacAuley of Carradale.


Mark MacKenzie

Dr Flora MacAulay was brought up and educated in Wales to a Welsh mother and Hebridean father whose family were from the Islands of Benbecula and Lewis. Named after her paternal grandmother, Flora MacEachen, she came from a family of doctors and was one of the first female orthopaedic surgeons ever to qualify in the 1940’s. After some time practicing in Truro, she spent most of her life practicing as a GP in Carradale, Kintyre and on locum in the Western Isles. Her hobbies included tennis and photography but her passion was the Great Highland Bagpipe.

IMG_1228She was a well known and loved figure around the Highland Games circuit and took many photographs of the great players of the day and the beautiful settings in which they competed. She attended the Northern Meetings and Argyllshire Gathering every year since the Second World War missing them only once in her later years when she was too ill to attend. She died in Campbeltown, Argyll in 1994 and was immortalised in the Jig written by Allan MacDonald.

Great stuff Mark and good luck in Skye.IMG_1229

Lachie was the final player of the evening and in a room where the temperature was up there got straight into things with a slow air and a couple of jigs. Drones tweaked and a first class MSR followed. Lachie then played The Princes Salute, that was very Iain Speirsesk, and that is quite the compliment. It is a big tune that takes bit of mastering and it was treat to hear it. Many thanks Lachie.

The tune probably dates back to the early 1700 and is attributed to John MacIntyre who composed it in 1715 to mark the landing of his Royal Highness James Prince of Wales in Britain.

Looking forward we have our next meeting on Tuesday 6th August followed by our traditional worlds week meeting on the 13th August. All guests welcome. Therefore the  scheduled meeting on the 20th is cancelled. We resume into our usual routine on Tuesday 3rd September.

Festival tip from el presidente Douglas Gardiner is Thunderstruck.Thunderstruck

The following is a synopsis and a quick review by Gary West

Written and performed by David Colvin. The tragic and comic tale of the greatest bagpiper who ever lived. Fresh from sell-out previews at Celtic Connections and Piping Live!, a one-man emotional rollercoaster exploring how the traditions of bagpipe music were rocked by Perthshire bin man Gordon Duncan, and how he changed the life of one young piper from Fife forever. Includes swearing and a four-piece rock band. Take whatever romantic notions you have of bagpipes and leave them at the door. ‘Had no idea what to expect from Thunderstruck… but it was immense’ (Gary West, BBC).

Piping Live, The Worlds, tunes and friendship come ahead, we are ready.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M 

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Worlds Week Meeting – 13th August/Fringe Recommendation

We will be hosting an extra meeting on Tuesday 13th August to welcome many of our overseas friends.  There will be no meeting on 20th August.

Following it’s success at this year’s Celtic Connections, “Thunderstruck” is running at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  It’s a play about the life of the late Gordon Duncan.  If you have a modicum of humour, an interest in piping and an understanding of Fife vernacular it is a must see.

Tickets here:



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Match Report Tuesday 9th July 2019

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

Unknown-2There is no doubt times are changing and certainly attitudes toward formality and tradition are becoming more relaxed, however, sometimes it is very satisfying to see things done just as they should be. 

The Army do that.

On Tuesday Pipe Major Ben Duncan brought along 4 pipers and 3 dancers and put on a performance that was straight from the top drawer. They arrived immaculately dressed and went about their business with military precision and professionalism. In the group were pipers,

Cpl. Euan Jardine 

Cpl. Adonis Maximus-Badass Gary MacKay Lewis Park

and dancers

L.Cpl Robbie Gray Mark Duff Conall Stewart 

‘The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) (SCOTS DG) is a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and the senior Scottish regiment. The regiment, through the Royal Scots Greys, is the oldest surviving Cavalry Regiment of the Line in the British Army. The regiment is currently based at Leuchars Station, as part of the Scottish 51st Infantry Brigade.

It was formed on 2 July 1971 at Holyrood, Edinburgh, by the amalgamation of the 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales’s Dragoon Guards) (themselves the product of the amalgamation in 1922 of 3rd Dragoon Guards (Prince of Wales’s) and 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers)), and The Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons).

The cap badge features an eagle, which represents the French Imperial Eagle that was captured by Sergeant Charles Ewart of the Royal Scots Greys from the French 45th Regiment of Foot at the Battle of Waterloo.’

IMG_1095In front of a full room the boys got under way with a lovely set of 3/4 marches before taking on a big MSR, The Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society/Hector MacLean/Willie Cummings Rant. 

They went onto a group of 6/8 marches that started with the little heard The Hills of Biggar, composed by John Howie that can be found in the Edcath collection, book 2. The musical arrangement with excellent harmonies was very pleasing to the ear.

A medley was up next that appropriately started with the The Battle of Waterloo. Not perhaps as you may play it yourself but an arrangement that had the old guard in the room raising an eyebrow. Have a listen on our You Tube channel.

A set of 4/4 marches followed and again time to show what can be done with clever harmonies and good tune selection.

Time for a break and some pies. Also time to open a few windows as the temperature in the room was tropical.

The second half started with another set of 3/4s to settle the pipes and then we were into some classy jig playing ending with a jig setting of The Ewe wi’ the Crooked Horn.

Highland Laddie indicated the start of the fling and on marched the dancers. Again you can have look at this on our You Tube channel.

Excellent stuff and a rare treat


Practice makes..?

A set of hornpipes followed that again reflected clever musical arrangement and they were not short on harmonies. The tunes were Carlos Barral of Oviedo by Fred Morrison, Scalasaig by Lorne MacDougall, Orlando Tango by Chris Armstrong and the popular Golden Brown by Kyle Warren. Great finger work and the boys were clearly very comfortable playing these tunes.

The quintet concluded with a set of three Regimental marches that were a fitting end to a wonderful display of band playing. Very musical and despite the warm room the pipes held remarkably well. First class stuff.

IMG_1102But the evening was not over. Down with one set of pipes, out with the solo set and time for the traditional end of evening piobaireachd. 

P/M Ben Duncan took the opportunity of having a run through his Captain John MacLellan memorial dinner tune, The Salute to the Great Pipe. He would get medal for stamina alone as, on the back of an evenings band playing, to finish with a big tune like this was no mean feat. Ben’s parents,Ruth and John and his wife Lee were in the audience and you could see the pride as he stepped his way through this great tune. What fantastic end to a wonderful night.IMG_1103

What a treat for those who were there. For those who were not, you missed a good one. 

A heartfelt thanks to Ben and his troops for providing the highlight of the year.

The John MacLellan memorial dinner is on Saturday 24th August at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Tickets are still available from Tina Anderson at

Captain JohnAM 2019-4See you next time on Tuesday 23rd July.

Euan Anderson

P/M Eagle Pipers’ Society

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Match Report Tuesday 11th June 2019

As usual the evening started with a solid session from members playing as a group. The Conundrum is coming along nicely. Reports from the committee meeting state that a drone tuner has been secured so in two weeks some time will be spent on sound.

D2EF6AA9-AB6F-459C-8520-8653C5A9281ECongratulations to Glenn Brown for his win in the Donald MacDonald quaich. By all accounts it was a first class contest and hats off to Society members Iain Speirs and Peter McCalister for being part of the elite group of players that took part in the event.

Our post pie piper was Brodie Watson Massey who we had not heard from in a while. Brodie has put his toe, very successfully, in the professional ranks recently taking part in CPA C grade competitions. Making the step from junior to the professional ranks is not easy as it is generally combined with tough educational demands, university/employment decisions and of course most of the young top players are member of top grade 1 pipe bands. A busy schedule indeed.


Under the watchful eye of a very proud gran

Brodie started off with some 6/8 marches that included the classic The MacNeils of Ugadale, composed by John Mackenzie.

He continued on an excellent pipe with a competition MSR that was first class. Some jigs followed, Kenny Gillies of Portnalong, The Biddy from Sligo and The Cameronian Rant. These showed what young hands can do and the audience were tapping along while admiring the finger dexterity.

IMG_0958A small selections of strathspeys and reels followed before Brodie gave us the classic Lord Lovat’s Lament.

He settled into this big tune quickly and it clear he knew what he wanted to do with the phrasing. This tune will stand him in good stead this year and a tune everyone should have in their repertoire for life.

A great wee session from Brodie and those who were there were lucky to hear him in such fine form. Many thanks Brodie for taking the time to pop in a give is a tune.IMG_0959

Lord Lovat’s Lament

On the death of his cousin in 1698 Simon Fraser assumed the title of Lord Lovat, though it was many years before, with the help of Duncan Forbes of Culloden, he was able to secure the legal settlement of the estate. Following the Battle of Culloden Lord Lovat took refuge in various hiding places on his own estates and eventually with MacDonald of Morar. By now lame he was captured on an island in Loch Morar in June 1746 and taken in stages to London. He was executed on Tower Hill on 9th April 1747.


Simon Fraser The 11th Lord Lovat

Lovat is said to have looked forward to his internment in the family vault at Kirkhill with all the pipers from John o’ Groats to Edinburgh playing at his funeral. But the government refused to release his body for burial in Scotland.

And with that we were done. The next meeting will be on Tuesday 25th June where we will be working on the sound and going through quite a bit of the repertoire from the Society book, including The Conundrum, Caber Feidh and Andrew Warnock etc.

Hope to see you then

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Match Report – 28th May 2019

A large turnout tonight despite the dreich gloom outside.  The group session climaxed with The Conundrum.  This was less of the pipers’ dilemma it proved last meeting and showed plenty of promise.

The Post Pie Piper and Overseas Guest for the night was Brad Davidson from Waterloo, Ontario, home of the Blackberry smartphone (remember them?).


He runs a wealth management practice and has recently made a return to piping after a 24 year break.

He received some instruction as a teenager at summer piping schools from Donald MacLeod, and later from Garth Neel, Colin MacLellan, Ed Neigh, Willie Connell (a pupil of Robert Reid for 14 years) and Bob Worrall.  He works with John Cairns, the double-gold medallist.  Brad won The Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada) in 1992 and has taken prizes in light music and piobaireachd in Ontario, around the U.S. and in Scotland many years ago and is hoping to return to his former form before too much longer.

Brad kicked off with a delightful selection of light music including the 6/8 March Glen Affric.  This is a Donald MacLeod composition which Brad learnt from a manuscript belonging to Garth Neel, a student of Donald’s in the 1970’s.  It remains, apparently, unpublished.

He also gave us the slow air, Koreen MacNeill; strathspeys, Isle of Hoy and Jane Campbell and reels, The Scottsville Reel, Razini Reel and a two-parted Nameless reel thought to be of Cape Breton origin.

Brad plays a set of Gibson drones modelled on a set of MacDougals (Captain John A MacLellan’s ?).  The mellow warmth of the drones was the perfect complement to Brad’s sweet chanter sound.

With the light stuff out the way Brad gave us a wonderfully musical rendition of MacGregor’s Gathering.   He was taught the tune by Willie Connell including birls in the ground rather than the double taps.  It’s a very melodic tune surprisingly rarely played despite being a Silver Medal set tune in 2012.



Brad was presented with a Society tie and tune book by President Douglas Gardiner (once the Secretary had taken his annual subs).

We wish Brad all the very best on his return to competitive piping.  On this showing, he will show many a young buck a thing or two.

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Visit of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – 9th July 2019


We are very pleased to announce that a quartet of pipers from The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards will be our special guests on Tuesday 9th July.

They will be led by the accomplished Pipe Major Ben Duncan.

Our historic association with the Scots DGs is of course very close and so this will be a very special evening.

Please make a diary note and cancel any holidays.


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