Steven Leask – Guest Piper – 3rd October

We are very pleased to announce that Steven Leask will be our guest piper on Tuesday 3rd October.


Steven is a member of Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band and former member of Glasgow Police.  He has also won many notable solo prizes including the B MSR at this year’s Northern Meeting and Strachan Memorial and Overall A Grade at London in 2015.

It promises to be a superb evening.



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Match Report Tuesday 24th August 2017

IMG_6882With the main event being in Oban this week, The Argyllshire Gathering, it was decided to have an informal practice night and run through some tunes in the new book. It turned out to be a worthwhile exercise, in more ways than one. Settings were agreed, gracenotes altered and in some cases harmonies sorted. All alterations and harmonies will be included in the second run of books down the line.IMG_6881

After the pies and some good old war stories, the band took to the floor and blew the dust off the pipes. All in all a very different, but rewarding evening. It is hoped that there will be another couple of like sessions over IMG_3318the winter months and, if all goes according to plan, we may hire a mini bus and inflict ourselves on an as yet to be identified victim. Sister Societies beware!!

The John MacLellan dinner is this Saturday and there are still a few tickets available.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Match Report Tuesday 8th August 2017

Drummond_Cameron_SilverChanter2017_med‘Piping Live’ has left some, if not all, ‘barely alive’, such is the feverish rush to try and cram in as much as you can. There is so much high quality music on offer, it is impossible to get round it all. That, combined with the run into the ‘Worlds’ and a very active solo-piping scene, leaves one feeling as if they have spent the week inside a tumble dryer with a bottle of malt. Or two.20767734_10154613862030047_1751858117799842326_n

Before we report on Tuesday evening, mention must be made of significant success by some of our members. Cameron Drummond has had quite the week, claiming the Sliver Chanter in Dunvegan and then donning his band hat, lifting the grade 1 World pipe band title with Inveraray and District.



It has been toe to toe all season between them and Field Marshall Montgomery who were edged into second. Jenny Hazzard has had quite the inaugural season with FMM. Hats off J.   With the band season over our eyes are now on the Argyllshire Gathering, The Northern Meeting, not forgetting the Captain John MacLellan Memorial dinner on Saturday 26th August. There may be a few tickets left.



Last Tuesday saw the welcome return of some old friends, The Sons of Scotland Pipe Band and Elgin and District Pipe Band, from Canada, who are under the direction of Bethany Bisaillion and Wanda Goundrey respectively. Elgin were formed informally in the late 1960’s, but as the numbers grew they officially registered the Elgin & District Pipe band as a non-profit organisation in 1997.  The group is based in Huntingdon, Qc. and primarily performs in the Chateauguay Valley, Montreal area, Northern New York and Vermont.

Adding to the Canadian ensemble was Peter MacKenzie, from St Catharines, Ontario. Peter is the Pipe Major of the Niagara Regional Police and is in



Scotland with the City of Dunedin pipe band, who placed 4th at the worlds, Grade 2. Peter played with the famous Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band for many years.

IMG_6637To break the ice the P/M had a few tunes before the band knocked out some old favourites. The first solo spot and pre pie piper, Martin Wilson, who played a group of WW1 3/4s, composed by John ‘Jock’ McLellan, Dunoon. Martin’s mum, dad and sister Julie, were there to cheer him on. The girls were seconded into the kitchen to help with pie duties 🙂



The break saw a couple of presentations by Beth and Wanda. Quite a quantity of original maple syrup was handed over and Beth presented the P/M with a book, The Winnipeg Collection, pulled together by Nathan Mitchell. Tunes in the book are from composers far and wide and all proceeds from the book will go toward the Canadian Mental Health Association.

This book should be part of your collection.



The post pie piper was Donald MacLeod, who due to family commitments, has been absent from the fold for almost two years. Included in Donald’s selection were two lovely 3/4s, The Heroes of St Valery and Alexander McLeod, Ardindrean.

The first tune was composed by a member of the 51st Highland Division, P/M Donald MacLean of Lewis, commemorating the unsung rear guard action of the 51st HD, where they were ‘left behind’ at St Valery.  After a terrible loss of life most were taken prisoner and some unilaterally shot on the spot for attempting to take food from French civilians by the roadside on their way to POW camps. The second tune was written last year by Donald, to commemorate his fathers 80th birthday.  IMG_6664

Peter McAllister then took to the floor and played a few tunes that included a nameless reel that he invited the audience to name. One of the Canadian contingent came up with “Burn the Donald” … which Peter thought was quite sparky. You can work out who the Donald is for yourself.

20663708_10159127794885453_2293320596375353877_nPeter then ran a wee quiz that sounded quite simple but was actually deceptively difficult. Name 24, 2/4 marches from the last 2 bars only. Peter played them in blocks of 4. Great fun.

Peter then gave us some of Lady MacDonald’s Lament, by Angus MacArthur 1790 from the MacArthur-MacGregor manuscript. MacArthur, the family piper, composed the tune on the death of Elizabeth Diana, Lady of Alexander, first Lord MacDonald, who died 18th October 1789.  IMG_6835

The final player of the evening, fresh from his first tilt at ‘Pipe Idol’ in Glasgow, was Brodie Watson-Massey. He settled the pipe down with some 4/4s, before playing his pipe idol selection. Brodie then concluded a marvellous evening with a very musical rendition of, The Desperate Battle of the Birds.



His next solo venture is up at the MacGregor memorial competition at Oban later this month.

And that was the evenings evening. Remember the Captain John MacLellan Memorial dinner on Saturday 26th August.

Ticket enquiries to Colin at  

Many thanks to all who came along and safe travels.


AB,MB,EA,CRM-Glasgow Green 2017






Euan Anderson

Hon P/M














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Match Report Tuesday 25th July 2017

Unknown-2Tonights guest player was Ben Duncan of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and we caught him in a rich vein of form. However, before we get to the piping, there is a nice connection between Ben’s regiment and the Society, namely the Eagle.

For those of you that know your history you will be aware that on the 18th June 1815, the final battle of the Napoleonic Wars took place at Waterloo.Unknown-3

During the course of this action Sergeant Charles Ewart, on the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons (Scots Greys – so called as a result of their grey coloured horses) saw the Napoleonic Eagle of the 45th Line and its escort and, in his own words ‘had a hard contest for it’, which was settled when he cut down the officer who bore it.


Ensign Ewart

The Eagle can be seen in the museum of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards whilst the tomb of Ewart, which had been erected over his burial place, is on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.Unknown-1

The Eagle Bar (founded in 1690) was to become The Ensign Ewart and the Eagle Pipers’ were formed there around 1960.


imagesFresh from the his success at North Uist and having been named the Highlands and Islands Young Piper of the Year, we suspected that were in for a treat and Ben did not disappoint.

In Ben’s pre-pie spot he started with a great selection of marches, played in 4/4 time, that included The Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society, Battle of Waterloo, Garb of Auld Gaul and one of Bens’ own compositions Farewell to the 7th Armoured Brigade.IMG_5517

Two great 2/4 marches followed, The Duchess of Edinburgh and Bonnie Ann. It was then into Strathspeys and Reels which included, Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Tulloch Castle, Jacky Latin and Broadford Bay, before he concluded the first half with the Hornpipes  Pat Ewart, composed by Peter MacLeod Jnr. Jimmy Tweedies’ Sea Legs and the jig Biddy from Sligo.

The break was an ideal opportunity to have a chat with Ben, over a pie and pint, to find out what makes him tick.

Aged 28 and from Edinburgh, Ben is married to Lee and is kept on his toes with Duke his Springer Spaniel. He is currently posted to the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming at the rank of Sergeant. Ben joined the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in 2007 and has been on Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Craig Robertson: So Ben where did it all start for you?

BD: I was about 4 when I first picked up a chanter. I didn’t start to take things more seriously until I was about 9 though.

CR: What about tutors and bands?

BD: I was initially taught by Harry McNulty, who had been the Pipe Major with Lothian and Borders Police, before receiving instruction from Andrew Wright. I played with Lothian and Borders Police under Ian Duncan, as well as the National Youth pipe Band

CR: Do you have a favourite composer?

BD: There are so many great tunes and composers. It’s a pretty tough one to answer but if I were pushed I would have to say G.S McLennan.

CR: The route you have chosen to take with your piping, is what I would call a more traditional military route. That chosen by Willie Ross, John MacLellan, Alistair Gilles and Gordon Walker, whereby you have your army commitments as well as your solo piping commitments. How difficult is it in the modern era to balance the two?

BD: I always wanted to be a soldier, it’s why I joined the army after all but I love my piping. The army has been so supportive in so many ways. I sat my Pipe Majors’ Course in 2012-2013 and managed to achieve a double distinction and I am currently on a two year posting to the ASBM&HD. When that is over I will return to the Regiment, wherever they may be.

In terms of balance the army positively encouraged me to compete where possible and they are really supportive. It is great for me and it is great for them. It shows that the two can co-exist in the modern era and that it isn’t something from a bygone age.

CR: With that in mind it sounds to me that you want to remain in the army. How do you see your career developing?

BD: I suppose I always hoped that someday I would be the Pipe Major of the Regiment and if I could achieve that it would be fantastic. I also want to give something back and if I was able to become Director of the ASBM&HD then that would be a massive achievement for me.

CR: Do you have a favourite tune?

BD : Again another tough one. Probably MacDougall’s Gathering.

CR: What would you class as your best piping achievement to date?

BD: I think winning the Gold Medal for the march at Lochaber in 2016. That was really special.

CR: Do you have a ‘go to’ tune when you have had a few too many beers?

BD: Fred Morrisons’, Frances Morton Reel.

CR: What is you current set up?

BD: Sheepskin bag, cane base, Ezeedrone tenors, and a Sinclair chanter.

CR: What interests do you have outside piping?

BD: Apart from Lee and our Springer Spaniel Duke I get a kick out of restoring old Landrovers. I have a Defender 90 that I have put back on the road. I suppose I just love tinkering with things.

CR: Final question Ben. Beer or Nip?

BD: Both. Preferably at the same time.

IMG_5518With that it was back to the music. A series of 6/8’s followed by an MSR set and then into something that had a full house absolutely mesmerised. Ben introduced the slow air, Oh My Dearest Dear that he would follow with another of his own compositions, a hornpipe – John and Patricia Duncans’ 60th Wedding Anniversary.

I looked around the room as Ben started to play and the place was jumping. I heard Ben play this tune at the Wheel of Fortune (which he won) earlier this year and it is an absolute belter. Rapturous applause followed and beaming smiles all round were evident. What a phenomenal tune!!

The evening was almost done but in true Eagles’ fashion no evening is complete without a Piobaireachd and The Battle of Waterish, which Ben played at North Uist, was the tune of choice.


This was a fantastic night and I can honestly say it was great to have the opportunity to chat with a true gentleman and talented musician.

It was nice to see our old chum Tracey Williams pop in for a visit after an absence of nearly 4 years. Her fiancé James, has been thrown in at the deep end, but seems to be surviving. Don’t leave it as long before your next visit.

Next meeting is our ‘Worlds week’ night on Tuesday the 8th August, where we hope to host many of our International friends, not least our regular chums from the Sons of Scotland Pipe Band. Please spread the word and come along if you can.

Hope to see you there.


‘so that’s how it’s done’







Craig Robertson

Membership Secretary



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Match report Tuesday 11th July 2017

19665197_1904848193104318_3238615144021440723_nAs we fished the pipes out the box for a tune it was nice to hear about the travels of Craig Robertson and John Fraser, who had returned home after a visit to the grave of Brigadier General Duncan J. Glasfurd, who is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery on the Somme.

He was killed on 12th November 1916 and was a member of the Scottish Pipers Society, (Later to be known as the Royal Scottish Pipers Society) The boys were over for another visit to the First World War battlefields. John posted this on his FB page

” They remain there still in their hallowed ground, the ones that gave so much, but we return to our daily lives from their world so out of touch, but to be there in the places where they fought and died and bled.”

FullSizeRenderThe band rattled through quite a few tunes before the pies emerged from the kitchen.

The PPP was Colin MacLellan, who was just back from one of his many international jaunts. After a few warm up tunes Colin regaled the company with a theory/ story about moisture control, based on the ‘Joule-Kelvin’ effect.IMG_5400

The theory is about the change in temperature that accompanies expansion of a gas without production of work or transfer of heat. At ordinary temperatures and pressures, all real gases except hydrogen and helium cool upon such expansion; this phenomenon often is utilized in liquefying gases. The phenomenon was investigated in 1852 by the British physicists James Prescott Joule and William


Lord Kelvin

Thomson (Lord Kelvin). Ask Colin about it the next time you see him. It is riveting stuff.

Version 2

The new shooose

Colin concluded his spot with a very ‘sneaky’ MSR that kicked off with Jeannie Carruthers.

Next up for his inaugural performance was new member Tom Lewin, another ex police officer and former L and B band member. Tom is quite the character and is a very welcome addition to the company.


Tom Lewin

Next was Iain Dewar who, on a very nice Gillanders and McLeod pipe, gave us a few tunes before finishing with the ground of The Lament for the Old Sword.IMG_5407

The final player of the night was Harris Maclennan, who had brought along his own fan club, George and Matt Wilson. Harris is no stranger to the Eagles and it was nice to hear him once again. He is currently playing with FMM and is in fine form. He concluded his spot



with an unusual setting of Lucy Cassidy that had more than a FMM flavour to it.

And that was the evenings evening.

Word on the street is that Tracey Williams is back in Scotland after nearly an absence of 4 years. Get yer erse along to the next meeting in 2 weeks time T.

On that subject Ben Duncan is coming along on Tuesday 25th July for a tune so please make an effort to come along for a listen.

Tickets are still available for the Captain John MacLellan Memorial dinner on Saturday 26th August.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

PS The Scots Guards Association Club is currently offering reduced membership rates. The benefits are, apart from supporting the Club, that members pay slightly less for bar purchases. Application forms can be obtained from the bar staff.


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Match Report Tuesday 27th June 2017

Who ate all the pies? We will get to that later.

IMG_5294We were delighted to welcome Ally Henderson and three of his charges from George Heriot’s School into the fold for a tune. Two of the trio are regulars, Brodie Watson Massey and Chris Happs but Bruce Gardiner was a welcome addition.IMG_5282

It is always a real boost to see and hear young pipers at the Eagles, but with a few FP’s in the audience there is always a strong affinity with Heriots. After our band had played a few tunes the trio came marching in with the 6/8 march, Angus MacKinnon, composed by Donald Shaw Ramsay.

IMG_5283Angus MacKinnon was a native of South Uist. With 30 years service in the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band up until the mid-1950s, he was one of the longest serving members in the band. He served under at least three pipe-majors  – Hance Gates, Duncan Cameron and Donald Shaw Ramsay. Angus MacKinnon was first published in 1953 in the first Edcath Collection, which was compiled by Ramsay and published by Hugh MacPherson.Angus_MacKinnon_score

A great tune and it was the last tune played by the Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band when the Force ceased to exist due to the emergence of Police Scotland.

The boys then went into a set that began with the Robert Mathieson composition, The First 100, followed by Gordon Duncan’s, The Soup Dragon. The boys finished with a bit of their medley and by this time they were relaxed and the pipes were singing. What a start to the night.



First up was Chris Happs who kicked off his spot with the lovely 12/8 march, Ian McMaster, written by Lincoln Hilton. For those not familiar with Lincoln’s work he is worth a bit of research on You Tube. A fantastic musical talent. Below is the link to Lincoln playing his tune

Chris then gave us the ground of Cabar Feidh gu Brath before finishing with a flourish, playing some hornpipes and jigs.



While the pies were being served Bruce Gardiner took to the floor and eased himself in with Cullen Bay. He then went into the slow air, Leaving Ireland, before hammering out some excellent reels. This was Bruce’s first time at the Eagles and we hope that this is the first of many visits. Great stuff.

IMG_5295Time for a short break and a pie. This is apart from the Pipe Major, as the locusts had scoffed the lot while he tended to his guests. Names were taken and evidence obtained.

The final player of the evening was Brodie Watson-Massey who started with the 9/8 march, Major Alister Ritchie. A competition MSR followed and you could tell Brodie was in fine form and just warming up.


The Piemen

A Gaelic Air was followed by the waltz, Richard’s Gone Bananas, (that can be found in Terry Tully’s book) and then Jig of Slurs in waltz time that led into the jig itself.



Brodie finished off the evening with the ground of The Lament for Captain MacDougall.

What a great evening and we can’t thank the young guys enough for coming along and giving us such wonderful entertainment.

A reminder that the Captain John Maclellan Memorial dinner tickets are now on sale.





Euan Anderson

Hon P(ieless)/M



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Ben Duncan – Guest Piper – 25th July

We are very pleased to announce that Ben Duncan of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards will be our next guest piper on Tuesday 25th July.



Ben as Champion Piper at the 2015 Atholl Gathering (Courtesy of Derek Maxwell)


Ben is a frequent and well known prize winner on the solo circuit.  A top night of piping is assured.



Ben on his way to winning the 2017 Wheel of Fortune Contest


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