Meeting – Tuesday 7th August 2018

8B3FB80F-F7FC-42FF-AAAC-D0C16B855479We are delighted to announce that on Tuesday 7th August we have Calum Watson as our guest piper plus hopefully a quartet of pipers from Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band.

Calum is the Pipe Sergeant of Boghall and a prolific young prize winner on the solo circuit including the overall B grade prize at the Cowal Gathering (in both 2015 and 2016) and the CPA overall winner for Piobaireachd in 2016.

Please join us for a night of superb piping.



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Match Report Tuesday 15th May 2018

Untitled 1The band was in fine form as the heat was turned up in preparation for the  meeting with the Royal Scottish Pipers Society on Friday 25th May.  A good solid hour of playing built up quite the thirst. After the pies we were pleased to welcome Jimmy Carnegie to the fold for a tune. Jimmy is a long time friend of Douglas Gardiners and despite that he turned out to be a welcome addition to the company (just joking D).


Jimmy Carnegie

Jimmy started off with some light music that included some 2/4 marches followed by a few jigs before giving us an unusual setting of Too Long in this Condition. Jimmy stays in Cambridge and is a pupil of Barnaby Brown who gave him this version. Barnaby is a very interesting character and his web site is worth a visit

Jimmy’s setting generated quite an interesting discussion about playing different settings of tunes in competition.


Barnaby Brown

There is no doubt that with more modern tunes being set and played and players willing to experiment, that there is every possibility that a judge may not be entirely familiar with what the piper is trying to play, thus it is always a good idea to present the panel with a copy of what is going to be played, with some sort of authority to support it.  Certainly the judge’s bench will always be receptive to hearing something different from the norm.

IMG_8604Anyway it was great to meet and hear Jimmy. Good luck in the amateur clasp competitions this season.

On another matter Martin Wilson Senior, who is now a regular at the meetings, brought along a copy of a tune he has recently composed, the Holy Loch.

The Holy Loch is a sea loch, a part of the Cowal peninsula coast in Argyll and Bute. The name is believed to date from the 6th century, when Saint Munn landed there after leaving Ireland.IMG_8578

During World War II, the loch was used as a British Royal Navy submarine base. From 1961–1992, it was used as a United States Navy Polaris and Poseidon nuclear submarine base. In 1992, the Holy Loch base was deemed unnecessary following the demise of the Soviet Union and subsequently closed.


The Holy Loch

Please come along on Friday 25th May to support the Society at the meeting with the Royal Scottish Pipers’ rooms.

Hope to see you there.



Euan Anderson

Hon. Pipe Major

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Match Report Tuesday 3rd April 2018

IMG_8533Tonight was the start of our 2018 youth program and we were lucky enough to have Ciaren Ross along to start the ball rolling. Ciaren went to Queen Victoria School and his dad, Gordon Ross, was the first to steer him in the right direction. Tuition from Andrew Wright and latterly Willie McCallum has helped mould him into the fine young player he is today. It was nice to see Gordon come along to support his son and no doubt cast a critical ear over his recital!

Ciaren did exceptionally well in the C Grade last season and has now moved up to B grade. He recently won the jigs at the Duncan Johnstone Memorial competition. He is the current pipe sergeant of the National Youth pipe band and plays in Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipeband.

On a robust steady pipe he settled into the first half of the evening with some 6/8 IMG_8527marches starting with The Trees of North Uist. With the pipe humming along he was quickly into some big strathspeys and reels before playing one of his own compositions, a waltz, ‘Iain’s Jelly Bean’, that was written last year when sharing a flat with piping pal Iain Crawford. A slow air and some great jigs followed that started with the Peter MacLeod tune, Donald MacLean.gordon-webster-full-rig

And with that the first half was done and time for a pie.

During the break mention was made of the passing of Gordon Webster. Gordon was WO1 Pipe Major of both 1st and 2nd Battalions Scots Guards and had the honour of serving as 9th Sovereign’s Piper to Her Majesty The Queen.

Ciaren came back for the second half warming the pipe with some 3/4 retreat marches before playing two 2/4 marches, Hugh Alexander Low of Tiree and The Glengarry Gathering. Two top notch tunes. With a final tweak of the drones it was time for some Ceol Mor and the tune of the evening was to be The MacKay’s Banner.

A’ Bhratach Bhan ( The White Banner)IMG_8530

‘Little is known regarding the ancient banner of the MacKays. All that the clan History tells us on the subject is that Robert MacKay son of Neil of Achness (the chieftain who was killed in Thurso in 1649), was the custodian of the colours; that this Robert had a son Neil to whom the colours descended; that Neil in his turn, had a son Robert, who had the flag and that after him his son Hugh had the custody of it. An old man in Thurso, Hugh MacKay, commonly known as Hugh “Hamar,” had the banner in his keeping for many years. It came to him in this way: Hugh MacKay, son of the second Robert above mentioned, had no family. On his death the flag was handed to his brother Angus; and this Angus left it to his son, the Hugh “Hamar” just referred to. On the death of Hugh about 10 years ago, Alexander, county assessor, Thurso, got the flag and in his possession it still remains.

Ciaren made a great job of the tune despite the ever increasing temperature in the room. And with that we were done. A real treat and if this is an example of things to come Ciaren is sure to have another successful year on the boards. Many thanks to him for coming along a performing for us.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 17thApril. Bring your pipes.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Visit to The RSPS – Friday 25th May

The Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society has kindly invited us to join them on Friday 25th May.

The evening will include a combined band for everyone plus a few solos spots later in the bar. RSPS evenings are always exceptionally sociable, typically assisted by their well-stocked and keenly priced bar.

We will make our debut Society performance of The Eagle Pipers’ Society March.
It will be a great evening. Dress will be day kilts with EPS tie.
Please let me know if you wish to attend.


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Match Report Tuesday 6th March 2018

IMG_8429The P/M was on drone tuning duties, claiming that he had some form of life threatening illness, (yes man flu) with the only known antidote being lemsip!

Another good turn out and The Eagle Pipers’ march was given another practice chanter session. Hopefully a run through on the pipes next time.

The PPP was Graham Farr who, fresh from his run at the Archie Kenneth Quaich, was on piobaireachd duties. Graham started with the retreat march,  Stornoway Bay, composed by Donald MacLeod, followed by Alison Hargreaves’ Farewell to K2, by Don Bradford, and finishing with The Dream Valley of Glendaruel by P/M John McLellan.Unknown-1

‘In 1995 Alison Hargreaves became the first woman to make an unsupported ascent of Everest without oxygen and three months later took on the lower but more challenging climb of K2. She made it to the top but was swept off the mountain on the decent on the treacherous south face by violent winds. She was internationally renowned for her climbing and died aged 33. Her body was never recovered and remains somewhere on K2. She was from Fort William and was survived by her husband and two sons.’

IMG_8431With the pipe settled and well balanced Graham gave us The Lament for the Iolaire composed by Donald MacLeod.

‘The Iolaire was carrying sailors who had fought in the First World War back to the Scottish island of Lewis. She left the port of Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland late on the evening of 31 December 1918. At 2:30 a.m. on New Years Day as the ship approached the port of Stornoway a few yards offshore and a mile away from the safety of Stornoway Harbour, she hit the infamous rocks “The Beasts of Holm” and sank. The death toll was officially put at 205, of whom 181 men were islanders but as the ship was badly overcrowded and there was a lack of proper records, the toll could have been slightly higher. John F. Macleod from Ness, Isle of Lewis, saved 40 lives, swimming ashore with a heaving line, along which many of the survivors made their way to safety. Only 82 of the 283 (officially known) passengers survived the disaster.’JS42537058

Graham is feeling his way in piobaireachd and is taking part in this years amateur clasp competitions. He gave a sound musical interpretation of the tune and this should be a fruitful tune for him this season. Well done.


Graham Farr

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 20th March. It will be a normal meeting so please bring along your pipes for a tune.

The next round of the Scots Guards KO competition is on Sunday 25th March where Ben Duncan will be taking on Dan Nevans.

Another date for the diary is our meeting on Tuesday 3rd April when Ciaren Ross will be our guest player. Fresh from winning the Jig contest at last weekend’s Duncan Johnstone Competition, Ciaren is a rising young talent on the solo circuit as well as being a member of Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band.


Ciaren Ross






Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Ciaren Ross, Guest Piper – 3rd April –

We are pleased to announce that Ciaren Ross will be our guest piper on Tuesday 3rd April.


Fresh from winning the Jig contest at last weekend’s Duncan Johnstone Competition, Ciaren is a rising young talent on the solo circuit as well as being a member of Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band.

Please come along and enjoy some superb playing.





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Match Report Tuesday 20th February 2018

IMG_8387Some 15 pipers sat round the table with practice chanters in hand to have a run through the Societies tune, The Eagle Pipers’ Society, a 6/8 march composed by the late Ronnie Ackroyd of Edinburgh City Police pipe band fame.

‘Ackers’ was a stalwart of the band helping the new Pipe Major, Duncan Cameron, re establish the band in the post war years. He was an excellent piper and of course is also famous for his drum majoring skills.

The picture right is Ronnie at Edinburgh castle in the Army class of 1936 with instructor John MacDonald front and centre.jmcd-and-pupils-use

John MacDonald (centre) with his pupils They are left to right, Ronnie Ackroyd, RU Brown, JB Robertson, RB Nicol and John Johnston.

The next picture is Ronnie (far left) next to Chris Anderson. Taken in Moscow in 1966 the young man in the centre is Gavin Stoddart who was guesting with the band on that trip. It was Gavin’s birthday and EdinburghPolice_Stoddarthe was being presented with a gift.

The final picture is Ronnie, again far left, on the Eagle Pipers’ annual trip to Blair Atholl. Ronnie held the position of Fear an Tighe/Pipe Major of the Society for a few years before handing the reigns to George Stoddart.

I remember Ackers as a very stylish gentle man with a eagle-pipers-tripgreat sense of humour. In his latter years his eyesight was not the best and while dining in Inverness at the Northern meetings he asked his eating companions what was on the television only to be informed in was a chicken cooking in a spit roast oven.

Ronnie composed a few tunes with probably the most well known being The Festival march. It is right and proper that the Eagle Pipers, adopt and play his tune named after the Society.

IMG_8382After the chanter session the pipes came out for a pre pie warm up. A few band tunes followed the pies before the floor was handed over to Gordon Hislop who was taking the opportunity of having a run through his Archie Kenneth Quaich tune.

Gordon settled the pipe playing some unusual 4/4 marches, The Old Boy and Hector MacDonald. An MSR followed and with that the pipe was ready for the Coel Mor. The tune of the evening was the very tricky MacDougall’s Gathering. A very old tune that has stood the test of time. The pipe and hands have to be in top form to do this justice. Gordon’s high G turned out to be spot on and once he settled down into the tune he gave a well structured and musical performance that, should he repeat it, will stand him in good stead for the Archie Kenneth Quaich that will be held on Saturday 3rd March in the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society rooms in Edinburgh. There are no heats this year.IMG_8384

And with that we were done.

Practice the Societies march and the MSR in the book as they will be the focus in 2 weeks time.

Hope to see you there.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M




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