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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Match Report Tuesday 18th September 2018

IMG_9574As ‘storm Ali’ began to take hold of the country a large turn out was not anticipated but 14 or so pipers took to the floor to entertain a healthy audience.

The P/M got things underway just after 8 and the band played right up until the pies at 9. The post pie piping focused on the MSR and the hard work is paying off. As the winter draws ever closer the band will increase its repertoire and have fresh tunes ready for next year.IMG_9577

There is plenty going on in the piping calendar with the rearranged Uist and Barra competition on Saturday 29th of this month, Dr Peter McCalister playing at the Eagles on Tuesday 2ndOctober, the Captain John MacLellan competition at the Army School of Pipes and Drums on Saturday 6th October, Sandy Cameron giving a recital IMG_9578at the Eagles on 16th October and the dates for the Scots Guards KO competition have been released. Then of course we have the Glenfiddich at the end of October and London in November.

On the subject of the Glenfiddich the Eagles are running a minibus to the event for members. Details can be obtained from our secretary Craig Robertson atIMG_9584

See you at the next meeting

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M



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Match Report August 2018

I know, I know, I know, it’s a bit late but, what a month!

We have had Eagles flying all over the place, from judges, Gold Medallists, winners at the Worlds, people participating at the Tattoo and those that have been competing at the various games up and down the country and those competing in bands.

There has actually been so much happening that it has been hard to keep track.

Whilst that’s all been going on, there are those who have been steadfastly attending the meetings and despite a slightly depleted number it has been great to see you all.


We were extremely privileged to have Callum Watson visit us in early August along with a quartet from Boghall and Bathgate. Callum and the guys treated the assembled to the set they went on to play at Piping Live the following week before the smell of the pies brought their performance to an end.


The post pie piper was indeed Callum and he effortlessly took us through a series of 6/8’s before launching in to the Caledonian Society of London and McAllister’s Dirk. The 4/4’s Garden of Skye and The Intercontinental Gathering were next up and with his pipes sounding absolutely solid Miss Elspeth Campbell, Caber Feidh and Loch Carron were a delight to the ear.

Callum finished the night with Kenneth J MacLeod, the Gordon Duncan tune, Eileen Mary Connolly and the 2/4 Tom Wilson.


With that it was a week, instead of the normal two, when we had that sense of déjà vu – or was it? The Sons of Scotland made their annual pilgrimage across the pond and, as has become a bit of a tradition, popped their head in the door to listen to few tunes, neck a few drams and generally chew the flat.

With a packed house and a slightly depleted number of Eagles in attendance the evening got off to a rousing start with the P/M – not so fresh after his trip to Lorient – at the helm. Things must have gone well as we recruited a further overseas member – Madeleine King – who signed on the dotted line.


The treat of the evening – apart from Bethany spilling sauce down her blouse- must have been an on form Cameron Drummond. Weary from preparing for the arrival of a new born Cammy got the pipes nailed and treated us to what can only be described as a lesson in Piobaireachd and light music playing.


Mackenzie of Appelcross’s Salute was the tune of choice and – well – it’s not often you find yourself in a club in Edinburgh and being privileged to hear such a tremendous performance.

The thing I love about the Eagles is the depth of talent and when Jenny Hazzard picks up her pipes and plays a Field Marshall medley that steered them toward winning at the worlds – then what better reason do you need to be member – and by the way – I’m with you Jenny, the High Drive has got to be one of my favourite tunes.

Next up was the Captain John MacLellan Dinner where the Eagles manged to fill two tables as well as having members, Iain Speirs and Cameron Drummond performing. It was yet again a fantastic evening, with great food, company and craic and the piping was pretty special also. Glenn Brown was the winner on the day with The Queens Ferry and for those interested we will be looking to put together a couple of tables again next year.

We are on the tele!!! Well maybe. Long standing member Nils Michael – who is originally from Germany has had a German Film crew making a documentary about piping and in particular Nils and his exploits.

Nils has been piping for a couple of seasons with Triumph Street and, as well that, he has been a great supporter of the Eagles.

A special effort was made and kilts, ties and pipes were in abundance and the President was on hand to get us through a few tunes before Nils took to the floor. With makeup applied (only joking) the affable German charmed the interviewer before playing Caber Feidh, Inspector Clueless of Gayfield (shame the P/M was away, I believe it is rapidly becoming one of his favourites) and The Triumph.
A couple of 2/4’s under his belt Nils went on to play, Lady Louden, Tulloch Castle, The Cockerel in the Creel and Duntroon.

I think the folks back in Germany and indeed here will find it a good programme to watch. Hopefully we will get a heads up when it is on.

The night finished with a selection of Hornpipes and Jigs and with that we were done.

So that’s us up to date and not a moment too soon as the next meeting is tomorrow 18th September 2018.

We are trying to gauge is there is any interest from members wishing to travel up to the Glenfiddich on 27th October – if you haven’t expressed and interest and are keen to go then let me know at .

If we have sufficient number will arrange transport and let you know the cost implications.

63159B45-4F53-4FCE-AC65-E04406BCFD0D.jpegIn closing I would just like to say well done to everyone who picked up prizes over the season – there really are too many of you to mention – however, and in particular well done Jenny who played with FMM at the Worlds and Peter McCalister who picked up the Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting.

Yours in piping

Craig Robertson

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