Match Report 11th November 2014

IMG_1193As is tradition the Society paid tribute to those who served, protected and gave their lives in past wars.

Greig Canning got the evening under way and he was in excellent form. Greig, due to band commitments with Inveraray, does not make it along to the Society as much as he would like, however he is playing this Sunday in the Scots Guards KO competition and took the opportunity to run through some of his repertoire. Greig is up against Steven Grey, a fellow band member, so perhaps there will be a small side bet? The first round of this excellent event kicks of at 16.00hrs Sunday, 16th November at the Scots Guards Association Club in Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh.

Greig Canning

The next performers were a quartet from Fettes College led by P/M Seamus O’Bagighill. (also an excellent fiddle player) Cameron Drummond has recently taken over there as principal instructor and the boys are heading up to Aberdeen to take part in the annual CCF competition this Friday. The group also included Matthew Sung, Torquil Roy-Lewis and David Maitland-Biddulph. The boys warmed up with some 3/4s before playing a very musical medley. It is very pleasing to see the high standard of school piping with many now competing at the major pipe band events. This was a very welcome addition to our evening and something we hope to repeat in the near future.

The post pie piper was Peter McCalister. Peter put together a small program of music relating to past events and provided an informative hand out that is included below. During his performance he played Flowers of the Forrest and the members present observed a minutes silence. Peter conclude this marvellous salute to the past with the Urlar of Lament for Red Hector to the Battles. Peter’s pipe was, as usual, first class and he has had a very successful competitive season. Congratulations Peter and many thanks for the excellent tribute.

P1020680Tunes and their history-

The Bloody Fields of Flanders (P/M J MacLennan, DCM)

The total number of military and civilian casualties in WWI was over 37 million. There were over 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history. About two-thirds of military deaths in WWI were in battle, unlike the conflicts that took place in the 19th century when the majority of deaths were due to disease.

“Flanders”, like “The Western Front” or even simply “France,” were terms sometimes used to describe the entire conflict that the troops in the trenches had to endure. The official Battle of Flanders is a prolonged one in 5 separate parts, incorporating many other names, now infamous:

  • 1st Battle of Flanders (October – November 1914) = The 1st Battle of Ypres – a battle fought during the Race to the Sea
  • 2nd Battle of Flanders (April – May 1915) = The 2nd Battle of Ypres
  • 3rd Battle of Flanders (July – November 1917) = The Battle of Passchendaele/3rd Battle of Ypres – an Anglo-French offensive.
  • 4th Battle of Flanders (April 1918) = The Battle of the Lys (4th battle of Ypres)/Operation Georgette – second part of the German Spring Offensive.
  • 5th Battle of Flanders (September – October 1918) – The 4th Battle of Ypres – a Belgian-French-British offensive during the last Hundred Days of the War.

The recurring name of Ypres demonstrates the frustration of both armies who were fighting repeatedly over the same patch of ground, where thousands had died before them. My own great-uncle Harry died there, and is remembered to this day by our family as a great loss – being young, charming, unmarried, and an only son.

Major Byng M Wright’s Farewell to the 8th Argylls (John MacColl)

The 8th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was a Territorial force, mobilised at Dunoon on the outbreak of WW1. They travelled to training at Bedford via Dunblane in August 1914 and embarked for France in May 1915, ending the war south of Leuze, Belgium.

Their list of battle honours in WW1 is very extensive:

  • 1915 – Festubert
  • 1916 – Somme, Pozieres and Ancre
  • 1917 – Arras, Scarpe, Pilckem, Ypres, Menin Road and Casmbrai
  • 1918 – Somme, St Quentin, Bapaume, Rosieres, Lys, Hazebrouck, Bethune, Marne, Soissonnais-ourcq and Terdenois

Casualties for a single battalion are hard to calculate – overall the Argyll’s lost nearly 7000 men in the War, though the total number who served is unknown: many battalions were disbanded and absorbed into other units, as the number of men left alive became too small to allow a battalion to continue.

A war diary is available on the net to see details of each day as it was recorded by hand – attached is a copy of page 1. Some details are hard to decipher, but at Bedford there is a suggestion in the bottom right hand corner that the “latrines were inadequate, no screens provided”, and at very end “an outbreak of …… ……. occurred”. The hard-to-read words might be “squalor fines” but that does not seem to make sense – alternative suggestions from Eagle Pipers are welcome.

Capt Colin Campbell (P/M Donald MacLeod)

There are so many famous soldiers with this name that it would be hard to pick which one Donald was referring to. I see the suggestion on the Eagle Piper’s website, here are some more ….

  • Colin Campbell, born 1766, (later Lieutenant-General) who ran away from Perth Academy age 16 to join a vessel bound for the West Indies, then sailed for India as a midshipman, and was appointed a lieutenant in the Breadalbane Fencibles in February 1795. He served under Wellington in India, Denmark, Portugal, Spain and France, becoming Wellington’s commandant at Waterloo. He and Wellington were the only two men on the general staff to escape the day uninjured.
  • Colin Campbell (later Field Marshal and 1st Baron Clyde 1792-1863) who rose from humble beginnings, led the Highland Brigade in the Crimea and was in command of the ‘Thin Red Line’ at the battle of Balaklava. Later he commanded the relief army in the Indian Mutiny of 1857. His nickname was “Sir Crawling Camel” (for his methodical but very effective approach).
  • More likely it is another 20th century person personally known to Donald.

Cabar Feidh (arr. John MacFadyen)

“Cabar Feidh gu Brath” (the Deer’s Horns for Ever”) is the motto of the Queens Own Highlanders, coming at the end of their regimental toast:

Land of the hills, the glens, and the Heroes;

Where the ptarmigan thrives

And where the red deer finds shelter.

As long as mist hangs o’er the mountains

And water runs in the glens,

The deeds of the brave will be remembered.

Health and success forever

To the lads of Cabar Fèidh

Cabarfeidh gu brath!

The Flowers of the Forest

Although the original words are unknown, the melody was recorded in 1615 in John Skene of Halyard’s Manuscript as “Flowres of the Forrest”, although it might have been composed earlier. Several versions of words have been added to the tune, notably Jean Elliot’s (1735) lyrics below. She published it anonymously and it was at the time thought to be an ancient surviving ballad. However, Burns suspected it was an imitation, and together with Ramsay and Sir Walter Scott eventually discovered its author.

Due to the content of the lyrics and reverence for the tune, many pipers will only perform it in public at funerals or memorial services. I myself have refused to play it at times, when requested to do so outwith these events.

The first verse of the song contrasts happier times with grief at the losses at the Battle of Flodden, 1513. Estimates of Scottish casualties in this dreadful battle vary between 5,000 – 17,000, including the King, James IV.

I’ve heard the lilting, at the yowe-milking,

Lassies a-lilting before dawn o’ day;

But now they are moaning on ilka green loaning;

“The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away”.

Dool and wae for the order sent oor lads tae the Border!

The English for ance, by guile wan the day,

The Flooers o’ the Forest, that fought aye the foremost,

The pride o’ oor land lie cauld in the clay.

HMS Renown

HMS Renown was the lead ship of her class of battle-cruisers of the Royal Navy built during the First World War. Renown, and her sister HMS Repulse, were the world’s fastest capital ships when they were built.

Renown did not see combat during WW1 – but frequently conveyed royalty on their foreign tours and served as flagship of the Battle-cruiser Squadron, when the ill-fated HMS Hood was refitting.

In WW2, Renown was involved in the search for the Admiral Graf Spee, participated in the Norwegian Campaign, the search for the German battleship Bismarck, the Battle of Cape Spartivento, several Arctic convoys in early 1942, and transporting Winston Churchill and his staff to and from conferences with various Allied leaders.

Transferred to the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean, she supported numerous attacks on Japanese-occupied facilities, in Indonesia and various island groups in the Indian Ocean.

Renown was sold for scrap in 1948.

Turf Lodge (P/M Angus MacDonald)

In the shadow of Belfast’s Black Mountain lies the Turf Lodge housing estate, which for most of its 50-year history has been the scene of much poverty and social unrest. Originally, the estate was built to house people from the overcrowded terraced housing of the Lower Falls. It was not unusual for these old one- and two-bedroom houses to accommodate twelve people. 

In the beginning, residents were delighted with their new houses. Sadly, it soon became apparent that all was not as idyllic as the residents thought. With no shops, schools, public transport or even any roads – and a population of young families with children – life could be tough.

With the onset of the Troubles, the impact on Turf Lodge was immediate. Residents’ narratives have been recorded:

“Turf Lodge literally blew up, emotionally and socially and every other way.”

“I remember going to Mass and seeing men standing on the corner with machine guns.”

“Every male over sixteen was screened [by the Army] in Turf Lodge within an 18-month period – either in the street or going to the houses – so everybody knew the inside of a barracks.”

The British Army famously bought one of the top flats in a tower block in the middle of Turf Lodge, and set up an observation post there. 

Over 3500 people died in the Troubles, and many more (possibly over 100,000) were injured.

Lament for Red Hector of the Battles

And from the Troubles of 1970’s Belfast … to myth and legend in Scotland: warfare does not seem to have gone away much, during human history. Red Hector (Eachainn Ruadh) died in the Battle of Harlow (near Inverurie) in 1411. 

The 6th chief of the MacLeans of Duart, Hector early distinguished himself by daring exploits, and was noted as being one of the best swordsmen of his time. He became so celebrated as a swordsman, that many knights came from distant parts to measure weapons with him.

Red Hector was lieutenant-general under his uncle Donald of Islay during this, his last, battle. He was ultimately slain by Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum in a ferocious hand-to-hand struggle, which was described as ‘a noble and notable single combat,’ at the end of which both men lay dead. Hector was carried from the field and buried on the Island of Iona. Thereafter the MacLeans of Duart and the Irvines of Drum began a custom of exchanging a sword each year, on the anniversary of the battle.

The Battle of Harlow made a big impression on the people of Scotland at the time, and for generations afterwards, being very bloody (1400 men died in a short space of time) and yet with little consequence for either side. The tune therefore may have been composed some time after the event, but still it must be one of our earliest piobaireachds.

Peter McCalister

P1010548Next up was Donald McLeod who tapped into the evening’s emotion by starting with the HLI Crossing the Rhine by Donald Shaw Ramsay and The Heights of Cassino by PM Dan MacRae – 2 classic 6/8 marches inspired by WW2.

The Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as the Battle for Rome and the Battle for Cassino) was a costly series of four assaults by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign of World War II. The intention was a breakthrough to Rome.

At the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans holding the Rapido, Liri, and Garigliano valleys and some of the surrounding peaks and ridges. Together, these features formed the Gustav Line. Monte Cassino, a historic hilltop abbey founded in AD 529 by Benedict of Nursia, dominated the nearby town of Cassino and the entrances to the Liri and Rapido valleys, but had been left unoccupied by the German defenders. The Germans had, however, manned some positions set into the steep slopes below the abbey’s walls.

Fearing that the abbey did form part of the Germans’ defensive line, the Allies sanctioned its bombing on 15 February and American bombers proceeded to drop 1,400 tons of bombs onto it. The destruction and rubble left by the bombing raid now provided better protection from aerial and artillery attacks, so, two days later, German paratroopers took up positions in the abbey’s ruins. Between 17 January and 18 May, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defences were assaulted four times by Allied troops, the last involving twenty divisions attacking along a twenty-mile front. The German defenders were finally driven from their positions, but at a high cost.

Ruins of the town of Cassino after the battle

Ruins of the town of Cassino after the battle

Donald then played An Eala Bhan and Tha mi Duilich, Cianail, Duilich. He stopped and gave us a bit of background on the tunes and what they meant to him. He did this after every set of tunes and it more than added to the ambience of the evening.

Both tunes were written by North Uist Bard Donald MacDonald (Domhnall Ruadh Choruna) – so called because his great Grandfather fought at the Battle of Coronna in 1809 during the Napoleonic War. ‘

An Eala Bhan’ (The White Swan) talks of his longing for his first love back in Uist whilst suffering the hell of trench warfare. Whilst ‘Tha mi Duilich, Cianail, Duilich’ (I am Sorry, Mournful Sorry) is an angry, sorrowful reflection of seeing his friends and so many other men killed in the trenches. Donald survived the war and died in his native Uist in 1967.

Donald continued with the MSR-Knightswood Ceilidh / Susan Macleod / Sound of Sleat.

‘Donald Macleod of course wrote the first two tunes. He was captured along with the rest of the 51st Highland Division at St Valery in 1940. This rearguard action almost certainly occupied the advancing German forces long enough to enable the evacuation at Dunkirk to take place.

The captured troops were placed on a forced march back to Germany but by all accounts this was fairly shambolic, allowing men to slip away. Donald Macleod self-effacingly said that he was thrown back as a tiddler (on account of his height). However, many Gaelic speaking soldiers slipped away and managed to avoid detection by using the language when challenged and were apparently mistaken for Romany Gypsies by German forces. Donald made his way back home and subsequently played on the assault craft over the Rhine in the final advance into Germany.’

Donald ended with An Ataireachd Ard (The Ceaseless Surge of the Sea)

‘My own great uncle Kenneth Macleod joined the Royal Navy in 1915. He was washed overboard and drowned off Ireland in December 1916. One of 4 brothers, the other 3 survived service although another uncle, Murdo, was gassed. My Grandfather, William Macleod, born in 1900, joined the Seaforths but fortunately just missed active combat service. I still wear his Seaforths cap badge with pride to this day whilst competing.

FullSizeRenderGreat Uncle Kenny was seldom more than a name from the far off past, a bronze plaque from King George lying dusty in a cupboard, one young face in a book ‘The Record of the Men of Loch Broom 1914-1918′ which documents the terrible destruction of an entire generation of men from a small highland community.

The tune conveys a great deal more than words ever could. Tha mi duilich gu dearbh.’

As Donald put the pipe away it was clear that this had been a very personal tribute. Thus without further ado we had the evenings piobaireachd, The Groat, played by Duncan Beattie. Duncan has also had a very successful competitive season rounding it off with an outstanding haul in London. Duncan has assured us that he will be along more often next year. That would be most welcome.293164_138617049561601_3230852_n

The final player of the night was Andrew Gray who started with Flett from Flotta and The Battle of Waterloo. He then kicked into some fast and furious light music that lifted the spirits and sent us off into the night with a P1030702spring in the step.

What a marvelous evening!

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Match Report Tuesday 14th October 2014

The P/M DiaryIt never rains but it pours. Just as he had freed himself from work commitments in London and was looking forward to a tune at the Eagles, Douglas Gardiner, felt a twinge. No, not there, but close by. Grumbling appendix and he was rushed in hospital and under the knife in jig time. Ever the optimist Douglas, who has access to his mobile in hospital, texted to announce that, while a bit tender, he is enjoying the drugs and the attention of the nurses. He is hoping the drugs have the appropriate side effect! Best wishes from all D.Unknown

The P/M broke the ice with a few small tunes before handing over to Andrew Allison. Maw and Paw were there with maw sporting her new wee Gaelic tattoo. However she put the hex on young Andrew by mentioning that he will soon be getting a hair cut. This clearly upset Andrew as he only played a few tunes before finding solace at the bar.

Faye Henderson

Faye Henderson

Next up for her inaugural performance was Faye Henderson. Right out the box and into the big stuff with some 2/4 marches. Her opening tune was Captain Campbell of Drumavoisk, not heard all that much at present but a favorite of Willie McCallums. So who was Captain Campbell and where on earth is Drumavoisk?

Could this be him?

‘When British prisoner of war Robert Campbell asked the Kaiser if he could visit his dying mother, he was astonished to be given permission – on condition that he promised to return.

The Army captain kept his word and returned to the German camp after the two-week trip in November 1916, remaining in captivity until the end of the First World War.article-0-1B988B22000005DC-835_306x557

Historian Richard van Emden, who discovered the incredible incident, said such an act of chivalry was rare even a century ago. ‘Capt Campbell was an officer and he made a promise on his honour to go back,’ he said. ‘Had he not turned up there would not have been any retribution on any other prisoners.

‘What I think is more amazing is that the British Army let him go back to Germany. The British could have said to him, “You’re not going back, you’re going to stay here”.’

Capt Campbell, who joined the Army in 1903, was leading the 1st Bn East Surrey Regiment when his battalion took up a position on the Mons-Condé canal in north-west France just weeks after war broke out in July 1914.

A week later, his troops were attacked by the German forces and Capt Campbell was seriously injured and captured. The 29-year-old was treated in a military hospital in Cologne before being sent to the prisoner-of-war camp in Magdeburg. 

In 1916, he received word from home that his mother Louise was dying of cancer. He wrote to Kaiser Wilhelm II, begging to be allowed to see her one last time. The Kaiser gave him two weeks’ compassionate leave, including two days travelling in each direction by boat and train, on the proviso Capt Campbell gave his word as a British Army officer that he would return.

Capt Campbell reached his mother’s bedside in Gravesend, Kent, on November 7 and spent a week with her before keeping his promise and returning to Germany. His mother died three months later in February 1917.

After the war, Capt Campbell was released and returned to Britain where he served in the military until retiring in 1925. However, he rejoined his regiment in 1939 on the outbreak of the Second World War, serving as the Chief Observer of the Royal Observer Corps on the Isle of Wight. He survived that war unscathed and died in Britain in July 1966 aged 81.’

I hope so. He deserved a tune. (Willie Ross Book 3)

Anyway Faye continued with some sparkling Strathspeys and Reels and sat down to a well earned pie.

P1030715The post pie piper was Cameron Drummond who was on a full silver set of Lawries. Once they were settled he played a lovely set of hornpipes and jigs starting with the musical Joe McGann’s Fiddle (The Ladies Hornpipe) followed by the tricky Stornoway Hornpipe finishing with the jigs Angus John McNeill of Barra and Dr. Flora MacAulay, Caradale. Excellent stuff.


Father and son……….

The final player of the night was this years clasp winner Iain Speirs who is going for a ‘three in a row’ overall winner at the Glenfiddich later this month. A feat only archived once before by the aforementioned Willie McCallum. Iain played the pipe in with some of his competition light music repertoire and once the drones were locked gave us a beautiful Prince’s Salute. On that form he is in with a shout for sure.

P1030718Hope to see you all up there on Saturday 25th October. Bob Worrall is this years fear- an- tighe so give him a shout if you are on the live stream this time round.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Match Report Tuesday 30th September 2014

Andrew Allison

It was a quiet night but a wee gem. The Society welcomed Faye Henderson who is now working and staying in the fair city. As we settled down for a natter and catch up Andrew Allison got the evening under way. Andrew is constantly improving and has recently joined the City of Edinburgh Pipe Band. (note the band are running a fund raiser on Saturday 18th October in the Police Club 28 York Place, Edinburgh, where Gordon Walker will be giving a recital- £10 entry fee.)

Next up was the P/M who was keen to test the pipe out after his hiatus in Cyprus.


Andrew Gray took over and he too has made a band change joining the Shotts ranks. Andrew was in excellent form and the pipe was booming. He ran through a wide variety of light music before finishing off with some hornpipes and jigs that included Crossing the Minch, Joe McGann’s Fiddle, McKerral’s Fancy, The Judges P1030702Dilemma, Kenny Gillies of Portnalong and the Duncan Johnston composition Ray Anderson. Fantastic stuff.

Pies-and they got Faye’s seal of approval!

The PPP was Cameron Drummond who was straight into the big stuff with some of the great 2/4 Marches. He followed that with some competition strathspeys and reels signing off with The Little Cascade. Cameron has now settled into his new post at Fettes College and his new ‘pad’ in Edinburgh. (House warming still to come?).P1030704

Lachie Dick was next up and although flat out at work in his present post in Kirkcaldy he was keen to have a run through his tunes for the John MacLellan Memorial competition at the weekend. Lachie was straight into the big stuff and ended with a new reel to me called The Creagorry Blend that I believe was composed by P/M William MacLean. Creagorry is located at the South of Benbecula and one can only assume that the tune has a whiskey association?

P1030706The final player of the night was Jenny Hazzard who was also keen to put some air through the pipe as she too was due to compete at the weekend. Jenny has been is fine form of late and to close she gave us the ground and a couple of variations of the Lament for the Earl of Antrim.

And that was that. Top class playing all round and a cracking night. The next meeting is Tuesday 15th October where clasp winner Iain Speirs will be running through one of his Glenfiddich tunes. Iain is going for the very rare 3 in a row so, not that I am superstitious, Susanne must not go, Tam has to watch it by live stream, plenty of gin and tonic must be had and the Eagles Pipe Major must share Iain’s room. It’s a winning formula. Saturday 25th October.P1030078

Euan Anderson
Hon P/M

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Match Report 16th September 2014

Eagles emblem 2010The first post-Northern-Meetings Eagle Pipers night is always expected to be a little scarce on both attendance and bagpiping motivation. Although this was the case, we had an enjoyable evening with a respectable turnout of enthusiastic souls.

Due to the Hon PM being off in Cyprus on his jollies, the honour of opening the evening’s piping fell to me. Having had a short rest after Inverness, I was glad for the incentive to get back at it, and took the opportunity to play a variety of light music still on the must-practise list ahead of the late-season competitions at the Army School and in London.P1010744

Upon finishing my stint, my bagpipe was still the only one in the room (it was deemed the “Eagle Pipe” for the evening), so the Hon President Colin MacLellan decided to give us a few tunes (since they really are his pipes). Colin gave us a lovely slow air and some 6/8 marches, a big MSR, and a good helping of the Lament for Mary MacLeod – all played annoyingly well and with wonderful ease, given that he hadn’t played at all for some months.

Lachie DickNext up was Lachie Dick, only slightly late in arriving due to public transport woes from his temporary home at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy (as a final-year medical student, not a patient). Lachie surprised us with a quiz for the evening – he announced that he was to play a series of tunes, all of which were linked by a common theme, to be deciphered by the audience. He began with some 3/4 marches including Far over Struie; moved on to the Atholl Highlanders jig and Coppermill Studio; then to the Clan MacColl, Inveraray Castle and the Little Cascade; and finishing with an excellent rendition of the piobaireachd, the King’s Taxes.

Anyone got it? No, didn’t think so.

After (quite) a bit of cajoling and hinting from Lachie, I’m proud to say I cracked the code, and guessed that each of the tunes had some association with one of the pipers who will be playing at the Glenfiddich championship at Blair Castle this October. Some of these were good, strong links (Bruce Gandy composed Coppermill Studio, the Clan MacColl is for Angus, Stuart Liddell is from Inveraray). Others were considerably more tenuous (the Little Cascade was composed by GS MacLennan, who was in the Gordon Highlanders, hence Gordon McCready), for which Lachie quite rightly took a degree of abuse.IMG_0595

Anyway, thanks go to Lachie for making the effort to come up with this little quiz and keep us entertained, and for actually learning a number of the tunes just for the purpose.

And thanks to everyone else who came out for a very pleasant evening, despite the inevitable September piping fatigue. We look forward to many more over the winter, as the competition season winds down and we can all spend some time learning new music and taking the chance to give it a public airing in a friendly and non-competitive atmosphere.


Jenny Hazzard

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Match Report Tuesday 2nd September 2014

Kai Palle and Brian

Kai Palle and Brian

With Oban done and dusted and Inverness still to come this was a wee opportunity for the competitors to have a final run before heading North to the Northern Meetings. Jenny Hazzard took the opportunity and gave a selection from her light music and the ground and a few variationimages of His Fathers Lament for Donald MacKenzie-as it transpired the tune she was actually to play on the day. Jenny acquitted herself very well in the gold medal and managed a very creditable 5th place in the A grade MSR. As thimagee P/M got the evening under way a few very welcome foreign visitors arrived not least Kai and Palle from Denmark and from further afield Brian Williamson from Canada.

Other pre pie pipes were Nils Michael and Andrew Allison. Nils is a fantastic supporter of the Eagles and can always be relied upon to give a sterling imageperformance. Tonight was no exception and he closed with three old school hornpipes Tam Bains Lum, PM GS Allan and The Train Journey North.
Andrew was next up and as you may have seen from previous match reports himagee is now a regular attender. He is working hard on his playing and the sound of the pipe. The fruits of his labour are starting to show and he produced two very fine 2/4 marches The. Argyllshire Gathering and Donald MacLellan of Rothesay.

Post pies it was Andrew Gray’s turn and he was in fine form. Andrew has had a busy year studying and we have not seen or heard from him as much as we would have liked, but he also is a stalwart of the Society. Included in Andrews slot was the very musical march Allan Dodds Farewell to Scotland composed by PM JM Mackenzie that is making a very welcome appearance at the games this year.image

And with Jenny closing the night as described above that was the evenings evening. As the PM closed the night and wished everyone much success at the Northern Meeting we were not to know that our own Iain Speirs would lift the clasp on the Friday playing Donald Gruamach’s March. A tremendous achievement and a father and son first, as we all remember Toms achievement in 1983 when he won the clasp with Tulloch Ard. Iain will be heading up to Blair Atholl full of confidence and who is to say he can not make it three in a row ? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Euan Anderson
Hon P/M



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Clasp 2014

Eagle swoops in to take clasp

Eagle swoops in to take clasp

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Match report 19th August 2014

Andrew Allison

Andrew Allison

With the worlds done and dusted and Cowal no longer a Championship the pipe band scene is pretty much over, with the focus now on the ‘medals’ at Oban and Inverness. Thus we expected a few of the contenders to pitch up and run through their stuff but alas not many took the opportunity. We still had an International flavour to the night though with Willie Rowe from New Zealand and Nick Hudson from Pittsburg bringing their sticks along.

Once the Pipe Major had broken the ice he handed over to Andrew Allison, who was playing a new bag, new chanter, new reed and looking the part, resplendent in a new Society cover and cords. Maw and Paw were there to cheer him on while enjoying a refreshment. Andrew concluded his performance with a set of reels and fancy finger work, The Wise Maiden (named after his mum? ),The Auld Fiddler and Double F Dilemma. I don’t know about a dilemma but I was perplexed listening to it :).

A wee refreshment

A wee refreshment

Magnus on the March

Magnus on the March

Next for shaving was Magnus Orr who quickly settled his pipe. In fine form he concluded with The Wee Man From Skye and The Judges Dilemma.

The pre pie piper was Willie Rowe who is currently based in Christchurch. He was quickly into his stride and on a lovely mellow pipe gave us The Duke of Roxburgh’s Farewell to the Blackmount Forrest, Bonnie Ann, Piper’s Bonnet, Inveraray Castle, The Smith of Chilliechassie and Duntroon. Willie very kindly agreed to take a Society hug back to Tracey Williams, who has been pining for Scotland, pretty much since she left, but the coverage of the Commonwealth Games and Piping Live

Willie Rowe

Willie Rowe

have recently made things worse. Don’t worry T. a big hug coming your way from us.

The post pie piper was Nick Hudson who is here with us until Inverness. Nick played a fine selection of tunes including a competition MSR and Hornpipe and Jig that included the Bill Livingstone composition The Busy Buddy. Bill was in the circle at the worlds with the Toronto Police. After all these years, quite remarkable. Hats off.

Nick Hudson

Nick Hudson

The final player of the evening was Jenny Hazzard who took the opportunity of giving one of her tunes a run-MacNeill of Barra’s March. I would like to say Jenny was in the pink but if you look closely she was on the blue.

This piece has overlapping names, “MacNeill of Barra’s Lament,” “MacNeill of Barra’s March,” “The Pride of Barra” and so on, Thus we cannot be sure that it was this tune that John Campbell from Nether Lorne gained 4th Prize with at the Edinburgh competition in 1816: his tune was called “Speadsearachd Bharra– Macneill of Barra’s Salute. “The editors of The MacArthur-MacGregor Manuscript of Piobaireachd (1820) take the view that this may be a seventeenth-century tune, and that the dedicatee may have been one of the Clanranald bailies of South Uist

Jenny on the blue

Jenny on the blue

Having just come back from the Glasgow sojourn Jenny blew the cobwebs away with some light music before playing a very musical piob on a well balanced instrument. Jenny is last on in the Gold medal at Oban so we all wish her all the very best of luck and hope she can take advantage of the draw.


Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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