Never go back……

IMG_3167Some say there a few golden rules in life, don’t go on holidays with friends, never go back, leave well alone and the like, but then again, there is always the exception that proves the rule.

The 78th Fraser Highlanders reprise of their Live in Ireland concert is one such exception.

New chanters, new reeds, new players, old players, no time, everything to lose, nothing to gain? Perhaps. What could possibly go wrong? Potentially everything. But it didn’t.

This is not a review of the concert but merely a few words of thanks. I doff my cap to everyone involved. I salute the immense talent that was on show and the effort that went into producing an outstanding show. It was well presented by Jack and Victor and another landmark in pipe band history was made.

People will ask was it as good as the first time? Well we were all a lot younger when this seminal recording was made and of course it made a huge impact at that time.

IMG_3147This time thoughts were filled more with sentiment, as we cast our minds back all these years and we were charged with pride, as we saw good friends strut their stuff one more time. It must have been a real treat for the newbies to be on that stage. To one and all..


Thanks guys.

Euan Anderson


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Match report Tuesday 19th January 2016

UnknownWith all the festive fun behind us ( yes there were a few high jinx-not least the poker night) and Rabbie Burns waiting in the wings, it was time to get the 2016 season under way. While this is generally a quite time of year for competition and hard practice, some have had to hit the ground running. Jenny is due to play in the reprise of the 78th Fraser Highlanders concert this Saturday in Glasgow and Colin has just returned from the Winter Storm work shop in Kansas.

The P/M got the evening under way with some small light music tunes. Included in his selection was the Neil Dickie classic, The Haunting. Having played the slow air the P/M broke into a 4 parted 4/4 arrangement of the tune.

IMG_3109Next up was Colin MacLellan who settled the pipe down with Caber Feidh followed by 2 x 2/4 marches, The Knightswood Ceilidh and the little heard, The 74th’s Farewell to Edinburgh. After a strathspey and reel he gave us the evenings treat, the piobaireachd, Gun ainm-Cumha (Nameless- a Lament) that can be found in book 13 of the Piobaireachd Society books. You will find three settings there, The MacArthur, the Mackay and the ‘edited’ version. Although this could be described as a short tune the fingering is challenging and the structure difficult to grasp. However it is worth the effort and if you are looking for something different to add to your repertoire you could do a lot worse than this wee gem.Untitled

Colin was in great form and the pipe was of the usual high calibre. A lovely opening tune to start the year. Hopefully we will get a chance to hear this again later in the year?

The pies were delivered and for those on a New Years resolution detox had to be avoided. (The P/M had two!)

IMG_3116Jenny Hazzard was the post pie ‘piperette’ and she didn’t take long to tune the pipe and hammer out some of the 78th concert repertoire. Although challenging to learn this Live in Ireland music is exactly that. Good music that has stood the test of time. The Up to the line and Masons Apron medleys-classics. If you don’t have a ticket you should have. It has to be said that when Jenny had finished one of our relatively younger members said that he had never heard the Live in Ireland album. “ Before my time”.  I don’t suppose you have heard of Elvis Presley either then?”, was the retort….

The final player of the night was Tom Peterkin. Tom declared that he had not done much playing but after a quick tune of the drones and a couple of 6/8s he was into the big stuff starting with the technically challenging 2/4 march, Inveran. Great stuff Tom.IMG_3121

And that was the evenings evening, a gentle but excellent night.

The next meeting is on Tuesday 2nd February when Eddie Gaul will be coming along to play a few tunes and the evenings piobaireachd.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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1st Meeting of 2016

P1010483The 2016 season of the Eagle Pipers’ starts tonight, Tuesday 19th January, 20.00hrs Scots Guards Club, Edinburgh. Blow the cobwebs away and come along for a bit of craic and a tune.

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Piping Societies-Music just for fun?


Rob Cowie on the left

This week I had the pleasure of playing a few tunes in the Royal Scottish Pipers Society rooms in Rose Street, Edinburgh, at the kind invitation of the Chevaliers. The Chevaliers were hosting the Trinity Occasional Piping Society (TOPS) for their annual soiree.

You will be forgiven if you have raised an eyebrow and said, who? The Chevaliers are a small body of amateur piping enthusiasts who formed circa 1972 under the leadership of Brigadier Frank Coutts.


Frank Coutts

Frank was an interesting man who started life as a London Policeman before becoming a career soldier and war hero with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. He played as a second-row forward for Scotland at Murrayfield and Twickenham, as well as for the Barbarians, before being elected president of the Scottish Rugby Union in the late 1970s. He has also written a couple of books. Frank passed away in 2008 at the age of 90.

10497045_800135756693636_893297873606490513_oTOPS have been in existence for about 20 years and are currently under the helm of David Black and have a practice every Monday night in the Boys Brigade hall in Ferry Road, Edinburgh. They also commit time, energy and money to the annual Falkirk Tryst Piping Recital, where the overall prize is a set of bagpipes. They have a Facebook page if you would like more information.


Davy Black and George Brown

So a few tunes, a pie and a dram or two were taken on the night and I met a couple of people I had not seen for years, not least George Brown, who I played with in the Heriots School band back in the early 70’s.

IMG_2970As we played together as a group I cast my eyes around the circle and felt strangely at ease. No one was aiming to be world-beaters and there was only one purpose for being there. Enjoyment. The pleasure you get from playing bagpipes, no matter what standard you are at. There is a unique bond between us. I dare say other musicians will say the same thing, but for me when you meet another piper you don’t have to say anything. The music speaks for itself.

Thanks to Sandy MacFarlane and Chris Anderson for the kind invitation.

Euan Anderson




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Match Report 8th December 2015

The last meeting of the year and time for a band bash. A few were absent, due to late holidays and other seasonal commitments, but all in all an excellent turn out.

Life is a funny old game. Remember the old adages that were trotted out when you were young? ‘Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye’, ‘Lang may yer lum reek!’ ‘As long as you have your health, nothing else matters’, and the like. Quoted many times and on most occasions cause to roll the eyeballs, but from time to time they come winging home. Tuesday the 8th December was one of these times.


The Speirs Family

As the last evening of 2015 began the Hon P/M passed on the sad news that Lucy Speirs and Christina Dick has passed away. Lucy, wife of Gregor Speirs, succumbed to a long battle against cancer that she fought with the utmost dignity. Christina, Lachie’s mum, passed away unexpectedly and another highland sole was taken. Both ladies deserved to live much longer and their loss will be immeasurable to family and friends. To Gregor,


Christina enjoying a few tunes at the Eagles not so long ago

and the Speirs Clan: to Lachie and the Dick Clan, our deepest condolences.


Christina and Lachie have their hands on a good prize.

It was with a certain amount of esprit de corps and pride that the band took to the floor, as it gave us all a chance to play a tune for the girls and their families.

P1040421The traditional Green Hills set of 3/4s were followed by the 4/4s Flett from Flotta, The Rowan Tree and Scotland the Brave. After the slow airs, The Dark Island and My Home and a couple of 6/8s the band were ready to be a bit more adventurous. The MSR of The Highland Wedding/Susan McLeod and The High Road to Linton (twice through) was played with aplomb. Extra points were awarded for combining several settings of the march and hitting the break into the strathspey together!P1040417

The pies and a festive cherry or two were very welcome and fuelled the band to new heights, as they returned, post pies, with the hornpipes and jigs, The Train Journey North/Crossing the Minch (in a speedboat), The Banjo Breakdown and The Glasgow City Police Pipers. And that was that for the band. Beer was required.

P1040445The P/M then gave us a few tunes on a miniature set of P1040450Glens and passed them around for people to try. We then had a few tunes from Andrew Gray who paid a lovely tribute to his good friend Lachie.

P1040447Colin McNeill gave us a few tunes kicking off with Donald McLean’s Farewell to Oban. Colin doesn’t make it along all that often so it was a real treat to hear him play and have him in the band.


Colin McNeill

Craig Martin was the final player of the night. As he fished the pipe out the box the P/M bade farewell Katherine Belcher (the wee spoon) who is returning home to Melbourne after a years sabbatical in Gods country.

P1040451Craig warmed up the pipe with some excellent light music and once it was locked in he gave us the lovely Lament for Donald of Laggan. Quite a poignant moment as we cast our minds to Gregor and Lachie.

Here’s to you boys. Our thoughts and hearts are with you. We are as one,

The Eagle Pipers’ Society.


Euan Anderson

Hon P/M


Donald of Laggan was Domhnull MacAonghais 8th laird of Glengarry, who lived in the later 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. Hostilities took place by land and sea, culminating in the burning of the church of Cillechriosd and the capture and destruction of Glengarry’s stronghold, Strome castle, at the mouth of Lochcarron. This latter provided the subject of another lovely, “Castle Strome”

Donald of Laggan died aged more than a hundred, on Sunday 2ebruary 1645, the day of the second battle of Inverlochy.

NEXT MEETING Tuesday 19th January 2016



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Match report Tuesday 24th November 2015

8ccb0-santabagpipeThe P/M kicked off the evening with a few tunes before handing over to Iain Dewar.


Iain Dewar

We were in the big room upstairs in the Guards club and the acoustics were very pleasing. Iain played Lady McRoberts’ Lament (Flight of the Eaglets), a tune composed by Willie Ross in 1944 in memory of her three sons that perished in WW ll. Lady MacRobert gave £25,000 to purchase a Short Stirling bomber; the aircraft was named “MacRobert’s Reply” in memory of her three sons. Lady Rachael MacRobert believed that her sons had lived up to the family motto Virtutis Gloria MercesIMG_2915translated as, ‘Honour is the Reward of Bravery’. 

Next up was Peter McCalister who gave us a blast on a set of Northumbrian pipes and then invited members of the audience to have a go. They have such a great sound but it looks like you need 3 hands to play them!IMG_2921

Craig Martin followed and after a couple of settling 6/8s he was into the big stuff trotting out some MRS’s, the opener being Hugh Kennedy. He finished his spot with the Jig of Slurs and The Duck composed by Donald IMG_2922(Duck) McLeod.

The post pie piper was Malcolm Kerr who opened with one of his own compositions, ‘Thank You George McKay’, who was a piping instructor in the Glasgow area post WW1. Malcolm doesn’t make it along all that often and it was great to see him play round the floor.


Malcolm Kerr

Jenny Hazzard was up next and opened up with a few Michael Grey tunes that began with Linda’s Lilt. She then hit us with 2 of the great 2/4 marches, John McColl’s March to Kilbowie Cottage and John McDonald of Glencoe. After some strathspeys and reels Jenny ended her slot with the hornpipe John F Kennedy, that was composed by P/M W Gilmour in 1965. The tune is published in Capt John MacLellan’s ‘More Music for the IMG_2928Highland Bagpipe’ and it was a nice touch to mark his passing that was on 22nd November 1963.

1399294_10153505019920594_2099011190_o (1)

John F Kennedy

The final player of the night was Peter McCalister who was is sparkling form. The pipe came in very nicely as he went through a few light music tunes and was bang on when he started his piobaireachd, The Finger Lock, composed by Ronald MacDonald of Morar. Excellent stuff.

IMG_2935As usual Peter had handed out music for the tune, from the Binneas is Boreaig collection, talking us through the various options available when tackling the piece. Great stuff Peter. Many thanks.

And that was the evenings evening.

The final night of 2015 will be on Tuesday 8th December where all members are invited to come along with their pipe for a big band night. All very informal and just the usual standard tunes. Douglas Gardiner will send out an email with more detail. Please come along if you can.


Euan Anderson

Hon P/M

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Christmas Dates

Tuesday 8th December will be our last meeting of 2015.  To add some fun, it will be band night for all to bring pipes and have a blow together.  A rough tune list is outlined below.  No need to spend the next week learning any.  Others will, I am sure, be added on the night.

Our first meeting of 2016 will be Tuesday 19th January.  Enjoy the break and thanks for all the support over another tune filled year.

Tune List


Green Hills

Battle’s O’er



Leaving Port Askaig

Farewell to the Creeks

SA and Jigs

Mist Covered Mountains

Banjo Breakdown

Glasgow Police


Highland Wedding

Susan Macleod

The Sheepwife

SA and Hornpipes

My Home

Train Journey North

Crossing the Minch


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