I don’t know about you but I fair enjoyed last weekend’s pipe band championships at Grant Park, Forres. That’s what I call a pipe band championship venue! I’m glad to hear that we’ll be back in the Moray town next year on the 30th of June for what will be the last year of its five-year deal. I truly hope the organisers are able to continue beyond 2018.
Just a thought: in light of the DUP deal with Tories that will see an extra £1 billion going to Ulster, maybe a smidgen of the money could be used by Belfast City Council to outbid Glasgow in 2021 when the Worlds comes up? After Grant Park, the thought of returning to that appalling, soulless venue in Glasgow for the Worlds rather depresses one.
I digress. Wasn’t Major General Seymour Munro a great chieftain? You should’ve seen the lump in his throat as Inveraray & District played that 6/8 in his honour. Seymour is what we call a good egg. He may be neither a piper or drummer but he is one of us.
It was a day of mixed fortunes for many bands, even in the top grades. I thought Field Marshall, the Vale, the Glesga Polis, Buchan Peterson and a couple of others struggled with the erratic weather conditions. It was surely brave of FM to play Donald MacLellan of Rothesay? It’s a great, tune, yes, but for me it simply didn’t work for the band last week.
The Vale was first on but the pipe corps was struggling from the off. That said, its new drum corps was damn good and I wasn’t surprised by its second place. ScottishPower performed very well – great march! – and in my opinion should’ve been placed second. It was also a good day for Boghall and the Fife Police, who deserved better than 7th place. This band is now hitting its stride and I hear it will have an influx of a few more quality pipers at the end of the season. On the subject of Police Scotland Fife, congratulations go to its Pipe Major, Dougie Murray on his new part-time teaching position at Dundee High School.
In Grade 2, I was again mightily impressed by Lomond & Clyde and the Glasgow Skye. They were well ahead of the pack.
Bridge of Allan Games will have 50 bands competing this year – including New York state band, Schenectady which is celebrating its centenary. The number will grow, too, but it's already a healthy – and encouraging – number. Too many bands through all grades these days opt only to play at majors. Despite most games being small it can nevertheless cost £30,000 to put these smaller contests on. Support them, please, bands.