Category Archives: General

pupilTHE COLLEGE’S EASTER School has some great tutors lined up: Pipe Major Iain MacPherson (Glasgow Police Pipe Band), Ian Watson (ex- Strathclyde Police Pipe Band) and Colin MacLellan (ex-Pipe Major, Lothian & Border Police Pipe Band).

Quality polis right enough!

The dates are April 3-7 and April 10-14. The cost is only £95.00. Click HERE for more details.



Hamish Moore playing at the College of Piping, October 2015.

THIS YEAR’S TRADFEST in Edinburgh will open with a piping concert. Hamish Moore is the main organiser for the concert and he has pulled together an interesting line-up for the show which is on Wednesday, April 26. Son, Fin and Angus MacKenzie of the group, Dàimh, will play a set of Cape Breton step dance tunes on pipes copied from the ‘Black Set of Kintail' housed in Inverness Museum.

Brighde Chaimbeul, last year’s BBC Radio 2 Young Traditional Musician of the Year, will play a set on Scottish smallpipes and the wonderful Callum Armstrong is to play a set on Border pipes accompanied by George Pasca on cello. If you've never heard Callum before, take a look at THIS.

Allan MacDonald and Seonaidh MacIntyre will play a set exploring the relationship between ceòl mòr and Gaelic song. This is another bellows piping segment. For those who prefer something a bit more mainstream – for want of a better word – Roddy MacLeod is included in the lineup.

C3BEDd6WIAA-_YETODAY IS THE deadline for applications to receive a piping bursary courtesy of the Clan MacLean Heritage Trust. Applications are invited worldwide from a promising MacLean (or sept of the clan, such as Beaton, Black, Gilzean, MacEachan, MacVey, MacCormick, MacFadyen, Rankin and more) piper. This bursary is offered once every five years.

Application forms can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

CDTHE PARK BAR in Argyle Street, Glasgow, that famous post-Worlds watering hole and long-time haunt of Glasgow’s Gaels, has produced a CD of the many performers who’ve played and sung there over its 50 years. The CD can be bought in the pub. Proceeds to the RNLI.

Butter Fingers

Disclaimer: the views of Butter Fingers are not necessarily those of the College of Piping.


Itinerant Piping Instructor for Lewis and Harris

siarAn itinerant Piping Instructor is being sought for Lewis and Harris in the Western Isles. The post is Fixed Term for one year.

The successful candidate must have a relevant professional diploma or qualification and have a current driving licence.

For full details click HERE.


L-R: P.M. Iain Watson, P.M. Iain MacPherson and Colin MacLellan.

L-R: P.M. Iain Watson, P.M. Iain MacPherson and Colin MacLellan.

Registration is open for the College of Piping's series of seasonal week-long piping courses during the Easter school holidays. This year's instructors are Pipe Major Iain MacPherson of the Glasgow Police Pipe Band and Pipe Major Iain Watson of the Govan Schools Piping Project as our lead instructors, along with the participation of Colin MacLellan, the College’s Director of Piping.

All of these teachers have specialist skills and training in teaching music to schoolchildren and adults.

The Easter Schools take place from Monday 3rd of April to Friday 7th, and again from Monday 10th of April to Friday 14th. Classes start at 9.15am and finish at 3.30pm. There is a one-hour lunch break.

Students will be taught in small groups of similar ability for three to four hours per day with practice time built in. Workshops, recitals, and the opportunity at the end of the week to gain academic credit from PDQB/SQA exams are all part of the busy and fun week on offer.

The subsidised cost for the course is £95.00 per week. Payment is not required until the start of the course. Places are limited and will be allocated on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

Email College Manager, Fraser MacInnes in the first instance at or telephone 0141-334 3587.

Further information on the course content can be found at the College’s website:




TOMORROW SEES THE Metro Cup Solo Invitational Piping Competition in Newark, New Jersey. The order of play is: 1. Alastair Lee; 2. Alasdair Henderson; 3. Derek Midgley; 4. Callum Beaumont; 5. William McCallum; 6. John Patrick; 7. Andrew Lee; 8. Bruce Gandy; 9. Dan Lyden; 10. Glenn Brown; 11. Alex Gandy; 12. Andrew Hayes; 13.…
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Ben Duncan takes the ‘Wheel’

[caption id="attachment_16639" align="alignleft" width="800"] Ben Duncan receives the Hebrides Challenge Trophy from Derek Graham.[/caption] Ben Duncan of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards won the City of Edinburgh Pipe Band's 'Wheel of Fortune' 2017 competition. The competition was held, as ever, in the Danderhall Miners Club near Edinburgh. Duncan clinched the MSR category on a bold…
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Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band To Headline
Pre-Worlds Concert
Wednesday, 9 August 2017 at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Rise-e1485835730907GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – The Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band is delighted to announce that Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band will headline the 2017 ‘Pre-Worlds’ concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Wednesday, 9 August 2017. Shotts and Dykehead will present ‘Rise’, a programme of music that will showcase selections from both their competitive and performance repertoires.

“We are proud to host yet another of the world’s greatest pipe bands for our pre-Worlds concert,” said Kurt Mackintosh of the Glasgow Skye Pipe Band. “Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band are one of the most resilient and successful pipe bands in recent decades. We have no doubt they will put on a fantastic show.”

"Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band are thrilled to be taking on the highly popular 'pre-Worlds' concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall this August," said Pipe Major Ryan Canning. "The band's ethos is to continually strive to play at the top of our abilities and to reach the highest level of competitive success. 'Rise' befits what we have and will continue to aim for as a band. We can't wait to get on stage on August 9th."

Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia are 16 time RSPBA World Champions, taking the top prize most recently in 2015. The band is led by Pipe Major Ryan Canning and Lead Drummer Andrew Lawson. For updates on the show and all the latest band news, go to or on Facebook @shottspipeband.

The Glasgow Skye Pipe Band has been proudly producing the ‘Pre-Worlds’ concert since 1994. The event is a hallmark of the pre-Worlds week in Glasgow and draws thousands of pipe band enthusiasts from around the globe. It is organized and run by members of the Skye Band, and aims to showcase the best pipe bands in the world to a local and international audience.

Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, 8 February 2017 and are available from the Royal Concert Hall box office online at or on (+44) 0141 353 8000 (Monday - Saturday 10am - 6pm). Tickets are £20.


BUTTER FINGERS' BLOG 10/02/2017 UNBELIEVABLE! ONE WEEK after my comments about the Daily Record, they’re at it again. You will recall how I was left vexed after reading its online story about how the AC/DC track, 'Thunderstruck', had been performed by a group of Spanish pipers. The story didn’t mention the basic fact that it…
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IN A WEEK that saw Donald Trump(et) sign an executive order banning stairs (well, would you be surprised?), what fake news and alternative facts are on my mind? Well, first things first: the closing date for entries for this year’s Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival is Monday, March 13. This is always an enjoyable event and is invariably well supported by pipers. As ever, the piping takes place at Oban High School.

burnsWE’RE NOW INTO February and there are Burns Suppers still being held around the world but I hear a good story of the Perthshire farming couple who last week were so keen to support the local Junior Agricultural Club’s event – and blag a good seat – that they turned up at the venue in Pitlochry early … one week early. Aye, the best laid schemes of mice and men go aft agley, right enough.


IF ANYONE KNOWS of any highland pipers near Chennai in south-east India could they please get in touch? Dr Felicity Mehendale, Consultant Cleft & Plastic Surgeon based at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, is promoting the 2021 International Cleft Lip and Palate Congress. This conference is held once every four years and in 2021 will take place in Edinburgh. This year it is to be held in Chennai next week and Dr Mehendale would like a local highland piper to feature.

If you know of anyone please contact Dr Mehendale on +44 (0)131 536 0976 or email here at:


plateNOW HERE’S A car registration plate! I see it’s advertised for sale in this month’s Piping Times. £1,000 would clinch it. The owner is a piper in advanced years who is ill.

Contact Stuart Wilkie on or by phone: 07545 786764.


caseI SEE R.G. Hardie has brought out a brand new bagpipe case. They look quite good to me, and I see there’s plenty of room for the post-competition carry out. They'll be available from the College shop later today.



Mervyn Herron.

Mervyn Herron.

IT WAS GREAT to see pipe band stalwart, Mervyn Herron (pictured, right) at the recent Glasgow Tattoo. He appeared to be in a buoyant mood and spent a great deal of time chatting to members of the audience. He is still saddened by the way he feels he was treated by the RSPBA(NI) but his charm and charisma are being put to good use by the Belfast Tattoo and the Glasgow Tattoo. Good on you, Mervyn.

reporterRECEIVED A PM from a native of Auld Dreichie (as I prefer to call Embra) who tells me he is enjoying the blog. He goes by the nom de plume of ‘GreyfriarsBoab’ and writes: “You were spot on with your comments about the Scottish press in general and the Daily Record in particular in your blog last week. I stopped buying The Scotsman years ago but last week I noticed a story on its online version, headed, ‘Baby’s Highland jig goes viral’. The ‘story’ itself concerned 19-second-long clip which had been uploaded to a Facebook page. It shows a baby bouncing in a harness. Pipe band music can be heard playing quietly in the background. Well, dang ma poons and hold the front page!

“I’d like to know, as I’m sure you would, when it was that social media trivia became ‘news’. What is happening that we don’t know about because the media is producing drivel like this?”

I couldn't agree more, Mr GreyfriarsBoab, and with the Hootsmon last week celebrating its 200th anniversary, I’m sure Eric MacKay, Alastair Dunnet, Magnus Linklater et al would be so proud to see what’s become of their once respected title.


Balblair Farm, Bonar Bridge.

AFTER MONTHS OF uncertainty, it looks like Invercharron Highland Games will return for this year. The games had been in doubt due to a stooshie between members of the committee and the landowner of the field where the games take place. A new committee is in place which is keen that all antagonism and difficulties experienced last year are forgotten. Invercharron takes place this year on September 16.


I’M AWAY TO to fire up Twitter to see what nonsense Trump(et) has been saying today. Have a good weekend.

Butter Fingers.

Disclaimer: the views of Butter Fingers are not necessarily those of the College of Piping.


Kintyre Piping Society Annual Junior Piping Championship Competition will take place on Saturday 8th April 2017 in The Ardshiel Seafield Hotels, Campbeltown, commencing at 0930am.

Entries must be received no later than 31st March 2017
Return to:
Mr F Wylie,
3 Mopoon Terrace,
High Askomil,
Argyll, PA28 6EW.

Draw must be strictly adhered to. Any late entries received will play first.

Kintyre Piping Society Entry Info - 2017
Kintyre Piping Society Entry Form - 2017


Highlands & Islands Music and Dance Festival in association with The Netherlorn Piping Society


Chanter Competitions (not open to players who have competed on bagpipe).
Competitors in Classes 21 & 21a cannot enter Class 22.
Class 21 Juvenile Chanter – under 12 years – Scale and 2 part tune
Class 21a Juvenile Chanter – under 12 years – 4 part tune
Class 21b Juvenile Chanter – 12 to 14 years – March

Bagpipe Competitilogoons
Class 22 Novice March – under 14 years
Class 22a Ground of Piobaireachd – under 15 years
Class 23 Piobaireachd – under 15 years
Class 24 March – under 15 years

Class 24a Strathspey and Reel – under 15 years
Class 24b Jig – under 15 years

Class 25 Piobaireachd – 15 years and under 18 years
Class 26 March – 15 years and under 18 years
Class 26a Strathspey and Reel – 15 years and under 18 years
Class 26b Hornpipe and Jig – 15 years and under 18 years

Drumming Competition
Class 400 Stick and Pad – 2 Part March – 14 years and under
Class 401 4 Part March – 14 years and under
Class 401a 6/8 March – 14 years and under
Class 402 Hornpipe and Jig – 15 and under 18 years
Class 403 4 Part March, 4 Part Strathspey and 4 Part Reel (min. 4 parts) - 15 and under 18 years

Tenor Events
Class 404 March, Strathspey & Reel (min. 4 parts each) – Tenor 15 & under 18 yrs
Class 405 4 Part March – Tenor 14 years and under


Class 27 Senior Piping (Open) Piobaireachd, Grade A & P
Class 27a Senior Piping (Open) Piobaireachd, Grade B
Class 27b Senior Piping (Open) Piobaireachd, Grade C
Class 28 Senior Piping (Open) March, Strathspey and Reel, Grade A & P
Class 28a Senior Piping (Open) March, Strathspey and Reel, Grade B
Class 28b Senior Piping (Open) March, Strathspey and Reel, Grade C

Competition Syllabus 2017

The closing date for entries is Monday 13th March and no late entries will be accepted.

Please also note that tunes that are submitted cannot be altered after the closing date for entries.