I was involved in producing the reprint of Jock Agnew’s book of tunes from the NPS and LBPS publication of the Peacock Collection of tunes for the Northumbrian small pipes where the tunes were reset and also put into the key of A major in a lot of cases. This was seen to be the correct thing to do for tunes that did not owe their origin to the Highland tradition but more to do with the Border tradition.
What is the solution to playing these tunes as written? A G# can be obtained by another cross fingering on a chanter tuned like the GHB by placing two fingers of the top hand over the G and F# holes and raising the back thumb on the A hole. However, this is not as convenient or easy to do as the G natural or the open fingering, and my research into the Border pipes indicated that chanters in the Bagpipe Museum in Morpeth had the seventh note of the scale drilled in a position that would produce a G# note and not the G natural note commonly found on the Highland chanter. The tunes sounded better anyway with the sharp seventh which led to the resetting of the key signature. The G natural note can still be played by cross fingering with the second finger of the top hand on the E hole.
This is a radical solution that maybe should be left to the pipemaker but it does involve drilling a hole halfway between the top F natural hole and the A back thumbhole about 3mm in diameter that should give the G# required. The original hole can be taped over when not used and vice versa. On the other hand a new chanter can be ordered with the top finger hole drilled to give an open G#. I think that this matter has to be addressed if a more authentic way of playing the tunes from this tradition is to be achieved.
In the reprinting of the Peacock tunes what slipped through without me noticing was the advice given regarding the playing of the tune ‘ Meggy’s Foot’. It is essentially a smallpipe tune which be played with pauses; this of course is not possible on an open ended chanter. Controlling the bag to obtain the rests or pauses, as advised, cannot be done without stopping the supply of air to the drones as well.  My advice is to leave the tune alone or ignore the rests [which will not harm the tune] rather than the ridiculous effect of letting go the bag pressure. It is not even amusing.
Colin Ross