Town pipers were a glorious, joyful, Scottish tradition that died away in the early 1800’s.
I propose that we reinstate “The Stirling Piper” in a way that will benefit all.
The Lowland and Border Pipers’ Society, being the body with the greatest expertise in the matter, could hold a competition to find the best Lowland piper under 25, who would be appointed the “Stirling Piper” for a year. Hopefully this would be seen as the most sought after and prestigious position for a young, ‘small’ piper in the world. He or she would hold the position from say 1st June until 31st May, with the competition being held in the Tollbooth, Stirling in February, giving the new Stirling Piper time to arrange his or her life.

Their responsibilities would be to play in four different locations, twice daily, say outside the Tollbooth, in the park opposite the Highland Hotel and the Collessio Hotel, outside the Golden Lion and in Port Street for 10 minutes each, starting at 9.00 in the morning and eight at night. The piper could also be required to play at official civic functions, possibly for an additional fee.
We know from the 1830 painting what the last drummer wore, and from earlier entries in the Burgh records we know that the piper almost certainly wore the same, a red coat and breeches with white hose and a cocked hat.
Apart from the fact that the Stirling Piper would be unique in the world and thus a matter of considerable civic pride, I believe that he or she would draw thousands of new tourists to Stirling.
1.    It would tempt those that would normally only visit the castle to come into the city itself.
2.    It would attract many of the piping fraternity to the city (not the castle). They would be coming, after all, to hear and see the best young Lowland piper in the world.
3.    Any traveller interested in the history and traditions of Scotland would want to put Stirling onto their itinerary .
4.    As the piper would play outside the three main hotels in the tap o’ the toon, visitors would be tempted to stay overnight to savour the unique experience.
The tradition would not be expensive or difficult to recreate.
1. Stirling City Council would provide a flat in the tap o’ the toon free of charge, and a uniform based on the picture of the Town Drummer in 1830.
2. A stipend of £6,000 could be provided by local businesses (hope- fully the three hotels). This has yet to be negotiated.
3. A room would be provided in the Tollbooth free of charge for the piper to augment his stipend by teaching. Over the years the body of students would grow so that the piper’s income would be secure.
4. The project could be administered by the Lowland and Borders Society.
Amongst Highland pipers (and there are quite probably hundreds of thou- sands of them round the world) there is great interest in Lowland piping be- cause these pipes are in keys that can play much more easily with other instruments. Every year hundreds of pipe bands flock to Scotland, with their families for the World Pipe Band Championship and other events. They are coming to Scotland, their spiritual home, but they usually stay in Glasgow or Edinburgh, or go straight to the Highlands. The creation of a Stirling Piper would draw them to Stirling too.
There could only be benefits:
1. The Stirling Piper would bring thousands of tourists to the city.
2. The “carrot” of the presti- gious appointment would make young pipers eager to achieve heir best in Lowland piping.
3. The world would associate Stirling with the best in piping, and by association, excellence in general.
4. It would bring pleasure and culture to the streets of Stirling.
5. Having such a talented young piper as a teacher in Stirling would bring up local talent to a higher level.
6. It could help to establish Stirling, and in particular the Tollbooth
as the centre of Lowland piping in the world, with Glasgow as the centre of Highland piping.
7. For the young Stirling Piper, the experience, both in the exposure and learning to play better themselves, and in being put in the position of teaching others, would be hugely character building.
There were, in the past, in Scotland, many town pipers. They were characters, they were the carriers of tradition, they wrote tunes and songs that long outlived them, they were part of the essence of Scotland. Let us be the first to revive them!