This year’s competition was held for the first time In the Royal Scottish Pipers Society Rooms in Edinburgh.

The LBPS has been welcomed into the RSPS premises on several occasions, for various events, but I believe this is the first time the Annual Competition has been held there; in the past the building has been quietly sitting above a building site, but this year work had been completed, so that not only did we have access to the lounge area and the performance space above it, but also, courtesy of the tenants, the use, for practice and tuning, of office space on the two floors below, providing competitors with some of the best facilities I have encountered in the past twenty years.
The only drawback was that  by the afternoon session the weather had become very mild and as the room filled up the atmosphere became decidedly oppressive, particularly for those sitting and standing at the back of the room, from where it seemed to me a number of competitors, especially by the time of the final classes, were feeling the effects of the humidity on their instruments.
It was particularly heartening to see a young Mairi Coxon take the prize in the Novice class, playing one of the sets of the pipes that the Society has for hire, made by Richard Evans; it must always be a challenge to someone who has not competed before to present their music to what they know is a knowledgeable crowd,  although even the most nervous performer can expect to be received with encouragement at this competition.

A notable feature of this year was the almost total absence of singers; Donald Lindsay again took the Pipe and Song solo prize, though his was the only entry, and there were no entries at all for the piper and singer class.
The duet classes however, produced some fine playing, with Ross Calderwood and Christine Martin giving a finely controlled performance on smallpipe and nickelharpa, a sound which I for one have always admired. [Ed: see cover photo]
Entries for some of the other classes were down again on last year, but it was good to welcome David Faulkner from the far south of England; he and Pete Stewart gave what the judge described as a ‘joyously informal’ performance in the pipe and other instrument class and in addition to receiving the Martin Lowe Trophy, and his second place in the New Composition, Dave took first pace in the Border Pipe Open class with an exciting and innovative performance of that strange piece, The Irish Trott, reminiscent of the performance of the Fox Hunt that Paul Roberts gave a few years back. Sometimes it does seem that it requires pipers from beyond the Scottish Border to take adventurous approaches to the repertoire. (Ed.: See elsewhere in this issue). So once again, congratulations to all who took part, and thanks to the RSPS for the use of the rooms.

(L-R) Donald Lindsay - Pipe and Song; Pete Stewart New Composition; Matt Seattle - Seasoned Pipers; David Faulkner - Open Solo Lowland and Border Pipes; Andrew Macintyre - Open Solo Scottish Smallpipes; George Greig (with Robert Low)- Duet for Pipes; Colin Macaldowie - Intermediate; Mairi Coxon - Novice.