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A Report by JOCK AGNEW

It was my misfortune to see and hear only the second half of the competition, which now spans a whole day such is the list of entrants. I say misfortune, because the standard of playing in the afternoon was excellent and the sets imaginative. It was the same, I was assured, with those classes held in the forenoon.

The general standard, Hamish Moore announced before the close, continued to improve; and throughout the day he hadn’t heard a set of pipes that was not sweet.

With the exception of the Novice class (only one entry; are there no novices left?) and the Pipe and Song (two entries) the day was well attended. As ever the Open Smallpipes class proved to be the most popular - 11 entries - buf the Open Border pipes did almost as well with 9; and that is the best ever.

The tunes were selected from a mix of sources. We heard Irish; Highland; Lowland; English - even Bulgarian. There was some dexterous cross-fingering on the Border pipes which, in one particular case, produced a wild haunting effect. Most Border chanters had at least one key, and although high ‘b’ was sounded on a number of occasions, none of the players (so far as I could tell) used the pinching technique to achieve that useful note.

This year a new class made its appearance; Intermediate. This is designed to cater for those who have never come first in an open instrumental class at this competition. A useful step between the Novice and the Open.

And this year a real effort was made to keep the competitors within tight time limits; on the judges table stood a water-filled plant-sprayer to cool the ardour of anyone inclined to pipe on for ever. It wasn’t used; the threat was enough!


NOVICE 1. Alasdair Smith.

Tunes - Lord Ronald; John Anderson My Jo.



Tunes - Lady in the Bottle; The Gold Ring.

2. Jim Eaton

3. Tom Carmid


NEW COMPOSITION 1. Steve Hall “The Dottirt Carlin” (played by Stewart Gaudin).

2. John Saunders “The Old Man of Hoy”

3. Peter Aitchison - “Westwick Sound”



1. lan Kinnear & Mike Kate. Pipes & Guitar. Tunes - O’Neil’s March; s’spey;MacKay’s Rant; The Smith’s Daughter.

2. Jim Eaton & Steve Hall. Pipes & Whistle.

3. John Morran & Rory Campbell. Pipes & Guitar.


PIPE AND SONG 1. Judy Barker with “High Germany”.

2. David Stevenson


DUET FOR PIPES 1. Hamish Moore and Finn Moore. Tunes - Traditional strathspey; The Flagon; Lord MacDonald.

2. John Saunders and Manuel Trucco

3. Jeannie Campbell and Rona MacDonald (who, having studied the preferences of judges in previous competitions, hid their faces behind voluminous false beards!).



1. Rory Campbell.

Tunes - The Dreams of Old Pa Fogerty; Cloe’s Passion; a couple of jigs;

William Murray’s Reel.

2. Ian MacDonald

3. Alee Sutherland


1. Jon Swayne. Tune - One Moves.

2. Fraser Fifield

3. John Saunders