Donald Patrick Nicholson of Ardveenish


Donald Patrick Nicholson, father of Duncan Nicholson of Glasgow Police Pipe Band, tutors a group of children on a weekly basis at Castlebay School on the Isle of Barra.


Donald Patrick was born on Barra in 1941 and still lives on a croft in Ardveenish which belonged to his uncle Murdo MacNeil. His earliest musical memories were of his uncle Murdo playing the pipes in the croft.


Donald Patrick was first tutored by a piper from Barra called Donald Buchanan, who had been a banker in the States, and who ran classes in the local hall. But when Donald Patrick was about 10, his uncle Murdo started to teach him and continued to do so till Donald Patrick left Barra to join the Merchant Navy at the age of 16.

Murdo MacNeil got his piping from Angus MacAulay from Benbecula, and also from Pipe Major Willie Ross who visited Barra to teach.


Donald Patrick moved back to Barra in 2006 to live in the croft in Ardveenish left by his uncle Murdo. In 2007, Feis Barra asked him if he would be willing to teach pipes to the children on the island. So the tradition continues, and the young people on Barra learn from Donald – a tradition bearer from their own island.