A few items in the bagpipe.news diary for this weekend:
• The organisers of the Lochaber Gathering have had to change the date of their competition to Saturday, August 24. Unfortunately, this means that it clashes with that wonderful Aberdeenshire event, the Lonach Highland Gathering. For any piper considering whether to head to Donside or Lochaber, the Lonach usually attracts a smaller entry in the solo piping, so there’s more chance of a prize. Also, the board is covered so wet weather is never an issue.
• The Donald MacDonald Cuach takes place tonight at The Clan Donald Centre on Skye. This is always an excellent evening in a beautiful part of Skye. If you are in the vicinity you really should pop along. You will hear six of the finest pipers today – Callum Beaumont, Iain Speirs, Glenn Brown, Peter McCalister, Finlay Johnston and Stuart Liddell – compete for the quaich (Gaelic: cuach) by playing Donald MacDonald’s settings of some of our classic tunes. Skye-born, Donald MacDonald was something of a pioneer in pipemaking and publishing. Much of his work has been overshadowed by the work of Angus MacKay, but the Donald MacDonald Cuach contest has been for over 30 years an excellent showcase for the man and his settings.
• Callum Beaumont, fresh from playing at the above event, will be heading to Glasgow on Saturday night to take on Cameron MacDougall in Heat 2 of the Scottish Pipers’ Association’s Knockout series. The venue is, as usual, The National Piping Centre Otago Street. If you’re travelling by subway, get off at Kelvinbridge. The building, the former College of Piping, is a two-minute walk over the bridge. This promises to be a good evening of piping.
• A good entry is expected for the Competition League for Amateur Solo Pipers (CLASP) competition tomorrow. This one will be held at the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming in Edinburgh. The judges are Pipe Majors Ben Duncan and Ross McCrindle. The draw can be found HERE.
• There is a pipe band contest in County Down (Northern Ireland) on Saturday while Sunday sees games at Strathmore, Ardrossan (Scotland), Colchester (England) and Georgetown (Ontario) among others. We will bring you the results when we have them.
• Finally, this weekend sees the 300th anniversary of the Battle of Glen Shiel, the conclusive battle of the 1719 Jacobite Rising. At a free lunchtime talk at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, Michael Nevin, Chairman of the 1745 Association, will recount the events leading up to it, and the course of the battle itself.
The well known piobaireachd composed after the battle is the work of either Iain Dàll MacKay or Finlay Dubh MacRae.
Glen Shiel is on the road to Kyle of Lochalsh/Skye. If you can’t make it to Mr Nevin’s talk on Monday you could always do as this chap has done and take your pipes and head to the glen, humming the canntaireachd of the tune as you go:
There’s also a clip on YouTube of Brighde Chaimbeul and Carlos Nuñez playing the tune at a concert last year:
Have a good weekend and, if you’re competing, good luck.