Deadline for Sollas composing competition

Scolpaig Tower near Sollas.
Scolpaig Tower near Sollas.
Map of North Uist showing the location of the Sollas township.
Map of North Uist showing the location of the Sollas township.

The deadline is approaching for submissions to be sent in for the composing competition organised by Taigh Sgire Sholais, in association with The National Piping Centre. As reported last month, the competition is for a new March to mark this year’s 170th anniversary of The Battle of Sollas.

The deadline for entries to be received is midday on Thursday, July 25.

The battle (‘Blar Shollash’ in Gaelic) took place in August 1849 in the Sollas district of North Uist, Outer Hebrides and was fought between the local people and employees of their landlord, Lord MacDonald. All the houses were burned except one. The women were then beaten by the police.

In the years prior to, and following, the battle, many hundreds of people left the area, many against their will, during the Clearances. Today, approximately 160 people live in the Sollas district where once there were 700.

The battle is featured in Mhairead MacLeod’s novel, The False Men (ThunderPoint Publishing, 2017).

The competition calls for a new pipe tune to help commemorate this significant event in the island’s history. The new tune will be played at this year’s commemoration on Friday, August 2 and then again at the unveiling of a permanent memorial designed and built specifically to mark the occasion.

Scolpaig Tower near Sollas.
Scolpaig Tower near Sollas.

Tunes submitted must be an original March of any time signature for the highland bagpipe and must consist of four parts. Entrants should post manuscript submissions to:

‘The Battle of Sollas’ Tune Competition,
The National Piping Centre,
30-34 McPhater Street,
G4 0HW.

The manuscript should not have any other information marked on it and should be accompanied by a separate cover page stating the composer’s name and contact details. These should be sent with a stamped addressed envelope so that the entry can be acknowledged.

Alternatively, entries can be submitted – in pdf format please – via email to

All email entries will be kept anonymous from the competition adjudicators and the adjudicators will not have sight of any of the composers’ details until such a time as the tunes have been judged.

Entries will be judged by a committee of National Piping Centre teachers chaired by the Principal, Roddy MacLeod MBE. The prize for the winning tune will be £250. The winning composition will be announced on July 26.

Terms and Conditions:

  1. Copyright of all entries remains with the composer. However, by entering you are granting Taigh Sgire Sholais the right to name and perform your entry.
  2. The National Piping Centre teachers will not be eligible to enter this competition.
  3. The composition must not have appeared anywhere in the public domain before entry to the competition or during judging.
  4. Entries must be made in either printed manuscript or electronic PDF format.
  5. Entries must be easily read and interpreted by the judges.

Any entry not conforming to these regulations or whose composer is made known to the judges by any other means will not be judged.