Appeal for practice chanter / Uist & Barra line-up / Lochaber Piping Society Juniors (and recital)

Pipe Major George MacKenzie piping in front of Eilean Donan Castle on the shores of Loch Duich.
Pipe Major George MacKenzie piping in front of Eilean Donan Castle on the shores of Loch Duich.

We kick off today with an appeal for a unique practice chanter. June Ross, a relation of Pipe Major George MacKenzie, Seaforth Highlanders, wishes for the return of the instrument. Unfortunately, we do not have a photograph of it. June says: “It was presented to my great uncle by the Seaforth Highlanders. It was accidently put to a charity shop in Stirling or Dunblane during a house clearance. It is of great sentimental value.”

George MacKenzie was a native of Easter Ross. He joined the Seaforths in 1939, escaped capture at the fall of France and joined the reformed 4th Seaforths where he helped make up another pipe band of which he later became Pipe Major. He was in action again with the 51st Highland Division in North Africa.

After the war he settled firstly in Laggan Bridge, Badenoch before moving further west to Inverinate in Kintail where he lived for almost 20 years. He was one of the early members of the South West Ross Piping Society. In George’s obituary, which appeared in the May 1983 Piping Times, Iain MacKay wrote: “George was always a real gentleman, never having a bad word to say of anyone and he greeted everyone with a cheerful smile even during the recent serious illness. I count it a pleasure and a privilege to have been one of his many friends over the past 18 years.” Iain MacFadyen piped at George’s funeral which took place near the shores of Loch Duich.

The chanter has an inscribed silver shield that reads:

‘Presented to Pipe Major George MacKenzie by the 4th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, 1945’

If anyone can help please contact The National Piping Centre at and we can put you in touch.

The pipers invited to compete at this year’s Glasgow Uist & Barra Association Invitational Solo Piping competition are: Callum Beaumont, Glenn Brown, Alasdair Henderson, Finlay Johnston, Roddy MacLeod MBE, Willie McCallum, Gordon McCready, Angus MacColl Snr., Sarah Muir, Connor Sinclair, Iain Speirs, Niall Stewart and Sandy Cameron (ceòl mòr only).

The judges will be: Colin MacLellan, Patricia Henderson and Chris Armstrong.

The competition takes place at The National Piping Centre Otago Street (the former College of Piping building) on Saturday, March 7.

Lochaber Piping Society will be holding a recital on the night before its annual Junior piping and drumming competition, which takes place on March 28.

The recital features four of our leading solo pipers, Gordon McCready and William Geddes with performances from local brothers, Sandy and Finlay Cameron.

The recital will be in the Moorings Hotel, Fort William on the evening of the 27th. The venue for the competition is Lochaber High School.

An entry form for the Junior competition can be downloaded from the link below: