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Today, around 100 pipe bands should have been making their way to Bught Park in Inverness for the 2020 European Pipe Championships.

Regrettably, the Covid-19 panemic has put paid to that – as well as to the whole 2020 competition season.

Bught Park has held many pipe band and solo piping events in the past but last year was the first time in quite a while that a major pipe band event had taken place at the famous venue. Inveraray & District Pipe Band won the Grade 1 title that day. The band was fortunate in that it was drawn first and it was only after it had left the arena that the heavens opened. The weather gods were definitely smiling on the Argyll band that day.

In Grade 2, the winning band was Portlethen & District Pipe Band. In Grade 3A, Deeside Caledonia won while Oban High School scooped Grade 3B. In the Novice B grade, the Scotch College from Melbourne Australia was victorious.

Amongst the 17,500 crowd was US Attorney General, William Barr, himself a piper and the only person in attendance to be flanked by secret service agents … and Ross-shire piping legend, Duncan MacGillivray!

Inverness has the Europeans until 2022 so, fingers crossed, we will all be making our way to the Sneck this time next year (June 26). In the meantime, here is a pictorial from last year’s dreich day to whet the appetite:

The hardy lads and lassies of the Islay Pipe Band braved short sleeves and waistcoats amidst a deluge.
The Grade 1 arena from the shelter of the stand.
FMM’s Keith Orr and some of his drum corps having a run through.
On the turn. Inveraray circling …
Smiling through the rain. Judges Donald MacPhee and Jenifer Hutcheon.
A good drying? Vale of Atholl’s Grade 3 outfit taking shelter from the storm.
Glasgow Police pounding its way into the circle.
Oban Pipe Band competing in Grade 2.
Knees up. Chins up. What rain? Lomond & Clyde preparing to halt in the Grade 1 arena.
Liddell and large trophy.