John Hughes.

Updated with video: The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) is encouraging its member bands in Scotland to write to the Scottish Government asking for guidance on the resumption of pipe band practices

In a letter to band secretaries today, RSPBA Chairman, John Hughes, writes: “The RSPBA and the pipe band fraternity in general need your assistance to persuade the Scottish Parliament [sic] to provide guidance on the re-introduction of pipe band practices (outdoors and indoors) in the near future, by lobbying your local MSP in order to gain this support in Parliament and by asking them to send a personal letter to Parliament.”

Hughes provides a template and asks for it to be sent to band’s respective Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) within the next seven days. “Your letter will be read in support of a letter being sent by Stuart McMillan MSP to parliament formally requesting the provision of guidance on resuming practices,” he says.

“At the moment, we are the only country in the United Kingdom who do not allow for outdoor band practices to take place, in line with local guidance. We urge you to respond as quickly as possible, to ensure we get some traction on our request for consideration to Parliament.”

Currently, public mass gatherings are not be permitted in Scotland. They are included in Phase 4 of the government’s route map out of the pandemic.

Bands in Scotland have adhered rigidly to the official guidance and held online practices, but some recent posts on social media suggest that a small number of bands appear to have broken official guidance by holding physical outdoor band practices.

There have been no coronavirus deaths in Scotland for over three weeks. The last fatality was recorded on July 16. Pupils return to schools on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Aberdeen saw a return to lockdown restrictions after an outbreak of coronoavirus in the city.

Meanwhile, over in Canada, the Grade 4 White Spot Pipe Band resumed its outdoor band practices last month and uploaded a video to YouTube. The video shows the band demonstrating a safe pipe band performance under British Columbia’s provincial health guidelines: