Tom Dingwall’s pipes to be auctioned / Still no sign of band practices resuming

Tom Dingwall's MacPhee pipes

The late Tom Dingwall’s pipes will be sold at auction in Glasgow at the end of this month. The sale will include Tom’s outstanding antique Donald MacPhee set, pictured.

Donald MacPhee was born in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire in 1842. His parents were natives of Islay. Donald was taught piping by a Donald Galbraith who was also originally from Islay and who had been taught by Angus MacKay during his years on the Hebridean island. Donald had a successful pipe-making business in Glasgow from 1872 to 1880, the year he died in Lenzie Asylum.

Tom Dingwall (1941-2019) was a very well liked member of Scotland’s piping and pipe band scene for many years. He was possibly best known as the Pipe Major of Callander Pipe Band, which included Arthur Gillies and Angus MacDonald MBE in its ranks. Tom died in January 2019, aged 77. As his obituary in the Piping Times stated, Tom was one of the College of Piping’s earliest pupils and he and his family maintained a lifetime’s involvement with the College, including serving at one time as its Treasurer. He was also a life member of the Scottish Pipers’ Association, serving as Treasurer from 2000 to 2012 and vice-president in 2014. During the 1990s, Tom served on the committee of the Lowland and Border Pipers’ Society.

Tom Dingwall in 2007.

Among the pipe bands he played with are Bagad Kemper, Addiscombe and Shirley British Legion, British Caledonian, Strathendrick, Goodyear and Clydebank & District, the latter three as Pipe Major. Tom is survived by wife, Ros and daughters, Katriona, Morven and Tamsin.

The auction takes place at Great Western Auctions (in the Whiteinch district of Glasgow) on Wednesday, September 30 at 12:00 noon. Tom also had a couple of silver and ivory sets, ivory sets, and others plus smallpipes and Border pipes. All will appear in lots 1300-1489. Viewing can be undertaken the day before (29th) between 10.00am to 5.00pm and also on the morning of the 30th.

Online bidding will be available through

• Read ‘Donald MacPhee – the forgotten man in piping’

•• Jeannie Campbell’s invaluable book, Highland Bagpipe Makers has more information on MacPhee.

The latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for Scotland’s performing arts and venues sector has been updated to include the playing of wind instruments.


However, the guidance provides only a very small glimmer of hope for those hoping band practices will resume soon. Currently, pipers and pipe bands may play in groups outdoors and indoors, but group size should be limited to no more than six people from a maximum of two households. This effectively rules out the holding of band practices.

The revised guidance has not moved from this but further mitigations – including physical distancing and ventilation – have been included.

The Scottish Government’s scientific studies so far indicate it is the cumulative aerosol transmission from both those performing in and attending events that is likely to create risk.

The latest guidance can be read here.