The Scottish Pipers’ Association’s (SPA) annual solo-piping contest for professional pipers will be held online for this year, the organisation has confirmed.

Entries close on June 5, with each competitor notified of the tunes assigned to them by Sunday, June 9.

In addition, the SPA hopes to broadcast the A Grade events on a pay-per-view basis on Saturday, June 26. Details of this will follow in due course.

Gordon McCready, Sarah Muir and Graham Drummond at the SPA’s Professional competition in 2017.

A spokesman for the SPA said: “Despite the reduction in restrictions in Scotland, we must put the safety of our members, volunteers and the wider public at the forefront of our preparations for 2021, and for this reason we have decided that the most sensible course of action is to promote an online event for 2021.

“We are preparing a calendar of events going forward that will take into account any changes in the guidance set out by the Scottish Government. The judging panel for the professional competition will be announced nearer to the closing date.”

This year’s competition will require competitors to upload their entries to an unpublished YouTube channel, then email the link to the SPA.

For full details of the competition visit the SPA’s website or email the team directly.

Like virtually all piping events last year, the 2020 competition was cancelled as a result of the global pandemic. The overall A Grade winner in 2019 was Darach Urquhart, Glasgow.

• A spokesman for the SPA told Bagpipe.News that the final of the organisation’s current ‘Knockout’ series for the prestigious Piping Times Trophy will be taken soon. The final will see John Patrick, Kilsyth compete against Callum Beaumont, Bo’ness.

One of regular correspondents has been in touch to say he enjoyed reading our article that appeared last Thursday, ‘Snapshots of history surface’. The article featured rare military photographs that were purchased by reader, Yahya Hussein, New York City, in an album he purchased last summer.

Milne, Kidd and Findlater.

Our correspondent writes: “It was great to read that article on Bagpipe.News – it’s always nice to see the stories of real people as opposed to just events and tunes. May I raise a point of pedantry, though? Under the (fantastic) photograph of Milne, Kidd and Findlater, you mention the battalion’s return to Scotland.

“These events took place in Aberdeen not Edinburgh, Castlehill Barracks being the Gordons Depot at that time. The barracks were on the hill behind the Salvation Army Citadel but are no longer there – there are now multi-storey flats instead – but you can trace the route described from the railway station in Guild Street via Google Maps. This was where G. S. MacLennan was based from 1911 to 1922 (apart from much of 1918-1919 …).

“That said, Pipe Major Brown’s marriage did take place in Edinburgh, as you noted. The Gordons were based at Edinburgh Castle in that year as that was where and when G. S. enlisted.

“Thanks for putting these photos and information into the public domain. A really interesting read.”

The organisers of last year’s Up To The Line online solo competitions have been in touch to say that a similar competition is being planned for this year.

With contests for pipers and drummers, this year sees the addition of a new category for pipers, that of a Fred Morrison challenge.

Entries close on Friday, May 21. Click here for full details.

The Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming has added legendary pipe band drummer, Jim Kilpatrick MBE and leading US drummer and judge, Ed Best guest instructors at its 2021 summer school.  

The Pittsburgh PA-based school takes place from July 18-23. Click here for full details.