Lochaber Gathering returns to live event / Aboyne online / 25th NS Overseas Battalion


Lochaber Piping Society intends to run the Lochaber Gathering live and in-person this year. The date will be Friday, August 27.

The Society says the cinema in Fort William will be the new venue for the event.

On behalf of the Society, Moira Robertson said: “The plan at the moment is to hold the Piobaireachd and MSR competitions indoors in the cinema, which has two two performance platforms. As well as these two areas, we have booked the use of the outdoor area in Cameron Square (just in front of the cinema). This is a nice, flat paved area with an overhead canopy and built seating around it, open to the public. 

“Our thinking is that this would be great for the Hornpipe & Jig competition that could run all day and would be a great draw for tourists and locals alike – especially if we were to get good weather.

Senior winners from 2019. L-R: Andrew Lewis, Sandy Cameron, Sean McKeown and James McHattie.

“Tuning areas are being worked on and there are already two final tuning spaces in the cinema. It also has a full bar and café/restaurant section.” 

The Society anticipates having to cap the number of entries this year. There will be no categories for Juniors in 2021.

An online entry system will open at the end of this month.

Lochaber 1934, March to the Games. Among those pictured are Major Leckie Ewing, Rev. Dr Neil Ross, Pipe Major Willie Ross, John MacDonald of Inverness, Malcolm MacPherson and Robert Reid.

The Lochaber Gathering, immortalised in Pipe Major G. S. MacLennan’s excellent 2.4 march, was formerly one of the earliest major events in the solo piping calendar. Revived 25 years ago, the venue was the Nevis Centre in Fort William. It had been organised for years by Allan MacColl, who died last year.

• Listen to Donald MacPherson kick off an MSR with The Lochaber Gathering:

We understand that Aboyne Games intends to hold its piping competitions online again for this year. 

Last year’s online event saw Bruce Gandy take the Ceòl Mòr, his son, Alex take the March and John Dew the Strathspey & Reel.

Details as soon as we have them.

• Barry Shears [pictured], the piper, music collector and composer from Nova Scotia, has written an account of the pipers of the 25th Nova Scotia Overseas Battalion in the First World War. His article is part of a larger ongoing study of pipers from Canada’s east coast who served overseas during both world wars.

Barry’s article brings to our attention some of the men who played pivotal roles in the conflict and what happened to them after the war.

Read Barry’s fascinating article here tomorrow.

Organisers have confirmed that Pitlochry Highland Games will not take place this year. There had been hopes that the popular event, which includes solo piping and pipe bnd competitions and is usually one of the last highland games of the season, would be able to take place.

A spokesman said in a statement: “The Pitlochry Highland Games Committee has taken the very difficult decision to once again cancel this year’s Pitlochry Highland Games. It is deeply disappointing to have to cancel for the second year running, as we we had hoped that with the success of the vaccine rollout across the UK and greatly reduced infection rates that we would have a better chance of holding the Games in September.

“The Committee has a duty to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the Games, spectators and the wider community. Unfortunately, with the continued uncertainty of future restrictions and the course of the virus, this is not possible.It goes without saying that we very much look forward to 2022 and welcoming everyone back to celebrate 170 years since our establishment.”

More tunes have been added to the RSPBA’s Prescribed Tune List. Click here for further information.