march to the field, Oban 2017
Oban 2017. Craig Sutherland is in the Pipe Major’s position as the competing pipers lead the march through Oban to Mossfield Park for the light music competitions.

The Argyllshire Gathering is to mark its 150th anniversary by holding an in-person professional piping contest in Oban on August 25. Seven leading pipers have been invited. All have strong connections to Argyll. The pipers, and their connections to Argyll, are:

• Jamie Forrester (Mull)
• Alasdair Henderson (Dunoon)
• Finlay Johnston (Tiree)
• Stuart Liddell (Inveraray)
• Willie McCallum (Campbeltown)
• Angus MacColl (Lorn)
• Sarah Muir (Campbeltown)

The venue is the Argyllshire Gathering Halls in the town’s Breadalbane Street and the competition is expected to be able to attract a reduced live audience.

Piping Convenor, Torquil Telfer told Bagpipe.News that the committee has been determined to mark the 150th anniversary in some way. In addition to the invitational – which will comprise Ceòl Mòr, an MSR and a Freestyle elements – pipers will be able to play in graded light music events the following day at Mossfield Park. However, these competitions will NOT count towards gradings. The usual trophies and prize money are on offer.

Mr Telfer also said that the traditional ‘March to the Field’ is expected to take place.

The MacGregor Memorial Piobaireachd competition, organised in conjunction with the Highland Society of London, will continue online as per last year. Pipers will compete in two heats, with four from each playing again in the final. Held online for the first time in 2020, Campbell Wilson from Tai Tapu in New Zealand was the winner.

• The history of the Argyllshire Gathering is currently being serialised on Bagpipe.News. Piping historian, Jeannie Campbell’s latest instalment has reached 1939 – when the onset of the Second World War halted proceedings for seven years.

Free-to-watch videos have been produced to accompany the exercises contained in the National Piping Centre’s Complete Highland Bagpipe Tutor Book.

Hitherto, the book came with a CD-Rom but advances in technology have now made these virtually redundant.

The book and videos – there are 56 – take the player through music theory and the basic repertoire of ‘light music.’ They are suited for all age groups.

NPC teacher, Margaret Dunn demonstrates in all 56 videos.

• Watch the videos here.