After Monday’s post on transgender competitors at next year’s highland games in Scotland, some readers contacted us enquiring as to whether there have been any transgender pipers.

We can only speculate that there must have been but that they, perhaps understandably, maintained a low profile. However, the modern era is one that welcomes all and there can surely be few pipe bands today that would not welcome a transgender piper. Indeed, we are aware of at least one transgender piper in Ontario, and a few transgender adults around the US that are learning to play.

Our readers’ enquiries, however, reminded us of Sue MacIntyre, pictued here in 1980 when she was awarded the MBE for services to piping. Sue was born Farquhar McIntosh and served in the Scots Guards. In the late 1970s, Farquhar became Sue. The full story is featured in our Famous Pipers series and can be read by clicking here. It is an interesting read.


Bruno Peek, the driving force behind one of next year’s many pubic events that are being planned to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee, has himself been featured in a UK-based newspaper today.

In the Daily Express profile, Mr Peek of Great Yarmouth, England, tells how he became a pageanmaster by accident. He trained as a welder when in 1981, as lead singer in a local glam rock band, he was asked to organise a carnival in the town. It was such a success that he was commissioned by the English Tourist Board to celebrate the country’s maritime heritage. “I thought the best way of marking it was to light a maritime chain of beacons around the coastline, which had never been done before,” he says.

Bruno Peek address the Society of Editors at its conference in Cambridge, England in 2017. Dame Cressida Dick of the Metropolitan Police looks on.

He gave up his job as a welder, borrowed some money and started calling friends in Great Yarmouth, where the first beacon would be lit.

Since then he has organised many more pageants for various events. He was awarded the OBE for his work. In 2018 he teamed with the College of Piping to encourage pipers around the world to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. At least 3,500 pipers participated in the rolling 24 hour playing of When the Battle’s Over at 06:00 on November 11.

As the sun sets around the globe on June 2, next year, pipers and pipe bands are asked to play Diu Regnare, a tune composed especially for the event by Stuart Liddell, the current Glenfiddich champion and Pipe Major of Inveraray & District Pipe Band.

• Click here to register your participation.


Film actress, Margot Robbie says she wants to film in Scotland so she can drink whisky, wear a kilt and “play the pipes badly”.

Margot as she appears as Elizabeth I of England in the movie, Mary, Queen of Scots. Inset: how she really looks.

The 31-year-old Australian actress played the part of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 2018’s Mary Queen of Scots, movie. She was also in The Wolf of Wall Street and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Before Hollywood beckoned she had a part in Ozzie soap, Neighbours.

In the Mary Queen of Scots movie, Margot’s scenes were shot in England in Hardwick Hall and, for the scene where the two queens met, Chiltern Open Air Museum. Speaking to UK media yesterday, she said: “I would love to film in Scotland one day for sure. It looks a beautiful country … I could totally see myself in Edinburgh drinking whisky, wearing a kilt and trying to play the bagpipes badly.”

Never mind Edinburgh, Margot. Head to Glasgow and here at the National Piping Centre we’ll teach you how to play the pipes well!