Fort George rumours scotched / Judges for Balmoral comp. / COVID-19 booster jag rollout …


In response to a number of enquiries we have received recently regarding rumours of the imminent closure of Fort George, we can confirm that the UK government’s Ministry of Defence has reiterated its confirmation to us that any proposed changes to its continued usage of the site is unlikely to take effect until 2032 at the earliest.

The 18th century artillery fort near Ardersier has housed The Black Watch (3SCOTS) since 2007. The battalion there will be moved to another base in Scotland when it closes. It also houses The Highlanders’ regimental museum. The 250+-year-old garrison lies 14 miles north east of Inverness.

As a large site, the visitor experience is run independently by Historic Environment Scotland and there are no plans to review this at this time. The huge fort covers 42 acres.

There have been intermittent rumours of the site’s imminent closure since at least 2016. Closure would have a major impact on Historic Environment Scotland’s ability to continue operating the site. The site was built between 1748–1769 in order to control the Scottish highlands in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745-6.

We are happy to put this rumour to rest. These rumours tend to arise whenever there is a fresh round of defence cuts.

The Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming has announced the judges for its 15th Junior Solo Piping & Drumming Championships. This year’s competitions takes place online on November 13.

The piping judges are Murray Henderson (Scotland), Brett Tidswell (Australia) and Mike Rogers (USA). The drumming judges are Stephen Creighton (Ireland), J. Reid Maxwell (Canada), and Eric MacNeill (USA)

On Sunday morning after the Saturday competition, Balmoral is offering a free piobaireachd workshop with piping judge Murray Henderson. The workshops are open to any pipers or drummers who apply for this year’s competition, and to all previous Balmoral Classic competitors. The two workshops will be held online via Zoom, on Sunday, November 14, from 11:00am to 12:30pm EST.

Gord Young from Ontario, sent us this photograph hot off the press from Scotland showing the booster COVID-19 vaccination programme roll out …