The very first Piping Times Annual is anticipated to be on sale from the end of this month. Currently, the publication – at a whopping 154 pages – is being printed and bound. A spokesman for the National Piping Centre (NPC) estimated the on sale date as being “possibly the 26th.”

The publication incudes articles and features from spring 2020 onwards, a period that impacted heavily on piping and on society in general.

Director of the NPC, Finlay MacDonald said: “We’re really pleased with it. The team here worked hard to produce it and we’re grateful to the contributors who have written pieces for this very first edition. It’s a publication that maintains a much loved name in piping but which incorporates the best of two magazines – the Piping Times and Piping Today.

“There’s so much good writing in it and I am certain that the piping world will enjoy reading it in the months to come. This is certainly a publication of quality and of high value.”

• Click here to pre-order the Piping Times Annual.

The New Zealand Pipe Band Championships have been cancelled for 2022.

The event was due to take place on March 11-12 but the on-going situation with the COVID-19 pandemic in the country has led the country’s pipe band association to cancel it outright.

There are four piping-related nominations for next months MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards:

Ali Levack (Musician of the Year and Video of the Year)

The Pipes of Christmas Virtual Concert of 2020 (Trad Music in the Media)

John Dew (Up and Coming Artist of the Year)

Craig Muirhead (Music Tutor of the Year)

The award ceremony takes place next month (December 4) at Glasgow’s Engine Works, and will be broadcast live on BBC ALBA at 9.00pm.

Bands performing on include Dàimh, Ìmar, Hannah Rarity, Strathspey Day Band. Organisers have decided to make no tickets available for sale due to the COVID-19 situation.

Scotland’s two bagpipe traditions were given tremendous global exposure last week.

Firstly, it was the bellows-blown smallpipes, courtesy of Brighde Chaimbeul, that opened the COP26 summit. Then, over the next few days, it was the turn of the GHB – the great highland bagpipe – that was seen and heard around the world as pipers welcomed guests, politicians and dignitaries at various venues around Glasgow.

The GHB and Border pipe were both to the fore on Saturday afternoon as an estimated 100,000 people took part in the COP26 Coalition protest march.

The latest showcase for the GHB came on Sunday night when the Scots Guards Association Pipe Band – under Pipe Major Iain Lowther, a Piping Teacher at the National Piping Centre – played at Edinburgh Castle for the Scottish Government’s dinner ahead of the General Assembly at COP26.

The previous evening, the band played for the same but at Stirling Castle – see photograph.

A six-part series of podcasts on the rich history of Gaelic song begins on Thursday (18th).

Margaret Bennett, Dòmhnall Uilleam Stewart and Deirdre Graham.

The series is the brainchild of singer Deirdre Graham and features interviews with a range of Gàidheals, who aim to enlighten listeners with their extensive cultural knowledge.

The first episode features lecturer Dòmhnall Uilleam Stewart exploring the development of Gaelic oral literature during the 17th and 18th centuries. Singer, Margaret Bennett is also featured.

• The series can be found here.

Scottish piper, Callum Galleitch has published a collection of ‘standard’ tunes for those pipers who are relatively new to the instrument.

Galleitch, of Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders, has included 75 easy tunes in his collection, including staples such as Devil in the Kitchen, Aspen Bank, Atholl Highlanders, Colin’s Cattle and Paddy’s Leather Breeches.

He said: “There is enough music for the learner to take their first steps in the competing repertoire, and though simpler tunes, there of the four piobaireachd include a Crunluath variation.”

A First Book of Modern Settings for the Great Highland Bagpipe is priced £16.00 and can be purchased from Amazon.

Also publishing a collection of music is Australian piper, Lincoln Hilton.

Ceòl Beag for the Great Highland Bagpipe Volume 1, is a 345-page collection of all of Hilton’s compositions to date.

The collection is priced $95 plus shipping and is available to buy from this Friday.

Lincoln Hilton won this year’s Gordon Duncan Memorial Piping Competition. He teaches piping at Haileybury College, an independent secondary school in Melbourne, Victoria.

He has produced a launch video for his book: