By Jeannie Campbell MBE
This year was the 98th Argyllshire Gathering. The tunes set for the Open and Clasp events in 1969 were Mrs MacLeod of Talisker’s Salute, Rory MacLeod’s Lament, My Dearest on Earth Give me your Kiss, The Stewarts’ White Banner, Lady MacDonald’s Lament, Lachlan MacNeill of Kintarbert’s Fancy, The Rout of the Lowland Campbell and MacNeill of Barra’s March. Four were to be submitted. For both Gold Medals the requirement was six tunes of the competitor’s choice.
Apart from the results, the Piping Times carried no in-depth report that year.
Piobaireachd, The Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal – 1. John MacDougall, Arbroath; 2. John Wilson, Campbeltown; 3. James MacGregor, Glenalmond; 4. Finlay MacNeill, Port Glasgow; 5, Hugh A. MacCallum, Bridge of Allan.
Judges: Dr. Kenneth MacKay, Major G. B. Murray and Nicol MacCallum.
Open Piobaireachd, A. &S.H. Cup – 1. William MacDonald, Benbecula; 2. John MacFadyen, Glasgow; 3. Dugald R. Murdoch, Blanefield; 4. Duncan MacFadyen, Johnstone. Judges: James Campbell, Capt. D. R. MacLennan and Lt. J.A. MacLellan.
At the time, John MacDougall was aged 32 and worked as a printer. His Gold Medal win gave him a double, as he won the Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting two years previously. A former Queen’s Own Cameron Highlander, MacDougall was the current the holder of the Silver Chanter of Dunvegan, which he won earlier that year.
Princess Anne paid a surprise visit. Accompanied by her host, Col. R.M.T. Campbell-Preston of Ardchattan Priory, Bonawe, the Princess arrived shortly after lunch and stayed until the end of the games programme. Later, she drove back to Oban for the annual games ball in the Argyllshire Gathering Hall.
At the games, Anne watched history being made when, late in the afternoon, the first woman dancer trod the boards on the field. For almost 100 years there has been a ban on women dancers, but schoolteacher Alison Walker from Kirkcaldy, won the new event, the Highland Fling for women to become the first woman ever to win the competition at the Gathering.
The piping results on the second day were:
March, Strathspey and Reel (Former Winners) – 1. John MacDougall; 2. Hugh A. MacCallum; 3. Iain MacFadyen, Rutherglen.
Judges: Capt. D. R. MacLennan and Major G. B.Murray.
Marches, The Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society’s Star – 1.Cpl. Iain M. Morrison, 1st Bn. Q.O. Hdrs.; 2. James MacGregor, Glenalmond; 3. WillieConnell, Hairmyres; 4. Angus J. MacLellan, City of Glasgow Police; 5. lain MacFadyen.
Judges: James Campbell, and Nicol MacCallum.
Strathspeys and Reels, The Argyllshire Gathering Silver Medal and the Angus John MacNeil, Barra, Memorial Cup – 1. Cpl. Iain M. Morrison; 2. John MacDougall; 3. James MacGregor; 4. Dugald B. MacNeill, Cambuslang.
Judges: Dr. Kenneth Mackay, and Lt. J.A. MacLellan.
Marches (Local) – 1. Alister MacFarlane, Oban.
Strathspeys and Reels (Local) – 1. Alister MacFarlane.
Judges: Nicol MacCallum, and Lt. J. A. MacLellan.
Iain Murdo Morrison was born in 1945 on the island of Lewis. His teachers were Pipe Major Kenneth MacLeod, Pipe Major Donald MacLeod, Pipe Major Donald MacLeod MBE, Pipe Major John Allan and then John MacLellan under whom he attended the Pipe Major’s course from October 1968-April 1969. He was a member of the Lovat Scouts TA as a boy then served with the Queen;s Own Highlanders from 1963-1990. From 1975-85 he was Pipe Major of the 1st Battalion then Pipe Major of the Scottish Division School of Music at Aberdeen from 1985-1990. At the Northern Meeting he won the Gold Medal in 1969 and the Clasp in 1990. He died in Stornoway in 2020.
Dugald B MacNeill was born in 1930 in Mid-Argyll but the family moved to Glasgow when he was 12. He enrolled immediately at the College of Piping where he was taught by Thomas Pearston and Seumas MacNeill. After graduating from university with honours in chemistry, his two years of National Service was with the Royal Signals (1953-55). By profession, he worked in iron and steel manufacturing. His connection with the College of Piping continued throughout his life as an evening class instructor and member of the executive. He succeeded Seumas MacNeill as Principal and editor of the Piping Times and after retiring from these positions continued as a director.
Dugald Murdoch, pictured below, was born in Glasgow in 1944 and began his piping tuition with Iain MacPhedran. After a year he went to the College where he became a pupil of John MacFadyen. In 1969 he married Ann-Marie Ottosson, a Swedish piper who had attended the College of Piping. They lived in Sweden, then New Zealand then returned to Sweden.
In October that year, a newspaper in the south east of England, the East Kent Times, reported on a Scottish show being held at Margate. The show starred Jimmy Shand’s band supported by various dancers and singers and piper, Alastair MacFarlane. The report stated, “One of Scotland’s top pipers is Pipe Major Alastair MacFarlane, who despite being 69 years old, is probably one of the most ‘with-it’ traditionalists north of the border. He won the piping event at the Argyllshire Gathering this year, has appeared on television, and recorded pop music on the bagpipes.” As the results show, Alastair MacFarlane had won the local piping at the Gathering.
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