The history of the Argyllshire Gathering, part 36



By Jeannie Campbell MBE

In 1970, the Gathering took place on August 26-27. The set tunes for the Open and Clasp competitions were The Big Spree (including tripling and Crunluath variations), Lord Lovat’s Lament, Craigellachie, Nameless (Hiharin Odin Hiharin Dro), Clanranald’s Salute and The Prince’s Salute. Four were to be submitted. Tunes were set for the Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting but not for the Argyllshire Gathering.

The results were:

Double Gold Medallist Andrew Wright pictured in 1970.

Open Piobaireachd (A. & S. H. Cup) – 1. John  MacFadyen, Glasgow; 2. Donald Macpherson, Exmouth; 3. John Wilson, Campbeltown; 4. Cpl. Iain M. Morrison, Queen’s Own Highlanders.
Judges: Dr. Kenneth A. MacKay, Major G. B. Murray, Pipe Major Nicol MacCallum.

Gold Medal – 1. Andrew Wright, Paisley; 2. Kenneth J. MacLean, Barrhead; 3. John A. MacLeod, Canada; 4. Hugh A. MacCallum, Bridge of Allan; 5. John Garroway, Glasgow.
Judges: Capt. John A. MacLellan, M.B.E., Pipe Major Ronald MacCallum, M.B.E., Pipe Major A. MacDonald.

Marches, The Argyllshire Gathering Silver Medal – 1. Jimmy MacGregor, Glenalmond; 2. Angus J. MacLellan, City of Glasgow Police; 3. Arthur G. Gillies, Kilchrenan; 4. L/Cpl. Jimmy Banks, Scots Guards; 5. Willie Connell, Hairmyres.
Judges: Dr. Kenneth A. MacKay, Pipe Major Ronald MacCallum, M.B.E.

Strathspeys and Reels, The Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society’s Star and the Angus John MacNeil, Barra, Memorial Cup – I. Arthur G. Gillies; 2. Iain MacLellan, City of Glasgow Police; 3. William J. Morrison, Bornish, South Uist; 4. Andrew Wright; 5. James Young, Cumbernauld.
Judges: Major G. B. Murray, Pipe Major A. MacDonald.

March, Strathspey and Reel (Former Winners) – 1. Hugh A. MacCallum; 2. John MacDougall, Arbroath; 3. John Wilson, Campbeltown.
Judges: Capt. John A.  MacLellan, M.B.E. and Pipe Major Nicol MacCallum.

Marches (Local) – 1. Hamish G. Ross, Lochgilphead.
Strathspeys and Reels (Local) – I. Hamish G. Ross.
Judges for the local events were Pipe Major Ronald MacCallum, M.B.E. and Pipe Major A. MacDonald.

A group of the competitors at the 1970 Argyllshire Gathering. Left to right: Jack Taylor, Iain Morrison, Ed Neigh (partially obscured), Angus J. MacLellan, Jimmy Banks, John Wilson, Arthur Gillies, John Graham, Hugh MacCallum, Bill Wotherspoon, Bert Barron, Chris Jensen and Kenny MacLean. At the far left behind the group is James MacIntosh. Also in the background are John Wilson’s parents.

James Milne Banks was born in 1946 in Cardenden, Fife and was taught by his grandfather, Pipe Major James Herd from the age of nine until he enlisted, aged 17, with the Scots Guards. He received further tuition from Captain John MacLellan (1969-70), Pipe Major A. R. MacDonald (1971-72) and Captain Andrew Pitkeathly (1979). He was Pipe Major of the 1st Battalion from 1980-1985 then Pipe Major of the Guards Piping School until 1987. After leaving the Army he became an instructor at the Piping Centre in 2001.

For the 1971 Open and Clasp events, competitors were required to submit four from a list of six tunes which were: A Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick, The Earl of Ross’s March, MacKenzie of Gairloch’s Lament, The MacLean’s March, The Battle of Waterloo and Abercairney’s Salute. For both Gold Medals the requirement was for six tunes of the competitor’s own choice.

Rona MacDonald.

Rona MacDonald from South Uist was not allowed to enter for the competitions and in her support an outraged Seumas MacNeill wrote in he Piping Times: “The mind boggles at the injustice here. Any man or youth, decrepit or immature, no matter how awful a piper, no matter how ghastly an instrument, be he Scot, Irish, Breton, Canadian, New Zealander, Bantu or Hottentot, may compete for the coveted Gold Medals. But a Highland lassie, a MacDonald of Clanranald, full of Gaelic language and Celtic culture, trained in the purest piping traditions, is not allowed to be heard. If this cannot be put right then we truly labour in vain.”

1970 was the centenary year of the games and was marked by two notable occurrences: the worst day for the games in memory and the worst standard in the Open Piobaireachd event. The playing on the second day was affected by the atrocious weather but, as always, some pipers manage to overcome the elements and produce music as if the sun were shining brightly for them.

The Gold Medal was held indoors. Seumas MacNeill felt it was too long a competition and should be split in future. “It became obvious,” he wrote “that judges were asking for the short tune every time in a hopeless attempt to finish the contest in reasonable time. Nevertheless, the prize-winners all played very well, and this would have been remembered as a very good contest if 20 of the competitors had been given a separate event of their own.

The winner, Finlay MacNeill, showed that he is capable of reaching the heights, but he was closely followed home by James MacIntosh – who had better be careful lest he be labelled as a ‘hard­ luck’ piper.”


Gold Medal – 1. Finlay MacNeill (Lament for John Garve MacLeod of Raasay); 2. James MacIntosh (Beloved Scotland); 3. Jack Taylor (In Praise of Morag); 4. Kenneth MacLean (Mary’s Praise): 5. Ian Duncan (Seaforth’s Salute).
Judges Dr. Kenneth A. MacKay, Nicol MacCallum and Robert U. Brown.

Open Piobaireachd – 1.John Wilson (The Battle of Waterloo); 2, Duncan MacFadyen (The MacLean’s March): 3, lain MacFadyen (Flame of Wrath). Fourth prize was withheld.
Judges: Ronald MacCallum, John MacFadyen and John MacLellan.

March, Strathspey and Reel (Former Winners) – 1.Hugh MacCallum (John MacFadyen of Melfort, Tulloch Castle, Alex. C. MacGregor); 2. Arthur Gillies; 3. Cpl. Iain Morrison.
Judges: Ronald MacCallum and Robert U. Brown.

March – I. Willie Morrison (Craigendarroch); 2, Pipe Major Lindon Ingram (The Highland Wedding); 3. Arthur Gillies (Leaving Lunga); 4. Iain McLeod (Royal Scottish Pipers); 5. lain MacPherson* (The Braes of Brecklet).
Judges: John A. MacLellan and Nicol MacCallum.
*For Iain MacPherson, this was his first time playing in a competition since 1954.

Strathspey and Reel – 1.Kenneth MacDonald (Shepherd’s Crook, Smith of Chilliechassie); 2. Dugald B. MacNeill (Arniston Castle, Alex C. MacGregor); 3. Duncan MacFadyen (Caledonian Canal, The Blackbird); 4, Iain McLeod (Inveraray Castle, The Grey Bob); 5. Hugh Macinnes (John Roy Stewart, Ca’ the Ewes).
Judges: Dr. Kenneth A. MacKay and John MacFadyen.

Local March – 1. Angus MacKechnie, Islay; 2. Iain Henderson, Dunoon; 3. Angus MacLennan, Barcaldine.

Local Strathspey and Reel – 1. Angus MacKechnie; 2. Iain Henderson; 3. Not awarded.

Jack Taylor pictured at Piping Live! 2021.

Jack Lorimer Taylor was born at St Andrews in 1950. PM Robert Barron taught him from 1961-67, then Robert U. Brown from 1967-70 and Robert B. Nicol from 1967-71. He won the Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting in 1973. By profession he was a doctor.

Ian George Duncan was born in Fyvie, Aberdeenshire in 1950. His father, Jock taught him first of all followed by James Robertson of Banff, William Hepburn, Dr. Kenneth MacKay, Bob Brown, Bob Nicol and Bert Barron. He was Pipe Major of the Aberdeen OTC and Pipe Major of the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band from 1974-2001. He will retire as Pipe Major of the Atholl Highlanders at this year’s Atholl Gathering. By profession he was a mathematics teacher then from 1979 the schools piping instructor for Dundee.

Lindon Maurice Ingram, better known as Dixie, was born in 1942 and served with the Scots Guards. From 1971 he was Pipe Major of the 1st Battalion then from 1978-81 and 1983-85 Pipe Major of the Guards Piping School.

Iain McLeod was born in Edinburgh in 1931. After tuition at George Heriot’s school he had a year with Willie Ross in 1945 and later a year with Donald MacLeod in the early 1960s. His two years of National Service was with the Royal Scots Greys (1949-51). He then joined the Edinburgh Police and was Pipe Major of the band from 1959 to 1976, winning the World Championship in 1963, 1964, 1971, 1972 and 1975. After retiring in 1976 he was in business as Gillanders and McLeod, bagpipe makers and was Pipe Major of Babcock Renfrew Pipe Band that became British Caledonian Airways. He died in Edinburgh in 2017.

Dixie Ingram.

Hugh MacInnes was born in Glasgow in 1949 and was taught by Eddie McLellan at the College of Piping. He was Pipe Major of Toyota, British Caledonian Airways and Scottish Power pipe bands. He died in 2002.

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• Part 4
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• Part 6
• Part 7
• Part 8
• Part 9
• Part 10
• Part 11
• Part 12
• Part 13
• Part 14
• Part 15
• Part 16
• Part 17
• Part 18
• Part 19
• Part 20

• Part 21
• Part 22
• Part 23
• Part 24
• Part 25
• Part 26
• Part 27
• Part 28
• Part 29
• Part 30
• Part 31
• Part 32
• Part 33
• Part 34
• Part 35