1886/87

BY JEANNIE CAMPBELL MBE

The 1886 Scottish Gathering was on June 26 at Stamford Bridge where according to the reports: “the ground basked in the summer sunshine and 3,000 people attended. During the day the band of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, under the direction of bandmaster J. Grant, performed a choice selection of Scotch airs.”  The Duchess of Athole presented the prizes. The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News had several sketches of the gathering.

The results of the piping and dancing competitions were:

Pipe Music (All comers) Piobaireachd:
1. W. MacLennan, Edinburgh; 2. R. Meldrum, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders; 3. J.C. Paton, Caledonian Asylum; 4. John MacColl, Oban.
Marches, Strathspeys and Reels:
1. John MacColl, Oban; 2. W. Robb, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders; 3. D. MacRae.
Amateurs. Marches:
1. A.L. Reith, London Scottish; 2. 2. K.T. MacKenzie, London Scottish.
Strathspeys and Reels:
1. A.F. Ferguson, London Scottish; 2. J. McLennan, L.N.C.C.C.
Dancing (All comers) Highland Fling:
1. John MacColl, Oban; 2. John McNeill, Edinburgh; 3. W. MacLennan, Edinburgh.
Gillie Callum:
1. John MacColl, Oban; 2. John McNeill, Edinburgh; 3. W. MacLennan, Edinburgh.
Strathspey and Reel:
1. W. MacLennan, Edinburgh; 2. John MacColl, Oban; 3. John McNeill, Edinburgh.
Amateurs. Gillie Callum:
1. A. MacKay, Club of True Highlanders; 2. W. Hastie, L.F.
Highland Fling:
1. A.L. Reith, London Scottish; 2. A. MacKay, Club of True Highlanders.
Strathspey and Reel:
1. A. C. White, L.F. 2. W. Hastie, L.F.; 3. A. MacKay, C.T.H. 

•William Robb (1863-1909), who placed second in the MSR above, enlisted with the 93rd Highlanders and was Pipe Major 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 1887-91 and Pipe Major 1st Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 1891-94. Later he served four years as Sergeant Piper with the 4th Militia Batt HLI. He is remembered as the composer of When the Battle is Over and The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Modder River. He won the Argyllshire Gathering Gold Medal in 1893.


The 1887 Scottish Gathering was on June 18. Again it was at Stamford Bridge and the arrangements were much the same as it previous years. The weather was good, with bright sunshine and a good attendance. The judges for the Highland competitions were Major Roderick MacKenzie, Major Colin MacKenzie, Richard A. Fraser, Duncan Cumming, Hugh M. Cumming, James Gow, Ronald Halley, A. MacDonald Jeffrey and Duncan Stewart. The band of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers under their leader James Douglas discoursed sweet music “and the jolly pipers pealed out their jubilee strains in a manner that evidently touched Scottish hearts. It will be generally admitted that these pipers are all taken out of the solid. Hurrah for Earl Leven’s own! The wee chappies from the Caledonian School gained golden opinions from all sorts of people when their pipes began to play. How they relished the cakes and ale provided by that prince of good fellows, Doctor Daniell, of the London Athletic club.”

The results were: Pipe Music (All comers)
1. John MacColl, Bonawe and John MacDougall Gillies, Aberdeen, equal; 3. Angus MacRae, Lochearnhead.
Marches, Strathspeys and Reels:
1. John MacColl, Bonawe; 2.John MacDougall Gillies, Aberdeen; 3. Angus MacRae, Lochearnhead.
Amateurs: Marches:
1. P. H. Bett, 2. A. L. Reith, 3. Murdo MacKenzie.
Strathspeys and Reels:
1. P. H. Bett, 2. A. L. Reith, 3. Murdo MacKenzie. 

Dancing (All comers) Highland Fling:
1. Angus MacRae, Lochearnhead; 2. John MacColl, Bonawe; 3. John MacKenzie, Glasgow.
Gillie Callum:
1. John MacColl, 2. Angus MacRae, 3. John MacKenzie.
Strathspey and Reel:
1. John McNeill, Edinburgh; 2. Angus MacRae, 3. John MacKenzie.

As before, the prizes were presented by the Duchess of Athole.

•Dr Patrick Hunter Bett (1857-1903) was one of the three piper sons of James Bett, who was factor to Lochiel and then to the Marquis of Breadalbane. Patrick’s brother James produced a collection of music and all three brothers judged piping and dancing. They were taught by Duncan MacDougall but Patrick studied medicine in Edinburgh where he had additional tuition from William MacLennan. Patrick judged at the Northern Meeting but on the way there in 1903 he was taken ill on the train and died in the Inverness hospital.

Late that year another gathering was proposed. This appeared in the Northern Chronicle on August 31: “Proposed Highland Gathering in London. We understand that it is proposed to hold a series of Highland games in London, during the first week of October, in the Olympic, a building which is capable of accommodating a vast number of people. The prize-list promises to be one of the most attractive ever submitted at a similar gathering, and the sports will be under distinguished, if not Royal, patronage. The arrangements are to be made under the superintendence of Mr T.G. Henderson, who has now acquired wide-spread fame as an organiser of Highland games.” No reports of this gathering have been found.

• Part 1
• Part 2
• Part 3
• Part 4
• Part 5
• Part 6
• Part 7
• Part 8
• Part 8-2

• Part 9