A musical tribute was paid today to the late Alex Duncan, who died in September 2020, by the pipers of the Atholl Highlanders.

Alex, a member of the Atholl Highlanders, died from “sky-high levels” of cadmium in his body when he died aged 26. The inquiry into his death is on-going.

The Atholl Highlanders is Europe’s last remaining private regiment and at its annual parade today – held in front of hundreds of visitors and in the presence of the Marquis of Tullibarine, standing in for his father the Duke of Atholl – the pipers played one of Alex’s favourite piece of ceòl mòr, Lament for Mary MacLeod.

Watch a snatch of the performance here:

Meanwhile, during the parade, Ian Duncan, Alex’s father, handed over as Pipe Major to Gary West. Gary, who was born and brought up in nearby Pitlochry, becomes the ninth Pipe Major of the Atholl Highlanders. Gary’s brother, Neil, took over from Alister Walker as Drum Major of the regiment. Both Ian and Alister retired after last year’s parade. Ian took over as Pipe Major in 2002 from Sandy Spence.

Gary West is the President of the Lowland & Border Pipers’ Society and presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Pipeline’ programme. He has been a member of the Atholl Highlanders for many years.

Today’s parade was held, as ever, as the regiment’s spiritual headquarters, Blair Castle in Perthshire, Scotland, the ‘home’ of the Glenfiddich piping championships.

Tomorrow (Sunday) sees the return of an in-person Atholl Gathering, the first major competition in the solo piping calendar. A full entry is expected across the grades. Bagpipe.news will bring you the results when we have them.

The Atholl Highlanders’ parade in 2021 when Alister Walker and Ian Duncan announced their retirement from the regiment.