Entries open for Dunvegan Medal and Skye Highland Games 2023

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Scenic landscape view of colorful buildings/houses in harbour of Portree town on Isle Of Skye in Scotland, United Kingdom. Popular tourist attraction/destination in Europe. Summer active holiday.

The Skye Highland Games takes place on Tuesday/Wednesday, August 8 and 9, 2023. Entry forms for the Dunvegan Medal and light music competitions can be downloaded here, and will be accepted in the two months between the beginning of April and the end of May.

Piping Convenor, Cameron MacFadyen, contacted bagpipe.news saying: “We are delighted to be welcoming back Malcolm MacRae to the judges’ bench after an absence of some four years as a result of the Covid restrictions. We are also able to announce increased prize money and, in response to representation from competitors, we have dropped The King’s Taxes from the list of Clasp tunes and also extended the tuning time to four minutes in the Dunvegan Medal competition.

“We’ve already got six entries for the Dunvegan Medal and the website only went live on Saturday, April 1, so places are going fast – I’m delighted to report! A list of successful applicants and a reserve list (if necessary) will be circulated to all entrants in early June.  In drawing up the list, the Piping Committee will take CPA gradings, previous attendance and placings at the Skye Games piping competitions into account. Entries for the Clasp Competition will be accepted up until the beginning of August.”

•The colourful buildings at Portree harbour on the Isle of Skye. The venue for the Games is The Lump, which is a sloping promontory which rises above the old quay, jutting into Loch Portree and giving picturesque views of the area.

Tuesday, August 8 events


Under 18 open

The entries for the U18 open Piobaireachd and MSR competitions will take place at Portree Primary School with a 10am start time.

Dunvegan Medal

The Dunvegan Medal competition starts at 8.30am at the Skye Gathering Hall, Portree. Competitors will submit four tunes from the list below to the Piping Convenor. The competitor will be asked to play one of these tunes by the judges.

Col. Jock Clasp

This competition is confined to current and previous holders of the Dunvegan Medal, and will be held at St Columba’s Parish Church, Portree, 7.30pm. Competitors will submit four tunes from those marked ** on the list below to the Piping Convenor. If the winner of this year’s Dunvegan Medal is known by 7pm, he/she will be invited to play in the Clasp. Competitors, therefore, are advised to prepare four of the specified tunes, which could then be offered, for both competitions.

List of MacCrimmon tunes:

  • Battle of Waternish, The **
  • Earl of Ross’s March, The **
  • Flame of Wrath for Patrick Caogach, A
  • Glen is Mine, The
  • Groat, The
  • I got a kiss of the King’s hand **
  • John Garve MacLeod of Raasay’s Salute **
  • King’s Taxes, The
  • Lament for Donald Bàn MacCrimmon **
  • Lament for Donald Doughal MacKay **
  • Lament for Donald of Laggan
  • Lament for MacLeod of Colbeck **
  • Lament for MacSwan of Roag **
  • Lament for Mary MacLeod
  • Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon **
  • Lament for the Children **
  • Lament for the Duke of Hamilton **
  • Lament for the Earl of Antrim **
  • Lament for the Harp Tree **
  • Lament for the Only Son
  • MacCrimmon Will Never Return
  • MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart
  • MacDonald’s Salute, The **
  • MacLeod of MacLeod’s Lament **
  • MacLeod of Raasay’s Salute
  • MacLeod’s Controversy
  • MacLeod’s Salute
  • Mrs MacLeod of Talisker’s Salute **
  • Pretty Dirk, The
  • Rory MacLoude’s Lament **
  • Salute on the Birth of Rory Mòr MacLeod, The
  • Too Long In This Condition

6/8 March, and Hornpipe & Jig 

The 6/8 March, and Hornpipe & Jig will commence at 8.30am in St Columba’s Church, Portree. Each piper plays one 6/8 March of own choice followed by a Hornpipe and Jig of own choice.  There will be on opportunity for competitors to re-tune between the March, and Hornpipe & Jig.


Wednesday, August 9 events


2/4 March (Kemble Star)                                                           

Heats begin at 9am. Heat 1 will take place in St Columba’s Church and Heat 2 will take place in the Skye Gathering Hall, Portree. Each piper submits three Marches of own choice and is asked to play one of them once through.

Strathspey & Reel (Peter MacFarquhar Star)

This competition runs in conjunction with the 2/4 March (Kemble Star). Heat 1 will take place in St Columba’s Church and Heat 2 will take place in the Skye Gathering Hall, Portree. Each piper submits three Strathspeys and three Reels of own choice and is asked to play one Strathspey & one Reel once through.

Pipers entering both competitions will play the 2/4 March first and, after an opportunity to re-tune, will play the Strathspey & Reel.

Finals: the top three performers from each heat (i.e. 6 competitors drawn from the two March heats and 6 competitors from the two S&R heats) will go forward to take part in the finals in St Columba’s Church starting at 1.30pm.  For the March Final, pipers will perform the unplayed two tunes from their original submission of three i.e. not the march played in the heats.  If a piper is in both finals he/she will be asked to play their two Marches, and then the Strathspeys and Reels rather than making separate visits to the platform.  There will be  an opportunity if desired to retune between the Marches and S&R.  As with the March final, in the S&R final competitors will play their two so-far unplayed S&Rs (once through) in order of their own choosing.

Prizes:              1st                     2nd                    3rd                    4th                    5th                    6th

Comp 1.            £140                 £100                 £70                   £40                   £20                   –

Comp 2.            £200                 £120                  £100                    –                     –                    –

Comp 3.            £60                   £40                   £30                   £20                   £15                  –

Comp 4.            £60                   £40                   £30                   £20                   £15                  –

Comp 5.            £70                   £50                   £40                   £30                   £20                £10

Comp 6.            £70                   £50                   £40                   £30                   £20                £10

Special Prizes

  • The piper with the highest points in the Ceòl beag (light music) competitions will win the Dr Allan MacDonald Cup + £200
  • The piper with the highest aggregate points in the Clasp and/or Dunvegan Medal + Ceòl Beag competitions will win the Highland Society of London award of £500.  In the event of a tie points in the Clasp will count double.

Points for placings in the Ceòl Mòr competitions are as follows: 1st – 10 points, 2nd – 8, 3rd – 6, 4th – 4, 5th – 2. Note that the last two placings do not apply in the Clasp competition.

Points for placings in the Ceòl Beag competitions are as follows: 1st – 6, 2nd – 5, 3rd – 4, 4th – 3, 5th – 2, 6th – 1. In the event of a tie, weighting will be given to the competitor scoring highest in the Ceòl Mòr events.

Competition Rules

  • Any competitor who is unable to attend the competition after entry must notify the Convenor, at the latest on the day before the competition.  Failure to do this without reason may result in refusal of entry in subsequent years.
  • Competitors must appear in Highland Dress, and remain so attired until after the presentation of prizes.  Jackets should be worn in the piobaireachd events.
  • Competitors must be in attendance not later than the advertised reporting time, or other notified time, failing which they will only be allowed to play at the discretion of the stewards.
  • The order of play will be adhered to as far as is possible, but the committee reserve the right to alter this if, in the opinion of the Piping Convenor, circumstances so require.
  • Competitors, who are not known to the committee, or who do not hold a CPA grade, are required to submit evidence of success in other competitions, or a recommendation from a recognised tutor.

Failure to observe any of these rules, or the instructions of the stewards, may result in disqualification and/or refusal of entry in a subsequent year.

While every effort will be made to ensure that the competitions run as detailed above, the Piping Convenor reserves the right to make any changes necessitated by unforeseen circumstances. 

  • entries for the Dunvegan Medal and light music competitions will be accepted in the two months between April and the end of May. A list of successful applicants and a reserve list (if necessary) will be circulated to all entrants by mid-June.
  • entries by post or email will be accepted and an inclusive entry fee of £15 should accompany entries.  Please send to the convenor at the address below.
  • if a legible e-mail address is given the entry will be acknowledged by e-mail, if no e-mail address is given, acknowledgement will not be sent out unless you have included a stamped addressed envelope.
  • please make all cheques payable to Skye Games Committee. Regrettably, no late entries will be accepted.

Piping Convenor: Cameron MacFadyen, email: cameron.macfadyen@btinternet.com

For more information competitors should refer to the Games website https://www.skye-highland-games.co.uk