South Lanarkshire student Cameron May has claimed the prestigious title of Highlands and Islands Young Piper of the Year

Just ten years after taking up the pipes, 20-year-old Cameron May from Dillarburn, South Lanarkshire, has been named Highlands and Islands Young Piper of the Year.

Six pipers vied for the honour last week on the Isle of Benbecula. 

Cameron, a civil engineering student at the University of Glasgow and Pipe Sergeant with Coalburn Pipe Band, clinched the top prize with first place finishes in the senior Strathspey & Reel and Hornpipe & Jig.

He and his friend, Luke Kennedy, 20, from Strathaven, travelled to the islands to compete at South Uist Highland Games and the Young Piper of the Year, which took place on July 20.

“It’s a good standard and anyone could win the competition,” reflected Cameron.

“It makes the trip and all the practice worthwhile! I’m really happy.”

His successful trip to the islands was only one stop in a busy summer of competition.

“I try to do all the big solo competitions and get round the Highland Games in the summer. It has been a good season so far, with quite a few prizes, including, recently, at Blair Atholl.”

Cameron first learnt to play with his father, Robin May, then started tuition under Pipe Major Donald Williams. He had lessons with Pipe Major Ross Cowie when he was in high school and now receives piobaireachd tuition from Robert Wallace.

He is now looking ahead to more games in the coming weeks, the World Pipe Band Championships, and later in the year, solo competitions at Oban and Inverness.

1 Cameron May from Dillarburn overall Young Piper of the Year
•Cameron May from Dillarburn overall Young Piper of the Year.

Comann Phìobaireachd Uibhist agus Bharraigh organises the annual Young Piper of the Year competition, which is open to pipers under 30.

Six took part in the senior section, while the others, ranging across Open Chanter, Novice Piping and categories for Under 15 and Under 18, were also well contested. 35 young pipers took part altogether, performing before judges Pipe Major Donald John MacIntyre, Dr Angus MacDonald, Mike Grey and Sir Patrick Grant.

Luke Kennedy from Strathaven senior Ceòl Mòr
•Luke Kennedy from Strathaven was the winner of the senior Ceòl Mòr.

Benbecula piper Kevin Beaton finished first the the senior March, while Luke Kennedy, who travelled to the competition with Cameron May, won the senior Ceòl Mòr.

Kevin Beaton from Benbecula senior March
•Kevin Beaton from Benbecula won the senior March

Shonnie Beaton, 11, from Benbecula, won the Open Chanter, taking home the Uist Laundry and Cleaning Services Trophy and a McCallum Bagpipes chanter donated by competition sponsor, MacMillan Spirits Co.

Shonnie Beaton from Benbecula Open Chanter
•Shonnie Beaton from Benbecula won the Open Chanter competition.

Barra brothers Seonaidh MacLean and Dòmhnall Eachann MacLean
•Barra brothers Seonaidh MacLean and Dòmhnall Eachann MacLean.

Seonaidh MacLean, 10, from Barra, won the Nanette Burt Memorial Trophy for Novice Piping. His brother, Dòmhnall Eachann MacLean, 12, almost swept the Under 15 section, coming first in the March, Strathspey and Reel and Ceòl Mòr. Seonaidh Forrest, 12, from Skye, took home the only prize in the Under 15 section to evade Dòmhnall Eachann MacLean, the Shell Bay Trophy for Jig.

Seonaidh Forrest from Skye Under 15 Jig
•Seonaidh Forrest from Skye won the Under 15 Jig.

15-year-old Hector Finlayson, from Kyle of Lochalsh, impressed the judges with first place finishes in every category in the Under 18 section, claiming the Colonel Greig Trophy.

Hector Finlayson from Kyle of Lochalsh overall Under 18
•Hector Finlayson from Kyle of Lochalsh was the overall Under 18 winner.

Comann Phìobaireachd Uibhist agus Bharraigh chairman, Angus MacMillan, said: “It is great to see such a close contest between a talented group of young pipers. Myself and the committee extend our congratulations to Cameron May and all the other competitors. We also wish to thank the judges, sponsors and all the volunteers who helped in any way with the organisation of the competition.”

PRIZEWINNERS

Please find below a full list of prizewinners and trophy winners for the Highlands and Islands Young Piper of the Year 2023.

Open Chanter

  1. Shonnie Beaton (Uist Laundry and Cleaning Services Trophy)
  2. Charlene Nicholson
  3. Ross Irving

Novice Piping

  1. Seonaidh MacLean (Nanette Burt Memorial Trophy)
  2. Niall MacRury
  3. Millie Shepherd
  4. Donna Campbell
  5. Liam Beaton
  6. Ciorstaidh MacLean

March (Under 15)

  1. Dòmhnall Eachann MacLean (MacLennan’s Self Service Trophy)
  2. Seonaidh Forrest
  3. Calum Beaton
  4. Charles MacLennan
  5. Calum MacNeil
  6. Craig MacNeil

Strathspey & Reel (Under 15)

  1. Dòmhnall Eachann MacLean (An Clar Fuine Trophy)
  2. Seonaidh Forrest
  3. Calum Beaton
  4. Laura MacLeod
  5. Calum MacNeil
  6. Charles MacLennan

Jig (Under 15)

  1. Seonaidh Forrest (Shell Bay Trophy)
  2. Calum MacNeil
  3. Dòmhnall Eachann MacLean
  4. Charles MacLennan
  5. Laura MacLeod
  6. Calum Beaton

Ceòl Mòr (Under 15)

  1. Dòmhnall Eachann MacLean (Alfred Morrison Memorial Trophy)
  2. Seonaidh Forrest
  3. Charles MacLennan
  4. Laura MacLeod
  5. Calum Beaton
  6. Craig MacNeil

Overall Under 15 March, Strathspey & Reel Winner

Dòmhnall Eachann MacLean (Castlebay Hotel Trophy)

Overall Under 15 Local Winner

Dòmhnall Eachann MacLean (Bank of Scotland Trophy)

March (Under 18)

  1. Hector Finlayson (Am Pàipear Trophy)
  2. Mairead Galbraith
  3. Rachel Sinclair
  4. Caitaidh MacLean
  5. Isabel Beaton

Strathspey & Reel (Under 18)

  1. Hector Finlayson (Hebridean Smolts Trophy)
  2. Rachel Sinclair
  3. Mairead Galbraith
  4. Caitaidh MacLean
  5. Isabel Beaton

Hornpipe & Jig (Under 18)

  1. Hector Finlayson (Donald Morrison Memorial trophy)
  2. Rachel Sinclair
  3. Caitaidh MacLean
  4. Isabel Beaton
  5. Rose Coull

Ceòl Mòr (Under 18)

  1. Hector Finlayson
  2. Mairead Galbraith

Overall Under 18

Hector Finlayson (Colonel Greig Trophy)

Overall Under 18 Local

Rachel Sinclair and Mairead Galbraith (Glasgow Uist and Barra Association Trophy)

Junior Dress and Deportment

Dòmhnall Eachann MacLean (Flora Steele Memorial Trophy)

March (Under 30)

  1. Kevin Beaton (Clachan Beag Hotel Trophy)
  2. Cameron May
  3. Piers Dover
  4. Angus MacPhee

Strathspey & Reel (Under 30)

  1. Cameron May (Royal Air Force Benbecula Trophy)
  2. Kevin Beaton
  3. Luke Kennedy
  4. Angus MacPhee

Hornpipe & Jig (Under 30)

  1. Cameron May (Donald MacAulay Memorial Trophy)
  2. Luke Kennedy
  3. Angus MacPhee
  4. Kevin Beaton
  5. Calum MacMillan

Ceòl Mòr (Under 30)

  1. Luke Kennedy (Dark Island Hotel Trophy)
  2. Cameron May
  3. Angus MacPhee
  4. Calum MacMillan

Highlands and Islands Young Piper of the Year

Cameron May (Gaelic Whiskies Trophy)