Pipe Band retro pictorial: British Pipe Band Championships 2013

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It’s Hogmanay 2023, and this year will be fondly remembered by the guys and gals of Peoples Ford Boghall and Bathgate Pipe Band as they won their first ever Grade 1 Worlds, and it was a pleasure to be there and watch them celebrate with wild abandon.

But for the rest of the pipe band world, 2023 might be when the diminution of the major competitions began. Only four majors were held in 2023: the European, the United Kingdom, the Scottish and the Worlds. Coming out of lockdown in 2022, the British Championship was hosted at Greenock by Inverclyde Council, but no regional councils took up the offer to host the British in 2023.

When the RSPBA announced the cancellation of the British in February of 2023, the press statement said the organisation was: “…now working on securing Promoters and Venues for the 2024 season and beyond”. But 10 months later, the pipe band world is facing 2024 with the prospect of only being two major competition dates in the whole year.

In 2013 the British Pipe Band Championships were held in Bathgate, and it was the most uninspiring venue to host a major championship – Paisley is a close second. Dumbarton can be wet and wild at times, but the impressive backdrop of Dumbarton Rock always makes up for dreich weather.

Bathgate was a public park with a backdrop of bouncy castles, ice cream and vendor vans with bad typography and a garish industrial unit behind the Grade One bands – not ideal when taking photos. But oh how we might be yearning for those bouncy castles if more 2024 majors can’t be rescued!

The result of the Grade One competition was: 1. Field Marshal Montgomery, 2. Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia, 3. Inveraray and District, 4. St Laurence O’Toole, 5. Scottish Power, 6. Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia.

Buchan Peterson won Grade 2, Grade 3a went to Coalburn I.O.R., Grade 3b to Wallacestone and District, Grade 4A to St Colmcille’s – Tullamore, Grade 4B to City of Newcastle, Juvenile winners were George Watson’s College, and Novice Juvenile was won by Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia.

•Photos: JohnSlavin@designfolk.com/Bagpipe.news