THE finest solo piping competition in the world has been staged in Inverness attracting more overseas junior competitors than ever before and a record number of entries overall.
The two-day Northern Meeting Piping Competition took place in Eden Court Theatre last week with Angus McColl from Oban being given the honour of winning the overall prize of the Northern Meeting Quaich.
Winner of The Clasp was Callum Beaumont from Dollar and winner of the Gold Medal was Peter McCalister from Dunblane
Alan Forbes, Convener of the piping committee said the event which has been held in the Highland capital since 1841 was a huge success.
“We had a record entry for our competitions and we enjoyed two days of outstanding piping. We had over 100 competitors taking part and at any one time there were eight different competitions taking place.
“As always, we had a large contingent from overseas which adds to the colour of the occasion and this year we had more junior pipers travelling from across the globe. This is great to see and hopefully means their enthusiasm and appetite for competing at the Northern Meeting Competition will see it continue for many more years to come.”
He added: “I want to congratulate all our winners and extend particular congratulations to Angus for once again winning the Northern Meeting Quaich.”
Two new trophies were also launched at the event – one for juniors gifted by the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation for the best piper from the Highlands and Moray. This was won by Inverness piper Angus MacPhee.
Angus also won the Under 18 Piobaireachd whilst Kyle Cameron from Rosemarkie was the Under 15 Winner.
Whilst the second new trophy for a piper serving in the armed forces which was donated in honour of the Lieutenant Colonel DJS Murray who died in January 2017 was won by Pipe Major Ross McCrindle , Scots Guard. He is the Senior Pipe Major at the Army School of Bagpipe Music in Edinburgh and was the Lone Piper at this year’s Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Lt Col Murray was a most distinguished soldier and piper and the trophy was donated by his family.
There was a special gift also presented to Jack Lee from Canada for his commitment to the contest. Jack Lee has been travelling to Inverness to take part in the contest for 40 years.
Alan said: “Having someone coming year in year out all the way from Vancouver for 40 years really does show how special and prestigious this contest is. However, we also wanted to recognise Jack’s commitment to our competition and to the encouragement of piping in Canada. Travelling from overseas is costly, yet every year Jack has made the journey to compete with us.”
The competition is organised by the Northern Meeting Piping Committee. Its Trustees are chaired by Major General Seymour Monro.
He thanked the supporters of the event, but also spoke of the challenges of funding.
“The competition is a hugely enjoyable occasion and we are extremely grateful for the support of the councillors and especially those on the Common Good Fund Committee who continue to give the Competition a much-needed annual award. The links between the City and the Competition are strong thanks largely to the enthusiastic support of the present and recent Provosts. However, we still need to work hard behind the scenes to raise the profile of the competition and we are always looking for ways to attract more spectators.
He added: “Our other challenge is funding. Despite being an efficient and largely voluntary organisation, the annual operating costs for the past three years have run at a loss. This is not a drama, but it’s surely not right that a charity running a world class event should face a deficit annually despite its very best efforts. We are enormously grateful to the Inverness Common Good Fund, but I do appeal to other organisations, businesses and individuals in Inverness, the Highlands and Moray to consider whether they could sponsor or donate to the Competition.”