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The National Piping Centre exists to promote the study of the music and history of the Highland Bagpipe.
Patron HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, KG, KT, GCB.
Founders: Sir Brian Ivory CVO, CBE, FRSE, FRSA, MA, CA - Lady Ivory, DL - Sandy Grant Gordon, CBE.    Read More

  • Events News

Cpt John MacLellan Memorial Trust Dinner - Tickets On Sale Now

Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Cpt John A MacLellan MBE Memorial Trust Dinner 2018.  This fantastic event will take place on Sunday 26th August 2018 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Edinburgh

Starting at 17.30 for pre-dinner drinks, then a 3 course dinner followed by 5 of the top pipers in the world, for only £40 per person.
This year's competitors are:
Last year's winner Faye Henderson
The 2017 Glenfiddich Champion Jack Lee
The 2017 Silver Chanter Winner Cameron Drummond
The 2017 Clasp and 3 times winner of this event Iain Speirs
The 2017 Open Piobaireadchd winner at Oban Glenn Brown

Judge: Andrew Wright 
Fear-an-Tigh:Euan Anderson

To order your tickets please contact the event organiser Tina Anderson via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

European Championships - Inveraray and District crowned winners!

Inveraray & District Pipe Band have been crowned European Champions at Piping At Forres.

Inveraray celebrated their win for the second year in a row at the European Pipe Band Championships which was held in Forres in Moray for the final time on Saturday following a six-year run.

Competitors and spectators were delighted when it was announced the Championships would be staying in the Highlands when Alan James, Chieftain of the event, revealed it will moving to Inverness for the next three years. 

Alan James, who performed the role of Chieftain but is also Chairman of Forres Events Limited which has organised Piping At Forres since 2013, said he was delighted the Championships were staying in the area.

“First of all I want to say how well today’s event has gone. The level of expertise and the professionalism shown by all the competitors has been tremendous. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening and watching the bands perform and, as chieftain, I was lucky enough to do a full tour of the park meaning I got to meet with stallholders, sponsors and visitors. We were delighted to have over a thousand young pipers as well as a record number of young Highland Dancers. Everyone seems to have enjoyed their time at Piping At Forres today.

“I would like to thank the organising committee and the hundreds of volunteers who have worked so hard over the last six years to make the Championships such great events enjoyed by thousands of people and bringing millions of pounds of economic benefit to the local area.”
He added: “It has also been an honour to be able to announce that the Championships will be moving just along the road to Inverness. This is great news for the Highlands that the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association have chosen to locate the European Pipe Band Championships in Inverness from 2019. This will continue to encourage the pipe bands from the Highlands and Islands as well as the North East to attend.  
“We wish the new organisers all the best for the next three years and we look forward to attending and showing our support at the Championships in 2019.”

The event in Inverness will be organised by LCC Live Event Services and will be held at Bught Park on June 29 2019.
Les Kidger, Director of LCC Live, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be bringing the European Pipe Band Championships to Inverness. Not only will the event bring significant economic benefit to the city, but it will showcase Inverness and the surrounding area to visitors from across Europe for one of the most illustrious events in the Scottish calendar.”

Piping At Forres which is sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky was attended by thousands of pipers, drummers and visitors from all over the world including a band from Australia.

Ian Embleton, chief executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, said he was thrilled with how the final Piping At Forres went: "We have enjoyed an incredible day at Piping At Forres. I am very sad that we will not be coming to Forres next year, however I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome the people of Forres have given us over the last six years. The Championships have been very popular with the bands and we have made many friends in this area. I hope that we may be invited back sometime in the future.”

Alasdair Henderson, pipe sergeant with the band said: “It was one of the strongest performances we have ever given. We are delighted.”


Vacancy: Drumming Tutor with Garnock Valley Pipes and Drums

The Garnock Valley Pipes and Drums are looking to appoint a Drumming Tutor for 8 hours a week during the school day.  The successful candidate will work in conjunction with the Steering Group, the local schools and the Piping Tutor to develop a dynamic pipes and drums project in the Garnock Valley.  The teaching would be aimed at pupils from both Primary and Secondary schools.  

This post is initially funded till June 2019 and will be reviewed at this time.  The rate of pay is £25.00 per hour on a self-employed basis.  Expressions of interest along with an appropriate CV should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Tuesday 12th June with interviews week beginning 18th June..

Livestreaming of the Donald MacDonald Cuach from Armadale and a new Clarsach Competition

The Donald MacDonald Cuach piobaireachd competition, now in its 32nd year, will bring together five renowned pipers from across Scotland on 15 June, and will be livestreamed on their facebook page for the first time. The following day introduces a major new competition for Senior Clàrsach, where four leading harpists will compete for the Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize. 

The performances will take place in the Stables Café at Armadale Castle and are open to the public. They will also be live streamed for those unable to attend in person.

The competitions are a key part of Clan Donald Lands Trust’s ongoing commitment to supporting Gaelic performing arts and are made possible through generous support from the Glencoe Foundation, USA.

Donald MacDonald Cuach, Friday 15 June at 7.30pm

Named in honour of the 18th-century piping pioneer, the Donald MacDonald Cuach is a flagship cultural competition for Clan Donald Lands Trust. The five pipers invited to take part this year are Callum Beaumont (last year’s winner), Glenn Brown, Alasdair Henderson, Iain Speirs and Craig Sutherland. (See below for tunes and brief biographies.) The event will also include singing by Christine Primrose, Head of Gaelic Song at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic College on the Isle of Skye.
The competition will be opened by talented young local piper Malin Lewis from Bernisdale, north Skye, who is studying at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton. Malin will study Piping at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in September. There will also be contributions from pupils from Bun-sgoil Shlèite (Sleat Primary School).

The competition will be adjudicated by acclaimed piper Allan MacDonald. Allan taught at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for 17 years and has recorded several CDs of pipe music. 

Convenor Dr Angus MacDonald said: ‘This year we have some of the top performers in the country and I look forward to a very entertaining evening’. 

Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for Senior Clàrsach – Saturday 16 June at 2pm

The following day sees the inaugural Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for Senior Clàrsach. Candidates in this new open competition were required to prepare a 25 minute recital including a variety of Scottish styles, traditional and contemporary, and a new composition of their own.

Four finallists have been selected to perform at the competition recital: Màiri Chaimbeul,  Fraya Thomsen, Karen Marshalsay and Riko Matsuoka. (See below for brief biographies.) 

The adjudicator is acclaimed Scottish-born harpist and composer Savourna Stevenson, who has performed and recorded with artists as diverse as Eddi Reader, the Bhundu Boys and Catrin Finch and has written prolifically for clàrsach and pedal harp. The event will be convened by Professor Boyd Robertson, retiring Principle of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

Skye-based clàrsair and tutor Mary M. Strachan, who chaired the shortlisting panel, said: ‘We were delighted with the interest in this new competition,  and were blown away by the high technical standards and innovative playing of the chosen finalists. It should make for a very interesting afternoon of music.’
The prize is named after for Princess Margaret of Scotland, the daughter of King Robert II and the wife of John, Lord of the Isles. Princess Margaret was a great patron of the arts, and the through this prize for senior clàrsach playing, CDLT seeks to perpetuate and honour that reputation.
Sue Geale, Armadale Castle’s Museum Manager and member of the Management Committee, commented: ‘The ancient Clan Donald Lords of the Isles were great patrons of the arts and saw it as their responsibility to encourage and develop Gaelic culture in all its forms.  The Trust is pleased to carry on this important responsibility.  For many years we have supported both piping and clàrsach – the latter through the loan of instruments to schools and an annual junior competition. We are delighted to enhance this through the launch of this new senior clàrsach competition,  and through a number of traditional music competitions that we also support worldwide.’ 
Competitor biographies

Biographies of the players

•    Callum Beaumont is a piping instructor at Dollar Academy, Clackmannanshire. His solo achievements include winning both Gold Medals and the 2017 Donald MacDonald Cuach. Aside from solo piping, he is a member of the Inveraray & District Pipe Band.
•    Glenn Brown is a native of Milton, Ontario, Canada. His first teacher was his mother, Gail Brown, who was a successful solo piper.   Some prizes of note in Piobaireachd are the Canadian Gold Medal, the Dunvegan Medal and The Northern Meeting Gold Medal.
•    Alasdair Henderson is from Dunoon. He studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and now works at Fettes College in Edinburgh as a piping instructor. He is regular demand as a recitalist and won the Gold Medal at Inverness in 2017.
•    Iain Speirs lives in Edinburgh. He has won both Gold medals and numerous other prizes in competition. He is currently a member of the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band, which was formed to compete at the World Pipe Band Championships in 2008.
•    Craig Sutherland hails from Crieff, Perthshire. After many years as Pipe Sergeant of the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band he now plays for the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band in Vancouver, Canada. Last year he won the Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering. 
•    Màiri Chaimbeul is a Boston, Massachusetts-based harp player and composer from the Isle of Skye, who tours regularly in the UK, Europe and North America. She joins the faculty at Berklee College of Music this year as their lever harp instructor. 
•    Fraya Thomsen is an internationally renowned clàrsair, vocalist and composer.  Her Scottish harp and song duo The Duplets have released two acclaimed albums. Fraya was musician in residence at Feis Rois in 2011/12 and published three harp tuition books. 
•    Karen Marshalsay was formerly clàrsach tutor at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music at Plockton and now teaches at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Karen has performed across the UK, Europe, America and Australia.
•    Riko Matsuoka was born in Osaka prefecture, Japan. She moved to Edinburgh to study the Clàrsach and traditional Scottish music in 2016. She is currently studying for a Masters at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Event listings and ticket information

Friday 15 June
Stables Cafe, Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum, Skye:  Donald MacDonald Cuach Piobaireachd Competition, 7.30 pm. Five pipers perform in the annual competition, now in its 32nd year. Tickets £8 (£4 concession), including buffet; call 01471 844305 or buy on the door. Further information: www.armadalecastle.com 

Saturday 16 June
Stables Cafe, Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum, Skye:  Clàrsach (Scottish Harp) recital and competition judging. Performance by four finalists for the Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for Senior Clàrsach, 2pm. Free, all welcome. www.armadalecastle.com

Live streaming will be available on Armadale Castle’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ArmadaleCastleSkye) and YouTube channel (link from website, www.armadalecastle.com

Solo Piping Returns to Helensburgh and Loch Lomond Games

A new Adult Solo Piping Competition has been introduced for this year's Helensburgh and Loch Lomond Games. The games take place on Saturday 2nd June at: 

Helensburgh Cricket & Rugby Grounds ,
G84 8JZ

A free shuttle bus service will run from the town's pier car park to the Games field.

There will be an MSR Competition only this year. Find out more at the documents below. 

Solo Piping Event Info 

Solo Piping Entry Form 

Or go to the event website here


The National Piping Centre exists to promote the study of the music and history of the Highland Bagpipe.
Patron HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, KG, KT, GCB.
Founders: Sir Brian Ivory CVO, CBE, FRSE, FRSA, MA, CA - Lady Ivory, DL - Sandy Grant Gordon, CBE

Read More

HRH The Prince Charles,
Duke of Rothesay, Patron

with Founders, Sir Brian and Lady Ivory and the Lord Provost Bob Winter on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Opening of The National Piping Centre.

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