The year got off to a flying start with a trip to Cyprus for the first Burns Supper of the year. A family affair as it was a combined 80th birthday bash for the host Keith Tyrell held at the Vatouthkia in the Pafos region. That was the first of a few Burns nights and I had my fair share of haggis and an occasional dram.
A spot of Judging at the Army School of Pipers an Drums in early March.
The Army internal Championships
Once the Haggis season was over it was time for an early season wedding fair at Mansfield Traquair followed by a cold corporate dinner to celebrate the refurbishment at the National Museum.
It is always nice to play at a friends wedding, especially ex colleagues who are tying the knot. Susan Balfour and Grant ‘Snowy’ Johnstone.Not before time. Congratulations guys.
Of course it is not all work and the Eagle Pipers’ Society, who hold their meetings in the Scots Guards association Club, Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, were hosts to the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society in March. A great evening of piping.
The 6 Nations rugby threw up an interesting job. A couple from Edinburgh won an Innes and Gunn competition to have the ‘6 Nations experience’ at home. Unfortunately Scotland lost to Wales on their way to a grand slam.
A damp day at Dundas Castle for the wedding of Gary Bendell and Lyn Brymer but it did not damped the spirts. A small intimate wedding of 60 enjoyed what Scotland had to offer.
I saw in the New Year with a tune at Westgate Farm, a new restaurant on the west side of Edinburgh. After that it was over to France for a week, to play at a 60th Birthday party in La Pastrie,Tarne, in the Mid Pyrenees. It was family affair that went into the wee small hours.
Rabbie Burns and no time for a detox. I played at a few suppers and gave the address to the haggis at Murrayfield Golf club.It was also nice to be invited back to the Police Burns supper in Edinburgh Castle. What a avenue.
An unusual cold snap "The Beast from the East caused major disruption and a wedding and a few functions were postponed or cancelled. (I wonder what the poor bride and groom did about their honeymoon? I'll ask when I see them in April). However I did manage out but you will see conditions were not the best.
A few weddings on the go as the season starts to pick up. I also played at the launch of Lindores Abbey product Aqua Vitae a couple of weeks ago and did a wee recording for Good `Morning Britain with presenter Andy Peters
The 2018 Glenfiddich Championships at Blair Castle
April and May were very busy months with a wide variety of events. The pictures above were taken in Glen Coe at a Corporate event with Scotland looking its best. A couple of weddings, a charity event at RBS and a very social night, hosted by the Royal Scottish pipers, rounded off a great spell.
With Oban and Inverness done and dusted and the World Pipe Band championships out the road with another excellent win for Field Marshall Montgomery, It was time for some R and R before the final push towards the end of the piping season, but first we had the Captain John A MacLellan MBE memorial dinner.
A 10 day trip to Lorient was quite the piping/music marathon with the solo piping at the beginning and bands at the end. (lots of fun in between). We survived!
A busy start to the year with the big concert up in Aberdeen
The piping gigs are in full swing and I am enjoying playing at a wide variety of events and meeting so many different people. The Eagle Pipers' are on every second Tuesday night in the Scots Guards Association Club, Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, Guests are always welcome.
Monday 7th August 2017 sees the start of Piping Live in Glasgow and the big build up to the World Pipe band championships in Glasgow Green at the weekend. Of course the Edinburgh Festival is in full swing and the massed pipes and drums at the Tattoo are a must see. Piping Live kicks off with the annual Masters solo piping competition, that is once again being live streamed. There are many fantastic events on at the National Piping Centre,College of Piping and elsewhere. To numerous to mention here so get online and see what you fancy.
Tuesday 22nd August is Eagle Pipers' night but many of the top players will have their minds on the Argyllshire Gathering, held in Oban this Wednesday and Thursday. Then there is the Captain John MacLellan Memorial Dinner this Saturday, 26th August, in the Waldorf Astoria, Edinburgh, where Iain Speirs, Faye Henderson, Finlay Johnston and Willie McCallum are the recitalists. The Northern Meetings in Inverness are next at the beginning of September, and then we have a wee break before the Glenfiddich and London competitions.
These images are from a wedding in St Andrews last Saturday, 19th August, with the ceremony at the lovely Parliament Hall, followed by the reception at Forgans, just round the corner. I met a chum, Kevin Mullins, who very deftly managed to get me to play a few tunes at the new sushi restaurant in St Andrews, Kazoku. It was quite a day.
After Bobs funeral the piping community headed up to Blair Castle for the Glenfiddich Championship and the following weekend saw the last big solo-piping event in London, where I was on C grade duties judging the piobaireachd and jig competitions.
The Kensington town hall chambers was our venue and as you can see from the photo it was very stylish and good acoustically.
It was quite a busy end to 2017 with a few winter weddings and of course Hogmanay. The following photos give flavour to the years end and there is little rest as Rabbie Burns awaits
As the wedding season comes to an end we look forward to a winter of practice. Of course we still have the John MacLellan competition, at the Army School of Pipes and Drums on Saturday 7th October, the Glenfiddich Championship at Blair Castle at the end of October and then finally the Scottish Piping Society of London, in November, to come, but then its down tools as far competition season is concerned. Of course we have St Andrews night to prepare for and I need to get the Burns books out to brush up on some verse.