Tuning up for piping extravaganza in Fort William

Lochaber Gathering adult winners were, from left, Andrew K Lewis, Sandy Cameron, Sean McKeown and James McHattie. NO F35 Lochaber gathering festival adult winners
Lochaber Gathering adult winners in 2019 were, from left, Andrew K Lewis, Sandy Cameron, Sean McKeown and James McHattie. Picture: Abrightside Photography.

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Cameron Square will be ringing with the skirl o’ the pipes later this months with organisers now putting the finishing touches to the running order.

The Lochaber Gathering Piping Competition will take place at the Highland Cinema and the canopy/performance area in Cameron Square on Friday August 27.

Lochaber Gathering 1934.

The popular event was given the go ahead back in May after cancellation in 2020. It will be one of the first ‘in person’ solo contests to be held in Scotland post-pandemic.

Eight professional or A graded competitors will take part in the event with 22 B or C graded contestants also in the mix for honours.

Chairman of the Lochaber Piping Society Ken Cameron told us: ‘Due to the current travel restrictions all entrants are UK-based players and mainly Scots.

‘Lochaber is strongly represented by our own two sons, Sandy and Finlay. Sandy is Graded A in Piobaireachd, B in Light Music and Finlay is B in both classes. They will play against each other, of course, in the three Light Music competitions: MSR (March, Strathspey and Reel), Hornpipe and Jig and 6-8 March.

‘We could have had many more entrants, but had to close the online entry system after only five hours of going live as we couldn’t accommodate any more within our time constraints.

‘A healthy reserve list will use any cancelled entry places.’

Staging the event this year would not have been possible without the support of The Moidart Trust and The P.F. Charitable Trust, whose generosity has enabled the Society to organise it.

Angus MacDonald, chairman of both the cinema and the Moidart Trust said: ‘The Highland Cinema and Moidart Trust are delighted with their involvement in the competition, we are extremely keen to support culture in the West Highlands.’

On the day itself there will be an outside competition area under the canopy which will be free and open to the public. Two indoor competition areas will be located within the cinema in screens one and two and a small charge will be made for entry by the public.

‘This location will add a much-needed attraction into Fort William itself, to benefit locals and tourists alike,’ added Mr Cameron.

The indoor competitions (Piobaireachd and MSR) start at 08.30hrs and the outdoor competitions (Hornpipe and Jig and 6-8 March) are scheduled to start at 9.30am. All contestants will compete in the outdoor competitions, which are open to all grades.

An advert for the Gathering from 1885