OT: 1 November 1924 – A.M. “Highland Pipers and Athletes”



The Oban Times, 1 November, 1924
Highland Pipers and Athletes
20th October, 1924

Sir,–perhaps never before have we had such a keen competition among pipers at the leading Highland gatherings, including such notable events as the Gains at Oban, For William, Inverness, Portree, Aberfeldy, Pitlochry, Bridge of Allan, Braemar,Glenisla, and the famous Cowal Gathering, which the energetic secretary, Mr. H. S. Strafford, has been so popular. The piping competitions at these gatherings attract the leading pipers of the country such as Pipe-Major John MacDonald, Inverness; Pipe-Major William Ross, Edinburgh; Pipe-Major R. Reid, Glasgow; Pipe-Major Duff, Edinburgh; Piper Calder, Edinburgh; George Yardley, Cambuslang; G. S. McLennan, Aberdeen, and his brother, Pipe-Major McLennan, Fort George.

For the past thirty years Pipe-Major Ross has been a most consistent and successful competitor. It will be seen from the prize lists that he is easily ahead of the others as regards the number of prizes. Along with a friend I paid a visit to Ross in Edinburgh and we saw his large collection of stars, clasps and gold medals, and also the Cowal Shield which he won five times. During our visit Pipe-Major Ross showed as a small silver badge which he said he prized more than all the other valuable trophies. This badge was the first prize he won and he secured it at a competition in his native village of Beauly before joining the Scots Guards. Pipe-Major Ross is a very successful teacher of pipe music, and many of his pupils have won prizes. The Prince of Wales was one of his pupils.

The older school of pipers who competed in the days of John McColl and Angus McRae will be glad to learn that John Wilson of Callander has fully recovered from his recent illness and is now teaching classes in Edinburgh. Wilson was among the pipers who attended the Paris Exhibition of 1887. At his best he was prominent in the prize list.

With regard for athletics, Kenneth McRae was one of the finest all-round athletes in Scotland. Knox, the famous Canadian pole-vaulter, holds all the records for that event at Highland games in Scotland, while D. Gillespie, Islay, is a first-class putter but a second-rate hammer-thrower. –I am, etc.,

A. M.

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