OT: 26 November 1910 – Loch Sloy

The Oban Times, 26 November, 1910

Oban, 22 November, 1910

Sir,–In view of the opposition aroused by my letter of the 5th inst., I hope you will allow me to make my position a little plainer. I am not wanting in the discrimination necessary to perceive differences between the founders of the S. P. U. And the “Society that will be nameless,” and, for that matter, if my observation is correct, between “Fair Play to All” and Dr. Bannatyne.

Now, in the first place, “Fair Play to All” wished to show to us the mistakes and pitfalls into which existing Societies have fallen; his wish still remains at the phantom stage. He admits that this “nameless Society” do good, and that all the piping world are much obliged to them for what they do, and yet he bombastically declares that they are trying too much. His remarks re the teaching of performers give cause for much merriment amongst our leading pipers, and clearly show to us that “Fair Play to All” and those “pipers and others” whose views he discloses, need not be feared.

I am quite prepared to admit my criticism of the S.P.U., but at the same time I would like “Fair Play to All” to remember that I am quite a good sportsman, and for the benefit of the “piper” members of the S.P.U. I also am a good loser. It requires someone else than “Fair Play to All” to tell me through these columns about the S.P.U. members. “Loch Sloy” is not so palpably ignorant of matters concerning the S.P.U. I know full well, and to my cost, the antagonistic views hid behind the smiling countenances, especially when conversing with the gentleman judges as mentioned by “Fair Played to All.” I hope the day will never be when a few “pipers and others,” forming and S.P.U. will be able to taboo certain gatherings where the judges will be to their liking.

Dr. Bannatyne seems to be on a par with “Fair Play to All.” I never, on matters concerning the S.P.U. mentioned the name of the “Society that would be nameless,” although it was easily seen to whom “Fair Like to All” referred. I am glad, nay proud, that this “Society” and your humble servant, “Loch Sloy,” have yet to reach that stage of “Ichabod,” as expressed by Dr. Bannatyne. Meantime, honest labour meets with its due reward, and every day sees further “glory” looming afresh upon the horizon.

In conclusion, I wish it to be known that I have no connection whatever with this “Society that will be nameless,” only a love for the piobaireachd which they are so ardently giving to us, and doing their utmost to teach at any expense, free of charge, for its furtherance, while at the same time putting talented young pipers in a position to compete more successfully with their elders, who were themselves at some time or other taught at great cost and trouble by the parents of some of the members of the “Society that shall be nameless.” To some “pipers and others,” “Ichabod” is a most fitting term, but to the S.P.U. I would say, quoting the words of our national Bard, that “the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley.”–I am, etc.,

Loch Sloy