After a long, cold, lonely winter, the Scottish outdoor pipe band season gets started across all grades on May 11th and 12th at Dunbar and Gourock, respectively, with the perhaps biggest performance being that of Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia on Sunday under new Pipe-Major Ryan Canning.
In Grade 1, Torphichen & Bathgate will do some travelling, attending both contests (photo of Torphichen P-M Stuart Shedden featured on homepage), while Dunbar will have the noticeable absence of the Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band, which has made a regular visit to the event throughout its history. The band came to a crashing end in November of last year following the departure of Pipe-Major Neil Hall and an inability to coordinate a suitable replacement.
The two competitions have a scant entry by certified Grade 1 bands, with Vale of Atholl the only other band entered at Dunbar, but numerous Grade 2 bands are challenging up at Gourock. Across the Irish Sea at Lisburn, St. Laurence O’Toole is the only top-grade band entered to compete.
Shotts & Dykehead, which earlier this year announced the conclusion of its House of Edgar sponsorship, has reportedly overhauled much of its pipe- and drum-sections, but has kept most details under wraps.
Non-RSPBA Championship events in the UK have often struggled to attract a significant number of Grade 1 bands in the last 15 years especially.
Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from these events as they become available.